Born 31 January 1951 in Chiswick, London, Phil Collins was a child actor who appeared at age six in a production of Humpty Dumpty and, at age 14, as the Artful Dodger in Oliver. He toured the UK to perform the dance "Do The Crunch" as part of a promotion for Smith's Crisps. In the early Seventies he was a member of the art-rock group Flaming Youth, which released a single album, then joined the jazz-rock band Brand X and participated, part-time, in their early albums, such as Unorthodox Behaviour (1976). During the same period (September 1970) he spotted an ad in Melody Maker and became one of 15 drummers auditioning to join the band Genesis. During the 1970s Genesis (formed in 1966), became a major international draw with such hit albums as Selling England By The Pound (1973) which peaked at UK#3, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974), which climbed to UK#10 and A Trick Of The Tail (1975), which made it to UK#3 -- and which Princess Diana would claim as her favorite album in the Eighties) Collins stepped in to replace the departing Peter Gabriel as lead singer in 1975. Subsequent albums -- Wind and Wuthering (1976), And Then There Were Three (1978) and Duke (1980) --all reach the Top Ten in the UK, with the latter becoming the band's first #1. By 1980, band members Mark Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett had launched solo careers, and Collins decided to do likewise. The 1980s would prove to be monumentally successful ones for him, and by the end of the decade he would be an international superstar.
Though still lead singer and drummer for Genesis, Collins signs a deal with Atlantic Records in the U.S. (and Virgin Records in the UK) for a parallel solo career.
"In the Air Tonight soars to UK#2. Its parent album, written and produced by Collins, enters the UK chart at #1. It will soon sell over 900,000 copies, and will remain on the chart for 274 weeks.
The second single from Face Value, "I Missed Again," peaks at UK#14. In a couple of months it will reach US#19. It is Collin's first solo single released in the US.
Face Value climbs to US#7, selling 500,000 copies. Next month, "In the Air Tonight" will peak at US#19.
"In the Air Tonight" is named International Hit of the Year at the 27th Annual Ivor Novello Awards held in London.
Collins plays an important role in launching the first "Prince's Trust Rock Gala" at London's Dominion Theatre.
Collins embarks on his first solo tour, entitled "Phil Collins In Concert With The Fabulous Jacuzzis And The One Neat Guy."
Hello, I Must Be Going hits UK#2, and will remain charted for 160 weeks.
Collins' remake of The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" becomes his first solo #1 hit in the UK. Next month the song will peak at US#10, while its parent album, Hello, I Must Be Going, reaches US#8.
"I Don't Care Anymore" stalls at US#39, while "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away" makes it to UK#45.
Collins and the other members of Genesis are the recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award at the 28th Annual Ivor Novello Awards.
"Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" peaks at UK#2 and hits the top spot on the US singles chart, where it remains for three weeks. The song will be nominated for an Academy Award, and next month will be certified by the RIAA as the artist's first million-seller.
"In the Air Tonight" is resurrected thanks to play on the hit TV series Miami Vice, in which Collins guest stars as "Phil the Shill." The song is also featured in the Tom Cruise film, Risky Business.
Collins serves as drummer and also sings in Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
"Easy Lover," which Collins co-wrote with Earth, Wind and Fire's Philip Bailey, peaks at US#2, while "Sussudio," the first single from his third album, climbs to UK#12. Collins wins Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards for "Against All Odds."
No Jacket Required, Collins' third solo album, debuts at UK#1. On the 30th the album will begin a 7-week reign at the top of the US album chartl. It will stay at the top of the chart for five weeks, and on the chart for a total of 175 weeks. "Easy Lover" hits US#1 and is certified gold, while "Against All Odds" wins Best Song Musically and Lyrically at the 30th Annual Ivor Novello Awards. "One More Night" hits US#1 where it will stay for two weeks, selling over a million copies. In a few weeks the song will peak at UK#4.
"Sussudio" tops the US chart, selling a million copies. It is Collins' third consecutive #1 U.S. single. On the 13th, Collins performs at the Live Aid concert held at London's Wembley Stadium before hopping a Concorde for a fast transatlantic flight so that he can perform at the Live Aid concert at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium, where he also plays drums for the Led Zeppelin reunion.
