Childhood & Early Life
Phil Collins was born Philip David Charles Collins, on January 30, 1951, in Chiswick, London, England. His father, Greville Philip Austin Collins, was an insurance agent, while his mother, Winifred June Strange, was a theatrical agent.
While his father worked a mundane job, it was his mother’s job that interested Phil, as a kid. He would accompany her to the theaters and watch actors perform on stage. This inspired him and led to an increased interest in the performing arts, as he grew up.
He received a drum kit from his parents on his birthday, as a five-year-old kid. The kit, though a mere toy, delighted him and grabbed his attention. He spent hours practicing it, and as he grew up, he started getting more professional kits as gifts. Slowly, he acquired enough interest to start taking professional training for the same.
His professional training in acting and singing began at the tender age of 14 in ‘Barbara Speake Stage School.’ Music was just another hobby for him at that time, and acting was the thing that he loved the most. Learning acting from professionals had him falling in love with it and just a couple of years later, he began playing lead roles in various theatrical productions, along with several films and TV series.
He listened to ‘The Beatles’ and was inspired by their ‘no-nonsense’ approach to music, which further fueled his desire to be a musician. Their drummer, Ringo Starr, was his personal hero. Phil was also fond of the drummer of the lesser known British band ‘The Action.’
Phil attended high school at the ‘Chiswick County School for Boys,’ where he started a band of his own, named ‘Real Thing.’ After it was disbanded, he joined ‘Freehold,’ with which he wrote his first song, ‘Lying Crying Dying.’
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Phil began acting as a child, and his mother’s contacts with the talent agencies helped him in bagging his initial roles in theatrical productions. He played a few small roles in ‘Calamity the Cow’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ but somewhere deep down, acting did not satisfy him. Hence, he gravitated toward music during his high school days.
In the mid-70s, the rock band ‘Genesis’ posted an advertisement for the requirement of a drummer, and Collins became the band’s new drummer in August 1970, after an audition. For the next five years, Collins toured with the band and played drums and percussions in their albums. Their first album, ‘Nursery Cryme,’ released in 1971.
In the mid-70s, the band’s lead singer quit and before the band could hire a suitable singer, Collins filled in as the lead singer, for a while. ‘A Trick of the Tail’ was the first ‘Genesis’ album for which Collins sang. The album became a roaring success in both the US and the UK. The chart-topping success of the album made ‘Genesis’ rethink the prospect of hiring a vocalist, as they already had Phil.
In 1978, the band took a break. Meanwhile, Phil tried to keep his personal life in check, but he failed to do so, and his relationship with his wife soured significantly. Meanwhile, he played drums on two albums, namely, ‘Grace and Danger’ and ‘Product.’ Although he was getting hired by many bands for their album productions, Phil was not ready to go solo yet.
By the 80s, Phil had finally started working on his debut solo album, titled ‘Face Value.’ At the time, ‘Genesis’ had reunited and had completed their work on the album ‘Duke,’ which was released in 1980. The album received huge commercial and critical response.
His first solo album, ‘Face Value,’ was released in 1981 and featured a different style of music, which was more inclined towards funk and faster beats. The album became an international success, topping the charts in seven countries.
His second solo album, ‘Hello I Must Be Going!,’ was released in 1982, and Collins garnered international success again. In 1985, Collins presented his most successful album of all time, titled ‘No Jacket Required,’ which topped the charts in both the US and the UK.
Several media houses took notice of Phil’s international success and claimed that Phil was more famous and successful as a solo artist. In the late 90s, he released another solo album ‘...But Seriously’ which was received well in both the UK and the US.
Following a growing demand for more solo efforts, he quit the band ‘Genesis’ in the mid-90s and started concentrating on his solo endeavors. He laid the foundation of the ‘Phil Collins Big Band’ and took over the drums. The scenario changed significantly, when his 1996 solo album, ‘Dance into the Light,’ turned out to be a failure.
Critics said that his time was over and that his fans were growing tired of his music. His next album, ‘Testify,’ faced the same fate, and some critics and media houses termed it the worst album of his life.
By the turn of the century, his career was reduced to shambles. However, his past musical milestones had kept his credibility alive, and he received several honors in the 2000s. In 2006, Collins reunited with two former ‘Genesis’ members and embarked on a tour called ‘Turn it on Again: The Tour,’ which was a success.
In March 2010, Collins was honored with a place in the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,’ and in 2011, he announced his retirement for a short time. In October 2016, Phil announced his ‘Not Dead Yet Tour.’ The tour was executed successfully, and he received positive reviews.
As an actor, Phil has appeared in various films, such as ‘Hook,’ ‘Frauds,’ and ‘Balto,’ apart from featuring in a number of TV series, such as ‘The Two Ronnies’ and ‘Miami Vice.’