Phil Collins, the iconic drummer and lead singer of Genesis, boasts an impressive career that includes eight Grammy awards. His unique distinction lies in being one of only three musicians who have achieved over 100 million records sold, both as a solo artist and as a member of a band, alongside Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.
Born on January 30, 1951, in London, England, Collins was raised by talented parents who nurtured his love for music from a young age. At just five years old, his uncle crafted a makeshift drum kit for him, complete with tambourines, triangles, cymbals, and toy drums. Recalling those early days, Collins humorously remarked, “The old cliché is, well, at least that will keep him quiet.”
Soon, he began performing at his parents’ boating club, and as he delved into music, the English beat scene was burgeoning, with bands like the Shadows making their mark in the early 1960s. Collins reminisces, “I can remember buying ‘Please Please Me.’ To avoid having to look at what I was playing while drumming, I used to crank up the record player’s volume and position my drums in front of a mirror.”
At the age of fourteen, he embarked on learning to read drum music, anticipating a future in a dance band or orchestra. However, Collins soon realized that playing by intuition held a unique appeal.
In the 1970s, Collins’ life took a significant turn when he spotted an advertisement for a drummer in the band Genesis. Having played in several bands previously, he made the life-changing decision to contact them, and the rest is history. In the early years of his tenure, Genesis released five albums with hit songs.
Following the departure of the band’s founder and lead vocalist, Collins stepped into the role of the group’s primary singer. This transition from drummer to lead vocalist was challenging, but Collins accepted the role out of necessity. Genesis was struggling to find a suitable singer, and he recognized the need to keep the band together.
Collins made a name for himself both within Genesis and as a successful solo artist. Hits like “In The Air Tonight,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “I Don’t Care Anymore” propelled him to the top of the music industry.
After 25 years with Genesis, Collins decided it was time to make a change in his musical journey. He explained, “I thought it was time to change direction in my musical life.” He expressed his hope for the success of the Genesis team, emphasizing their enduring friendship.
However, in 2017, Collins made the surprising decision to reunite with the band. They launched “The Last Domino,” a global tour, last year, which had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
In a recent interview on BBC Breakfast, Collins’ health became a concern just as the public was eagerly anticipating the band’s reunion. He revealed that his son, Nicholas Collins, would handle the drums, while Phil would focus on singing. While acknowledging his son’s drumming skills, Collins noted that physical challenges prevented him from playing the drums himself. He admitted, “I’d like to, but you know, I can scarcely hold a stick with this hand.”
Expressing his physical limitations, Collins shared, “I’m a little physically challenged, which is pretty upsetting because I’d love to be up there with my son.” He remains uncertain about his future touring plans, adding, “We’re all men our age, so I believe it’s probably putting it to bed to some extent… I’m not sure if I want to go out on the road anymore.”
Phil Collins’ remarkable journey in the music industry continues to captivate audiences, with his resilience and enduring passion for music shining through, even as he faces physical challenges.