Tag Archives: Phil Collins

Remember That Song: 12/27/17

Can you name the artist and song:

You’re not warm or sentimental
You’re so extreme, you can be so temperamental


Last Song: “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins from the album Hello I Must Be Going! (1982)

Great job Edzo the Keeper (@edgontarz)!!!

How many heartaches
Must I stand
Before I find the love
To let me live again

If you’d like to purchase this song from Amazon, click on the album cover below:

Top 40 Songs This Week – November 27, 1982: Songs 40-31

Welcome back to another week of some Top 40 music! This time, we Return all the way back to 35 years ago this week. Christmas season had just started, and I was 12 years old. I was past the age of getting kids toys. Instead, it was a time of home video games (in my case, Intellivision), and music. Instead of listening to my parents’ albums, I was beginning to get my own music. I would get cassettes for my birthday and Christmas, and I was constantly listening to the radio. So, the songs this week really bring me back. I hope you feel the same. So let’s Return to the week ending November 27, 1982, and begin this week’s Top 40 countdown.


40. “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins

Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ 1966 hit was his first solo #1 hit in the U.K. It would reach #10 in the U.S. This song came off of Collins’ second album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, and proved that he could be mega succcessful as both a solo artist, and as a member of Genesis.

39. “A Penny For Your Thoughts” by Tavares

This Cape Verdean family hail from my home state of Rhode Island. They had several hit songs throughout the ’70s. This song would be their final Top 40 hit, peaking at #33.

38. “Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier

Even though Billy Squier is known to have fallen off the map not long after MTV was born, this rocker was in heavy rotation during the music channel’s infancy.

37. “What About Me” by Moving Pictures

This was the Australian group’s first number one single in their home country, spending 6 weeks at the top of the charts. It was so successful, that it came over to the U.S., and became a hit there too.

36. “Hand to Hold On To” by John Cougar

This was the third single released from John Cougar’s breakthrough album, American Fool. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are hard acts to follow. But this song isn’t too shabby, and has the same sound as it’s predecessors.

35. “On the Wings of Love” by Jeffrey Osborne

The second Rhode Island act of this countdown! All we need is John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band to complete the trifecta! This is Osborne’s signature song, which came off his self-titled debut album.

34. “You Can Do Magic” by America

This band had it’s heyday in the ’70s, with hits “A Horse With No Name”, “Ventura Highway”, and “Sister Golden Hair”. This song is also pretty damn good. It was a comeback song for the group, but it would be their last Top 40 hit.

33. “Africa” by Toto

This is one of my favorite songs of the ’80s. I could not get enough of this song when it was first released. It is still in heavy rotation on my playlist to this day.

32. “Be My Lady” by Jefferson Starship

Not a bad song as the band transitioned from Jefferson Airplane to Starship. The band jumped aboard the MTV bandwagon early, and were very successful throughout the ’80s.

31. “Down Under” by Men At Work

This Men At Work signature song, and anthem for Australia, is one of the more popular songs of the ’80s. This was a fun video during a fun decade.

 

 


That will wrap things up today. We will continue on with the countdown tomorrow. Where were you at this point in 1982? Did you have any favorite songs here?

Book Review: Not Dead Yet – The Autobiography of Phil Collins

Not Dead Yet – The Autobiography of Phil Collins

by Robert Mishou

It was 1981 and I was sitting in my grandparent’s living room in Valkenburg a/d Geul, the Netherlands. My grandfather and I were waiting for the weekly Saturday soccer highlight show to start and, to fill air time, the station was, as expected, showing music videos. As I watched the first video, I saw a large black and white face begin to fill the screen. The music was quiet – it had an almost foreboding feel to it. I was about to walk away and get a drink, but something made me stay. I watched the video, wondering the entire time what was going on. I did not like the music much, but I did like the singer’s voice and I was intrigued by the song’s haunting sound. I kept watching and the song built a bit and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a burst of drums blasts from the TV. I was taken aback — and hooked. The song was “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, so the Monday, after school, I went to my favorite record store and bought the album Face Value.

