Selling records and winning awards are the things that have always come easy to Phil Collins. He has sold 100 million solo records and another 150 million with Genesis, putting him in the same rarefied league as Madonna, Elton John and Pink Floyd. His numerous awards include seven Grammys, two Golden Globes and an Oscar (for "You'll Be In My Heart" from Disney'sTarzan).
For the last ten years he has been conspicuously quiet, at least by his standards. His last studio album, Testify, was released eight years ago. However, his latest album, Going Back, which is a collection of covers of his favorite soul classics, is sure to spark interest. Currently residing and splitting his time between Switzerland, England and America, Collins enjoys a rare freedom these days -- he is able to make the records he wants to make when he chooses to make them. And, after years spent fending off criticisms of his music, he's finally found almost universal acceptance. "Even my kids have started telling me they think I'm cool," he says " I'm not sure about that myself. I think the jury will be out on that one for a good while yet." It's hard to be precise about when exactly it became socially acceptable to admit to a love of Phil Collins records. Quite possibly the critical rehabilitation began once it became common knowledge that he was a bona fide hero among the rap/hip hop community, with die-hard fans including Ice-T, Pharrell Williams, Wyclef Jean and Timbaland. In recent years, hip hop's elite have generously sampled Collins' solo records. An acclaimed 2001 album entitled Urban Renewal brought versions of Collins' songs by the likes of Lil' Kim and Ol' Dirty Bastard.
During the 70s and 80s, Phil Collins was impossible to avoid. Having joined Genesis as a drummer and backing vocalist in 1970, he took over as frontman in 1975 following the departure of Peter Gabriel. Gradually he influenced the band's transformation from artful progressive rockers to smooth hit-making machine. Through the 80s, he worked relentlessly, with his mega-successful solo career running in tandem with Genesis's global domination. Additionally he lent his talents to a mind-boggling variety of outside projects, working with artists as diverse as Brian Eno and ABBA's Anni-Frid Lyngstad. His reputation as rock's hardest-working musician was cemented with 1985's Live Aid when he performed both at London and Philadelphia on the same day. He even found time to star in movies like Buster. Through the 90s, Collins scaled back his recording and touring commitments with Genesis. Meanwhile his solo releases became more occasional. While albums like Both Sides (1993) and Dance Into The Light (1996) sold in their millions, they failed to scale the stratospheric heights of earlier works like Face Value and No Jacket Required.
These days, his less prolific work rate is partly down to health reasons. Since 2000 he has suffered from loss of hearing in his right ear. More recently he was diagnosed with severe nerve damage to his hands, making drumming extremely challenging - but even this hasn't completely kept the superstar from recording and performing. Most recently, Collins was and honoree at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York where he was given the Johnny Mercer Award. This was the second honor in a year for Collins as he was also present at Genesis' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in March. Phil Collins is an incredible talent whose career as a writer and musician has spanned an impressive 5 decades. His work is loved all over the world and his legend is one that is sure to be around for years to come.
Some titles represented by Imagem Music:
"Another Day In Paradise"
"I Wish It Would Rain Down"
"One More Night"
"In The Air Tonight"
Bio courtesy of PhilCollins.com.