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Phil Collins (born January 30, 1951) is an English singer-songwriter, best known as the drummer for Genesis and as a successful solo artist. Collins has won seven Grammys, two Golden Globes, and an Oscar over his long career.
Collins joined Genesis before the sessions for their third album, Nursery Cryme. At first, he was only the drummer, but became lead vocalist for the band after Peter Gabriel's departure. Collins is credited with transforming Genesis from a prog band to a pop band, and his time as lead singer was the most commercially successful era for the band.
Collins has also had a tremendously successful solo career, selling 33 million records in the US alone with one diamond album (No Jacket Required) there. His biggest hits include "In the Air Tonight," "Sussudio," "One More Night," and "Another Day in Paradise." He also composed the songs for the Disney animated films Tarzan and Brother Bear, as well as three for Buster, in which he also starred.
Outside of music, Collins is a supporter of animal rights and PETA, and donates to the Prince's Trust charity, resulting in his appointment to a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.
Phil Collins and his music provide examples of these tropes:
- Award Bait Song: "You'll Be In My Heart", a song he wrote for the Disney movie Tarzan which netted him an Academy Award.
- Best Served Cold: "In The Air Tonight".
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Black Sheep Hit: "In the Air Tonight", his first hit from back in 1981. Considering a frequent criticism of him is that his songs are saccharine Narmy synth-heavy mopefests, this one gains lots of points for being creepy, ominous, and having that awesome air-drumming-inducing breakdown. Cracked themselves cited it as "Collins' sole flirtation with being awesome".
- Blue Eyes
- Breakaway Pop Hit: "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," one of his most popular songs, was written for the mostly-forgotten film Against All Odds.
- "Separate Lives," Collins's famous duet with Marilyn Martin, was recorded for the less famous White Nights.
- "Two Hearts" and "Groovy Kind of Love", the former a Collins original and the latter a cover, were both recorded for the obscure film Buster.
- Break the Cutie: The disintegration of his first marriage was the inspiration for all of those sad love songs that made him so famous back in The Eighties.
- Break Up Song: "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". In fact, pretty much every one of his albums are full of this type of song.
- Cover Version: Face Value ends with a cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows".
- Which segues into a few lines from "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".
- Hello! I Must Be Going features a cover of "You Can't Hurry Love" originally by (Diana Ross and) The Supremes.
- He once did a cover of True Colors, originally by Cyndi Lauper.
- He covered Dylan's "The Times They Are A'Changin'" for Dance Into The Light.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Sadly, Word of God says that the Genesis song "No Son Of Mine" is autobiographical.
- Deadpan Snarker
- The Eighties: The time of his greatest popularity and, to most fans, his prime.
- Eighties Hair: His overly permed mullet was the source of much Snark Bait.
- Former Child Star: Averted. He was a somewhat well-known child actor and played The Artful Dodger in a West End production of Oliver!. He also had teeny tiny blink-and-you'll-miss-him roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and A Hard Day's Night, but he became much more popular in his adult years.
- He did some acting in the long break between But Seriously and Both Sides: he starred in a little-known Australian movie called Frauds alongside a very young Hugo Weaving (he took the role that these days would be reserved for Weaving!) and had a cameo as a police inspector in Hook.
- Heroic BSOD: He has admitted to having one of these during the breakup of his first marriage.
- Hey, It's That Place!: The video for "Take Me Home" is the absolute embodiment of this trope.
- Hidden Depths: In a Rolling Stone (Issue 1118) interview, Collins revealed he is a history buff (the Alamo is his particular obsession) and that he's open to the possibility of ghosts/hauntings and reincarnation.
- I Have No Son: See: Dark and Troubled Past above.
- I'm Your Biggest Fan: "Wear My Hat".
- Intercourse with You: "Like China" from Hello, I Must Be Going.
- Jerkass + Hypocrite: He spent part of the Genesis album Duke and four solo albums whining about how his first wife had done him wrong, while his second wife stood by him patiently and steadfastly. How did he repay her for her years of emotional support? If you guessed by cheating on her, you'd be right.
- Large Ham
- Lighter and Softer: Everything after Hello, I Must Be Going. Deliberately invoked by Collins as he felt his image was getting too dark.
- Morality Ballad: Another Day In Paradise, a song about the plight of homeless people.
- Also see: "That's the Way It Is," about The Troubles; "Colours," about apartheid; "Both Sides," about looking at both sides of the equation; and "River So Wide," about prejudice.
- Noodle Incident: "In the Air Tonight" again. Phil never actually says what he saw the other guy do.
- Nor does he ever specify that the person in question was a guy.
- Although there is an urban legend that this song is about Phil Collins witnessing a murder by drowning, Word of God states that the lyrics don't have any real meaning; the angry and helpless tone of the song was inspired by a painful divorce that Phil was going through at the time he wrote it.
- Obsession Song: "Misunderstanding" (written by Collins) from the Genesis album Duke is arguably about a Stalker with a Crush.
- One of Us: Collins has confessed to being a video game addict. He even got to play himself in Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories.
- Pop Star Composer: As said above.
- His 1996 album Dance Into The Light contains a song called "Lorenzo." As the title and lyrics imply, the song is about the boy from the real life-inspired film Lorenzos Oil. Its lyrics were a poem written by Lorenzo's mother, and Phil asked if he could set her verses to music.
- Promoted Fanboy: See: One of Us above.
- Real Life Writes The Song: See: Dark and Troubled Past above.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: See Take That.
- Refrain From Assuming: "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" is not called "Please Believe in Me."
- Shout-Out: The "Don't Lose My Number" video is one gigantic shout out.
- Signature Song: Hard to pick one. "In the Air Tonight", "Sussudio" and "One More Night" are definite contenders though.
- Take That: Quite a few aimed at his first wife. See: Break the Cutie above, and, actually pretty much the entirety of his first four solo albums.
- "Colours" takes digs at powerful people who would not stand up to African apartheid. "Tell me, what can you say/Tell me, who do you blame/Like a mirror, you see yourself/These people each have a name."
- Took a Level In Jerkass
- Translated Cover Version: Collins translated many of his own songs into French and sang them.
- Urban Legends: People misinterpreted the lyrics Well, if you told me you were drowning/I would not lend a hand from "In the Air Tonight" and somehow created a story about how Phil saw a guy refusing to help a friend of his who drowned as a kid, then at a concert saw that guy again and exposed him to the audience, driving him to commit suicide. Wow, Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "In the Air Tonight". He has admitted that he made up the lyrics on the spot with no real meaning. This just makes the song creepier.
- if we don't recognize what makes us alike, and focus on what makes us different, "we may never ever reach the other side