This was my first experience with the artist whose career I would follow for the next three decades. I bought every Collins album as soon as each was released – I went back and bought the Genesis albums that he sang on and then bought all future Genesis releases. Don’t believe me? As I look through my music collection now, I see:

Phil Collins albums: Face Value (original and remastered 2015), Hello, I Must Be Going (original and remastered 2015), No Jacket Required (original and remastered 2015), . . . But Seriously (original and remastered 2015), Serious Hits Live, Both Sides (original and remastered 2015), Dance Into the Light, Testify, Love Songs: A Compilation . . .Old and New, Going Back, and The Singles. Yes, both Tarzan and Brother Bear are missing – I just couldn’t.

Genesis albums: A Trick of the Tail, Wind and Wuthering, And Then There WereThree, Duke, Abacab, Genesis, Invisible Touch, We Can’t Dance, Turn It On Again. There are still a few live albums I need to acquire.

phil-collins-albums

You see? I like me some Phil Collins! I do not like all albums equally, in fact, I have been disappointed in a few, but I have never stopped listening to him. When I read, and finally saw, that he was releasing an autobiography, I was excited and a bit nervous. I am a picky reader and I was worried that the writing would not be very good. Also, I did not want my vision of him ruined with “the truth.” Despite my trepidations, I picked up the autobiography, Not Dead Yet, and started reading.

I was not disappointed. The writing is not horrible as he dictated his stories, organized them, and put them in written form – the book sounds like Collins is talking to you. He has a clever sense of humor and tries his best to be honest. This is difficult as he has been married three time which, as a whole he takes responsibility for his role in the ending of all three marriages (although, presently Collins and his third wife are back together, but not married). Collins organizes his stories chronologically starting with his childhood days, his time with Genesis as a drummer and then vocalist, his solo career, and his comeback. The stories are real and full of insights on how some of his great songs were created. This is by no means an expose, but Collins does broach some touchy situations with professionalism and no true axe to grind.

I do want everyone to read Not Dead Yet, so I am not going to give away all of the cool stuff, but I do want to intrigue you all a bit, so what follows are a few interesting tidbits from Collins’ book.

Collins’ interest in show business started with acting. He attended a fine arts performance high school and wanted to be an actor. As a boy, he played the Artful Dodger in Oliver. Clearly, he pursued a career as a drummer and played in several bands before joining Genesis. This acting bug resurfaced when Collins stared in Buster and made appearances in Miami Vice and Hook.

Collins hesitantly replaced Peter Gabriel as the lead vocalist of Genesis. After auditioning many potential vocalists, Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (guitars) encouraged Collins to try the lead vocals. Everyone liked what they heard and the rest is history. Collins did not think he could be the lead vocalist and play drums for the band in concert. So, when performing live, Chester Thompson played drums while Collins was the front man. Collins maintained Thompson for his live solo shows. During all Genesis and solo shows, there would be segments (mostly instrumentals) in the show where Collins would jump back on the drum kit. Despite all of the many things Collins did during his career, he always came back to drumming as his ultimate love.

“In the Air Tonight” has nothing to do with witnessing a drowning. It is a bitter song about the breakup of his first marriage. “Well, if you told me you were drowning / I would not lend a hand / I’ve seen your face before my friend / But I don’t know if you know who I am” is nothing more than some really hard feelings about the way that first marriage ended. Collins is fully aware now that the constant touring and recording schedule that Genesis maintained was a recipe to end any marriage, but he was totally driven by the work.

The Genesis song “Since I Lost You “ from the We Can’t Dance album was written for his good friend Eric Clapton, whose son died in a tragic accident. Collins played it for him, asking his permission to include it on the album, saying that he would gladly drop it if Clapton did not approve. Clapton loved it and played “Tears in Heaven” for Collins; both men cried with each other that night and remain good friends today. Clapton appears on the Collins albums Face Value and . . . But Seriously.
“Since I Lost You”:

“I Wish it Would Rain Down”:

The title to Collins’ #1 hit “Sussudio” from No Jacket Required means nothing! Both as a solo artist and as a member of Genesis, the writing of the songs came in a similar manner. The musicians would be in a room together and play. The music was almost always written before any lyrics came about. While working on No Jacket Required, Collins was working on the music and, as was typical, needed to improvise lyrics. He used the word “sussudio” as a place holder. The song started to take shape and lyrics were added, but “sussudio” fit so well he decided to leave it.

