Phil Collins

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HOW I SEE HIM
It takes some guts to announce to the world that Phil Collins is my favorite singer/musician bar none.  It is like admitting that you like Barry Manilow, you don't say something like this without anticipating at least some looks of derision from the cool and the trendy. 

As a veteran of more than thirty years in the rock business, Phil has been treated very unfairly by the critical elite.  Over the years he has sounded alternately bitter, angry and resigned over this issue in interviews and I can't blame him.  The fact that he is multi-talented and adept at many different musical styles has somehow been perceived as a disadvantage.  Drummers wished he never got behind the microphone, Genesis fans accuse him of concentrating too much on his solo career, proggers are embarrassed by his tendency towards mainstream pop and soft rock, jazz purists can't accept him due to his rock background, etc.  It doesn't help that his heart-felt songwriting style as well as childlike stage persona tend to attract a surprisingly young fanbase and people from all walks of life, a far cry from the relatively homogenous middle aged intellectual crowd at early Genesis concerts.  His phenomenal commercial success is counted as further evidence that he is the lowest common denominator, not suitable for the high-brow.  However, when all these preconceived notions are set aside, it is not difficult to see that Phil was responsible for consistently producing some of the most honest and moving pieces of music in the last quarter of a century.  The familiarity of his voice should not distract from the fact that it ranks among the most unique and expressive in the business.  A song like "Against All Odds" or "Take Me Home" is a masterpieces no matter how many times it is played on the radio.   In the end, I believe the quality of the music speaks for itself and great songs  will stand the test of time.  I hope Phil realizes how many people he has touched around the globe with his musical gift, and as one in a million I thank him for composing the soundtracks of our lives.                       
MUSICIANSHIP RANGE OF OUTPUT
He was and still is an excellent studio musician.  Credited with playing on or producing at least 200 albums by other artists.  For a nearly complete list see allmusic.com  A fixture on most people's top 50 best drummer's list, supposed to be a passable keyboardist/piano player as well.  Dabbles at most other instruments.
BEST TRAITS TRADEMARK STAGE MANNER
Versatility
Honesty and frankness
Natural charm and sharp wit
Extroverted and never shy
A cross between a walking teddy bear and a kid with Attention Deficit Disorder.  Jumps behind the drum kit whenever possible.  Elicits audience participation by doing impressions/Stupid Human Tricks, telling politically incorrect jokes, and generally goofing around.  
WORST TRAITS
Workaholism leading to unstable relationships and parental neglect
FAVORITE SOLO SONG FAVORITE SOLO ALBUM
"Against All Odds" from Against All Odds Original Soundtrack "Face Value" (1981)
FAVORITE LYRICS
Well I remember, I remember don't worry
How could I ever forget, it's the first time, the last time we ever met
But I know the reason why you keep your silence up, no you don't fool me
The hurt doesn't show; but the pain still grows
It's no stranger to you or me

                            --- from "In the Air Tonight" (1981)
FAVORITE QUOTE
Well, I guess I'm a little blacker than the Genesis boys.  So left to my own devices, I'll bring in the horns.

--- on the funk influences he brings to Genesis
SLIP-OF-TONGUE
It's like - forget the crap - keep the fundamentals and add things if it's necessary.

--- on the reason why he favors a transition of Genesis musically to shorter, simpler songs in the 1980's.

 

 

 

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