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Phil Collins

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Biography

Phil Collins' status as one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the '80s and beyond was probably as much a surprise to him as it was to many others. Balding and diminutive, the Genesis drummer-turned-vocalist was almost 30 years old when his first solo single, "In the Air Tonight," became a number two hit in his native U.K. (the song was a Top 20 hit in the U.S.). Between 1984 and 1990, Collins had a string of 13 straight U.S. Top Ten hits. Long before any of that happened, however, Collins was a child actor/singer who appeared as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver! in 1964. (He also has a cameo in A Hard Day's Night, among other films.) He got his first break in music in his late teens, when he was chosen to be a replacement drummer in the British art rock band Genesis in 1970. (Collins maintained a separate jazz career with the band Brand X as well.) Genesis was fronted by singer Peter Gabriel. They had achieved a moderate level of success in the U.K. and the U.S. with elaborate concept albums, before Gabriel abruptly left in 1974. Genesis auditioned 400 singers without success, then decided to let Collins have a go. The result was a gradual simplifying of Genesis' sound and an increasing focus on Collins' expressive, throaty voice. And Then There Were Three... went gold in 1978, and Duke was even more successful. Collins made his debut solo album, Face Value, in 1981, which turned out to be a bigger hit than any Genesis album. It concentrated on Collins' voice, often in stark, haunting contexts such as the piano-and-drum dirge "In the Air Tonight," which sounded like something from John Lennon's debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. During the '80s, Collins was enormously successful in balancing his continuing solo work with his membership in Genesis. In 1992, Genesis released We Can't Dance and began an extensive tour. Upon its completion, Collins released Both Sides in 1993, and the record became his first album not to produce a major hit single or go multi-platinum. In 1995, he announced that he was leaving Genesis permanently. The following year, he released Dance Into the Light. Although the album didn't chart highly, its subsequent supporting tour was a success. The Hits collection followed in 1998, and a year later Collins made his first big-band record, Hot Night in Paris. The song cycle Testify arrived in 2002, and his next studio-recorded solo release was 2010's Going Back, which saw him revisiting the Motown hits that so influenced him, and featured three of the surviving Funk Brothers -- guitarists Eddie Willis and Ray Monette, and bassist Bob Babbitt. After some time out of the spotlight, much of it spent recovering from physical ailments, Collins returned in 2014 to play a couple of songs at his sons' school and to write songs with Adele. Soon after, he began work on reissuing his solo albums, sorting through the archives for demos and live recordings to flesh them out. In early 2016, Warner Music began releasing the discs in pairs, with new portraits of Collins on the covers in place of the original images. Collins returned to the stage in March of 2016, performing at the Little Dreams Foundation Benefit Gala in Miami. He published his autobiography, Not Dead Yet: The Memoir, in October of that year, and the double-disc compilation The Singles appeared during the same month. 2017 saw the release of Take a Look at Me Now: The Complete Studio Collection, chronicling all of Collins' studio album work from 1981 to 2010. He followed that compilation with a similarly expansive collection in 2018, Plays Well with Others, featuring various collaborations that took place over his career. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   In the Air Tonight
  3.   Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)
  4.   You Can't Hurry Love
  5.   One More Night
  6.   Sussudio
  7.   Two Hearts
  8.   A Groovy Kind of Love
  9.   Take Me Home
  10.   Another Day in Paradise
  11.   Don't Lose My Number
  12.   You'll Be in My Heart
  13.   Easy Lover
  14.   I Wish It Would Rain Down
  15.   I Don't Care Anymore
  16.   Separate Lives
  17.   I Missed Again
  18.   True Colors
  19.   Strangers Like Me
  20.   Do You Remember?
  21.   Father to Son
  22.   Everyday
  23.   Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away
  24.   Son of Man
  25.   Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
  26.   Two Worlds
  27.   That's Just the Way It Is
  28.   Misunderstanding
  29.   Invisible Touch
  30.   Trashin' the Camp
  31.   We Said Hello Goodbye
  32.   Welcome
  33.   Only You Know and I Know
  34.   Over Fire Island
  35.   That's All
  36.   Inside Out
  37.   Because of You
  38.   Island Dreamer
  39.   Hang in Long Enough
  40.   Layla
  41.   No Son of Mine
  42.   Hall Light
  43.   On My Way
  44.   Look Through My Eyes
  45.   Phil Collins Commentary
  46.   Can't Turn Back the Years
  47.   Hold On My Heart
  48.   Find a Way to My Heart
  49.   One Family
  50.   If Leaving Me Is Easy
  51.   Wear My Hat
  52.   Dance Into the Light
  53.   Hand in Hand
  54.   Hero
  55.   Thru These Walls
  56.   Who Said I Would
  57.   It's Everywhere
  58.   Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
  59.   Could've Been Me
  60.   Walking on the Chinese Wall
  61.   North Star
  62.   Home
  63.   That's How I Feel
  64.   Oddball
  65.   ...And So to F
  66.   Endos Suite by The Phil Collins Big Band
  67.   Tarzan Medley
  68.   You've Been Cheatin'
  69.   You Really Got a Hold on Me
  70.   You Keep Me Hangin' On
  71.   Too Many Fish in the Sea
  72.   Tears of a Clown
  73.   Nowhere to Run
  74.   Don't Look Back
  75.   Dancing in the Street
  76.   Ain't Too Proud to Beg
  77.   Ain't That Peculiar
  78.   Uptight (Everything's Alright)
  79.   Talkin About My Baby
  80.   Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me for a Little While)
  81.   Something About You
  82.   Some of Your Lovin'
  83.   Papa Was a Rolling Stone
  84.   Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer
  85.   Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
  86.   Jimmy Mack
  87.   In My Lonely Room
  88.   Going to a Go-Go
  89.   Going Back
  90.   Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)
  91.   Do I Love You
  92.   Blame It on the Sun
  93.   (Love Is Like A) Heatwave
  94.   Deep Green
  95.   Homeless
  96.   Broadway Chorus
  97.   You Touch My Heart
  98.   The Way You Look Tonight
  99.   Somewhere
  100.   True Colours
  101.   Tearing and Breaking