Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30: English singer-songwriter Phil Collins with Genesis is 63-years-old today.

Did you know?

Phil was an extra in The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night – one of hundreds of screaming teenagers during the TV concert sequence and seen fleetingly in a close-up.

He was also in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as one of the children who stormed the castle at the end of the movie but was edited out.

Philip David Charles Collins (LVO) is best known as a drummer, keyboardist and vocalist for English progressive rock group Genesis and as a solo artist.

By 2000, Collins's total worldwide sales as a solo artist were 150 million. He has won seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globes for his solo work.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

Collins sang the lead vocals on several chart hits in the U.K.and the U.S. between 1978 and 1994, as a solo artist and with Genesis. His singles included the drum-heavy "In the Air Tonight," dance pop of "Sussudio," piano-driven "Against All Odds," to the political statements of "Another Day in Paradise."
Collins was born in Chiswick, London. He was given a toy drum kit for Christmas when he was five. Later, his uncle Mark made him a makeshift one. As Collins grew older these were followed by more complete sets bought by his parents. He practiced by playing alongside the television and radio, and never learned to read and write conventional musical notation; instead, he uses a system he devised himself.

Phil in 1971.
His formal training began at fourteen when he entered Barbara Speake Stage School. He began a career as a child actor and model, and won his first major role as The Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver!

Despite his early success as an actor, Collins continued to gravitate towards music. While attending Chiswick Community School he formed a band called The Real Thing and later joined The Freehold. With the latter group, he wrote his first song titled "Lying Crying Dying."

Collins's first record deal came as drummer for Flaming Youth who released a single album, Ark 2 in 1969, a concept album inspired by the the moon landing. Ark 2 failed to make much commercial success despite positive critical reviews. After a year, the group split due to internal tensions and the lack of commercial success. 

In 1970, the 19-year old Collins played percussion on the George Harrison song "The Art of Dying." That same year, Collins answered a classified ad in Melody Maker for "..a drummer sensitive to acoustic music, and acoustic twelve-string guitarist." Genesis placed the ad after having already lost three drummers over two albums.

The audition occurred at the home of front man Peter Gabriel's parents. Prospective candidates performed tracks from the group's second album, Trespass released in 1970. Collins arrived early, listened to the other auditions while swimming in Gabriel's parents' pool, and memorised the pieces before his turn.

Afterwards, with Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for Peter Gabriel, singing lead on only two songs: "For Absent Friends" from 1971's Nursery Cryme album and "More Fool Me" from Selling England by the Pound, which was released in 1973.

Following Gabriel's departure in 1975, Collins became the group's lead singer. By the end of the decade, Genesis's first international hit, "Follow You, Follow Me," demonstrated a drastic change in the band's style and sound. 

Collins is one of only three recording artists (along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold more than  100 million albums worldwide both as solo artists and (separately) as principal members of a band.

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According to Billboard magazine, when his work with Genesis, his work with other artists, as well as his solo career is totalled, Collins has the most top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the 1980s. In 2008, Collins was ranked the 22nd most successful artist on the "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists."

Collins reported losing his hearing in his right ear in 2000 due to a viral infection. In September 2009, it was reported that Collins could no longer play drums, due to a recent operation to repair dislocated vertebrae in his neck.

A statement from Collins on the Genesis band website said, "There isn't any drama regarding my 'disability' and playing drums. Somehow during the last Genesis tour I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands. After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can't function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano..."

Collins was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in 1994 in recognition of his work on behalf of the Prince's Trust.

For more about Phil, visit his Website at -


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