One last one: Many people have said that there is some contention between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins after he replaced him as Genesis lead vocalist. Collins insists that this is not true. He feels that he and Gabriel are still good friends as was evident when the original members reunited for a BBC documentary Genesis: Together and Apart.

 

Documentary (1 ½ hours long):

For ‘80s music fans Not Dead Yet is a must read. It is full of insights to Collins’ creative process as a member of Genesis and as a solo artist. Collins discusses all of his big songs and how they came to be. One more note: Both “Against All Odds” and “Separate Lives” (both #1 hits) could not make the cut for a Collins album and sat on the shelf for some time until given to the soundtracks of Against All Odds and White Knights respectively. The book reads well and is an evenly told autobiography. Yes, there a few things that could use a little more explanation, but Collins does not avoid touchy or embarrassing situations. He is, for example, very honest about his role in the debacle of performing in London and Philadelphia for Live Aid. The book did not talk me out of my Phil Collins fandom, rather, it may have increased it. Collins is performing a Not Dead Yet tour in Europe in 2017. There are rumors that he will bring this tour to the U.S. – one can only hope. Not Dead Yet end optimistically, giving the reader hope that his fantastic musical career continues.

 

not-dead-yet

Remember That Song: 3/17/16

Can you name the artist and song:

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you


Last Song: “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins from Face Value (1981)

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish) and Jim (@JimVilk)!!!

So you can wipe off that grin,
I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies

Remember That Song: 2/2/16

Can you name the artist and song:

If I could go back again
Well, I know I’d never let you go
Back with all of my friends
To that wonderful


Last Song: “Sussudio” by Phil Collins from No Jacket Required (1985)

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish)!!!

Oh, if she called me I’d be there
I’d come running anywhere
She’s all I need, all my life
I feel so good if I just say the word

Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – That’s Just the Way It Is

Today, Robert wraps up this week’s Phil Collins Deep Tracks. I hope you enjoyed these as much as I have. To be honest, the only song I was familiar with was yesterday’s (“Long Long Way to Go”). It is always great to discover great music! Thanks so much, Robert!


That’s Just the Way It Is (1989)

Here is another song that is similar to yesterday’s: serious lyrics and a famous background vocalist, this time it is David Crosby (in 1993 Collins would record “Hero” with Crosby for his solo album). Musically, this is a somber tune that matches the lyrics perfectly. The song is about feuds or long standing disagreements that continue through many generations costing many lives along the way. While no specific conflict is mentioned in the song, one of the conflicts that this could easily be about is the fighting that existed between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. This generational fighting existed for hundreds of years and saw no real peaceful solution until the late 1990s. This conflict clearly had a direct effect on Northern Ireland, but it also extended to England due Northern Ireland being a part of the United Kingdom and that many of the Protestants were of English descent. The fight has truly been passed down through multiple generations, “It’s been your life for as long as you can remember / But you cannot fight no more / You must want to look your son in the eyes / When he asks you what you did it for.” The frustration lies in the idea that this fighting could stop at any time. Unfortunately, it has always been this way – it is what is expected, “Young men come and young men go / But life goes on just the same. . . That’s just the way it is.” The futile nature of the conflict is clear as is Collins’ frustration with the continued loss of life.


Beginning on January 29, Phil Collins will begin re-releasing his solo albums. Each package will include a digitally remastered original album and a second disc full of live versions, demos, and previously unreleased versions. All of the album covers will be re-shot in the same design as the originals, but with a new image of Collins’ face. The first two releases will be Face Value and Both Sides with the other albums being released throughout 2016. These releases mark the official “un-retiring” of Collins who, at the end of 2015, announced his return to touring and making new music.

Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – Long Long Way to Go

Long Long Way to Go (1985)

This song is probably my favorite Phil Collins song (I still cannot believe it was not a single) from No Jacket Required and clearly foreshadows the type of lyrics that are coming on his next album . . . But Seriously. At first listen, most recognize the distinct sound of Sting on backing vocals. Sting and Collins met during the recording of the Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and they performed together at Live Aid; after Collins ask Sting to sing on this song. The strength of this song is in the lyrics. The speaker in the song seems a bit frustrated with the way things are in the world – we talk a good game, but there is no real improvement, “While I sit here trying to think a things to say / Someone lies bleeding in a field somewhere / So it would seem that we still got a long long way to go / I’ve seen all I want to see today.” This tone continues as the speaker is forced to admit that people are not treating each other humanely. Most of the criticism, though, is directed at us, those who hear about the tragic events. We get the information from television that creates in us a clear separation from the actual events. We do not have to care if do not want to – all we have to do is walk away; ignoring the problem is too easy. Collins (and Sting) sing, “Turn it off if you want to / Switch it off it will go away / Turn it off if you want to / Switch it off or look away.” I do not think that things have changed much in the thirty-one years since this song was recorded. I love how the song ends abruptly after the chorus changes from “Switch it off” to “Turn it off.” Just like “In the Air Tonight”, this song was used in an episode of Miami Vice.

Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – It Don’t Matter To Me

It Don’t Matter To Me (1982)

This song starts with a burst from those Phenix horns – great stuff. The horns once again play a prominent role in this song; they are most likely the part you walk away humming. As you would expect, Phil Collins plays the drums and percussion here, but he also lays down the keyboards as well. He is the main keyboard player on most of the album Hello, I Must Be Going, playing on every song that has any sort of keyboard other than “You Can’t Hurry Love”; clearly his musical talents stretches beyond just maintaining steady beat. Just a little reading or listening to a Collins interview will let you know that this second album is considered his ‘divorce’ album. Collins was going through a difficult breakup and divorce during the writing of the songs that would eventually be included on this second solo album. It seems as if he is speaking directly to his ex wife here: “Because I’ve heard it all so many times before / Just what you’re saying / I don’t really want to hear it all no more.” This does not sound like the breakup went real well. This idea of loss and dealing with the end of a long relationship is a prevalent theme on this album. This album is probably my favorite one from the Phil Collins catalog. In 1982 I was thirteen and a typically naive junior high kid who had no idea how the world or relationships worked; I do not think I really cared either. I will fully admit to buying this album because I really liked the title and thought it was a clever play on words.

Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – “Hand in Hand” and “The West Side”

Hand in Hand (1981) and The West Side (1982)

Phil-Collins-8-©Philip-KaminI have sort of cheated here and included two songs in one day. These are both instrumentals and are typically an ignored part of Collins’ work. Both are these songs are excellent examples of Collins’ musical talent. As expected, Collins is on the drums for both of these songs – and he is good. These songs are clearly highlighted by the horns that are featured. Collins included plenty of horn work on many of his songs and he did so against the advice of many. In the documentary Classic Albums, Collins discusses his love for American R&B music and how he wanted to incorporate that sound into some of his songs – hence the horns. This sound would continue to have a strong presence on all of Collins’ albums in the’ 80s. For Face Value, Collins used the EWF horns who played with Earth Wind and Fire. For his second solo album, Collins established the Phenix horns who would record and tour with him throughout the decade. Collins also started using Daryl Struemer on guitar who would also remain with Collins recording and live through the ‘80s. In fact, if you check out the video for “Don’t Lose My Number”, Collins mentions the guitarist’s name when the video producer asks who is playing the solo. The horns, the percussion, the keyboards, the bass – all of them are artistically blended into two great songs. They are both catchy, superb examples of talented musicians who want to push the limits of what we expect to hear from typical pop/rock music. One of the best ways to fully appreciate instrumentals is through a live performance. So saying, both of the links are to concert footage and they are fantastic. Note: The great touring drummer for Phil Collins and Genesis is Chester Thompson – here is a bonus link to some solo drumming by these two. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to watch this:

