One of the most renowned artists globally, Phil Collins, the drummer and lead singer of Genesis, has clinched eight Grammy Awards. He stands among just three musicians who have triumphantly sold over 100 million records, both as a solo performer and as a band member, a feat shared only with Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.
Born in London, England, on January 30, 1951, Collins inherited a deep appreciation for music from his exceptionally gifted parents.
Recalling his early years, Collins reminisces about when he was merely five years old. His uncle crafted a makeshift drum kit, comprising tambourines, triangles, cymbals, and toy drums. “The old cliché is, well, at least that will keep him quiet,” he quipped.
Shortly thereafter, he commenced performing at his parents’ boating club.
Collins recalls, “The English beat scene was just starting to emerge when I first began performing seriously, with bands like the Shadows and others. It was in the very early 1960s.”
He continues, “I can remember buying ‘Please Please Me.’ To avoid having to look at what I was playing while on the drums, I used to crank up the record player’s volume and position my drum kit in front of a mirror. When I was fourteen, I went to a teacher to learn to read drum music. I thought I’d have to work in a dance band or the orchestra pit once this rock and roll thing was over. I began learning to read drum music, but soon realized that playing by intuition was far superior to reading.”
In the 1970s, Collins’s life underwent a profound transformation. Having previously played in a few bands, he stumbled upon an advertisement seeking a drummer for the band Genesis. He made the decision to reach out to them, and the rest is history. During his early years with the group, Genesis produced five albums with hit songs, reminiscent of the Beatles.
Following the departure of the band’s founder and lead vocalist, Collins assumed the role of the group’s primary singer, in addition to his role as a drummer. He admitted that he felt uncomfortable in this new position but explained that he took it on because the band was having difficulty finding a new singer.
Collins enjoyed a successful dual career as a member of Genesis and as a solo artist. He swiftly ascended to the pinnacle of the music industry, thanks to hits like “In The Air Tonight,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “I Don’t Care Anymore.”
After 25 years with Genesis, Collins reflected on his decision to leave the band and embark on a solo career, saying, “I felt it was time to chart a new course in my musical journey.”
This new path would encompass jazz projects, film music, and, of course, his solo career. He expressed hope for the future success of the Genesis team, emphasizing their enduring friendship.
However, in 2017, he made the choice to rejoin the group, and they initiated The Last Domino, a global tour last year. Unfortunately, the tour had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
In addition, Collins gave an interview on BBC Breakfast that raised concerns about his health, just as the public was eager to witness the band’s reunion. According to Collins and his bandmates, Nicholas Collins will handle the drums while Collins will focus on singing.
“Nic is an exceptional drummer, but he can sometimes replicate the early Phil Collins sound. For Mike and myself, that has always been tremendously exciting,” noted Genesis musician Tony Banks.
With Phil taking on the role of drummer, the band has the opportunity to revive some songs that haven’t been played in quite a while.
When inquired about why he isn’t on the drums, the artist explained, “I’d love to, but you know, I can barely hold a drumstick with this hand.” Thus, certain physical challenges must be overcome.
He further shared, “I’m dealing with some physical limitations, which is quite disheartening because I would love to be up there alongside my son.” And as for the prospect of continuing to tour, he remains uncertain.
Considering the collective age of the band members, he commented, “We’re all men of our vintage, so I think it might be time to wrap things up to some extent.” The artist expressed, “I’m not sure if I want to hit the road again.”