Hand in Hand

The West Side

Deep Tracks: Phil Collins – The Roof Is Leaking

Hi Everybody! What better way to ring in the New Year than some Deep Tracks, courtesy of Robert?! My introduction to Phil Collins was in 1983, when I first got cable TV, and was glued to MTV. “That’s All” by Genesis was in heavy rotation, and I didn’t mind one bit. I also loved Phil Collins’ solo work. We also got the best of both worlds because Genesis was still releasing music, specifically, the perfect album – Invisible Touch. While Phil Collins had many huge solo hits, he also had some awesome music that didn’t get as much, if any, airplay. So, let’s get this started, and enjoy Robert’s incredible picks of Phil Collins’ deep tracks.


In 1974 Peter Gabriel, lead singer for the progressive rock band Genesis, decided to leave the band and pursue a solo music career. This left the door open for a change that would have a dramatic impact on ‘80s music. After trying out several possible lead singers, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Mike Rutherford convinced drummer Phil Collins to give vocals a shot. The rest, as they say, is history: Phil Collins was now the drummer AND lead vocalist for Genesis. The departure of Peter Gabriel also caused a change in Genesis’ musical style. They maintained some of the prog rock influences, but dropped many of the theatrics and became much more accessible to pop/rock listeners. Chart success in the U.S. would soon follow. The band charted their first AT 40 hit in 1978 with “Follow You Follow Me” – fifteen more would follow. This success would lead to Phil Collins beginning his own solo career in 1981 while continuing to perform with Genesis.

Phil Collins released four solo albums in the ‘80s: Face Value (1981), Hello, I Must Be Going (1982), No Jacket Required (1985), and . . . But Seriously (1989) – all of them top 10 releases. As far as his singles, Phil Collins had a total of eighteen AT 40 hits with fourteen of this being top 10 and seven of those reaching #1. Impressive! Despite all of this chart success, Phil Collins has some excellent songs that many have not heard, so I come back once again to the idea of deep tracks. By following this series you have heard five great deep tracks from a-ha and and ten amazing tunes from Survivor – now here are five deep tracks that are essential Phil Collins listening. Despite Collins having some great music released throughout the ‘90s, I am staying with the four albums released in the ‘80s.

The Roof Is Leaking (1981)

While Face Value is full a memorable songs such as “In the Air Tonight” and “I Missed Again”, this song has always been the one that has stuck with me the most. Yes, those are crickets you here at the start of this song. This is a haunting song with sparse instrumentation that creates a sound that makes this song unforgettable. As an added bonus, Eric Clapton is the guitarist on this song, making his first of several appearances on a Collins solo effort (see “I Wish It Would Rain Down” from . . . But Seriously). The biggest reason that this song has always stuck with me is the lyrics. During my junior high and high school years I was fortunate enough to spend plenty of time with my Dutch grandparents in Valkenburg, a small town in southern Holland. The gorgeous town sits in a valley and I spent many hours walking through the surrounding forest. This was also the time that I was forming my musical tastes and always had my trusty walkman with me. Face Value was one of my regular tapes and I can still picture walking up hills and through the woods with this song playing. Many time I would stop and sit under a tree or on a rock and just focus on these lyrics. The man is the song is poor and has been raised in a family who has always struggled financially. The chorus emphasizes this, “The roof is leaking and the wind is howling / Kids are crying ‘cause the sheets are so cold / I woke this morning found my hands were frozen / I try to fix the fire, but you know the damn thing’s to old.” Despite this constantly bleak situation, he has hope, “And me, I’m getting stronger by the minute . . . This winter looks like it’s gonna be another bad one / But Spring will soon be here / God, I hope it’s not late.” There is no complaining or giving up; he does not have a fatalistic attitude at all – he and his family are going to make it – somehow. I love this song.