"Easy Lover" wins Best Overall Performance at the 2nd Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, New York City. "Don't Lose My Number" climbs to US#4.
"Separate Lives," which Collins performs with Marilyn Martin and which is featured in the film White Nights hits US#1. It is Collins' fifth million-selling single in six tries. In December the song will peak at UK#4.
Collins is named Best British Male Artist at the 5th Annual BRIT Awards, while No Jacket Required wins Best British Album. At the 28th Annual Grammy Awards, Collins wins Best Pop Vocal Perfomance (Male), Producer of the Year and Album of the Year (No Jacket Required).
"Easy Lover" is named Most Performed Work at the 31st Annual Ivor Novello Awards.
"Take Me Home" climbs to US#7.
Collins is part of the studio band for the recording of Eric Clapton's August. He will also participate in Clapton's promotional world tour.
Collins is the drummer in an all-star band assembled for a concert at Wembley Stadium, given in tribute to Nelson Mandela.
A remixed version of "In the Air Tonight" shoots to UK#4.
"Groovy Kind of Love," a remake of the 1966 hit for the Mindbenders, and featured in the film Buster (in which Collins stars), climbs to UK#1. In October it will also top the US chart.
"Two Hearts," which Collins co-writes with Lamont Dozier, peaks at UK#6.
"Two Hearts" becomes Collins' seventh #1 hit in the U.S.
Collins wins Best British Male Artist at the 8th Annual BRIT Awards, while Buster is named Best Film Soundtrack. "Two Hearts" wins Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture at the 31st Grammy Awards.
Collins becomes a father with the birth of his daughter, Lily Jane, on the 18th.
"Two Hearts" is named Best Film Theme or Song at the 34th Annual Ivor Novello Awards.
Collins appears in Pete Townsend's Tommy at Universal City, CA, his role that of Uncle Ernie. His co-stars include Elton John, Steve Winwood, Billy Idol and Patti LaBelle. The show is broadcast on the Fox Network in September
"Another Day In Paradise" climbs to UK#2.
Collins' new album, But Seriously debuts at UK#1 and spends fifteen weeks at the top of the chart, the fastest selling album in British history. The RIAA certifies that Hello, I Must Be Going has sold two million copies, Face Value has sold three million and No Jacket Required, six million. "Another Day In Paradise" hits US#1.
Face Value (Virgin, 1981)
In The Air Tonight
This Must Be Love
Behind The Lines
The Roof Is Leaking
Hand In Hand
.I Missed Again
You Know What I Mean
Thunder And Lightning
I'm Not Moving
If Leaving Me Is Easy
Tomorrow Never Knows
"Confirms Collins as something of a musical cosmopolitan; a more suburban imagination would probably have selected one style and disciplined its repertoire to fit. Collins runs riot through a variety of settings, committing himself to the disparate moods and styles with genuine zeal."
"Face Value was recorded during the collapse of his first marriage and he conveyed all the intense emotional feelings of that crumbled relationship into most of the compositions."
The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music.
"Play this album until your stereo needle powders to dust."
Hello, I Must Be Going (Virgin, 1982)
I Don't Care Anymore
I Cannot Believe It's True
Do You Know, Do You Care?
You Can't Hurry Love
It Don't Matter To Me
Thru These Walls
Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away
The West Side
Why Can't It Wait 'Til Morning
"Collins has played it, and produced it, with a matchless skill that makes him virtually the complete rock and roll entertainer"
"Glutinously stymied by the treacley self-pity of its maker."
New Musical Express
No Jacket Required (Virgin, 1985)
Only You Know And I Know
Long Long Way To Go
I Don't Wanna Know
One More Night
Don't Lose My Number
Who Said I Would
Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore
Take Me Home
We Said Hello Goodbye
"A model for a little hits factory"
New Musical Express
"Collins is a generally sound sort of bloke who makes fairly ordinary records for very ordinary people to play at their desperately ordinary parties."
But Seriously (Virgin, 1989)
Hang In Long Enough
That's Just The Way It Is
Do You Remember?
Something Happened On The Way To Heaven
I Wish It Would Rain Down
Another Day In Paradise
Heat On The Sheet
All Of My Life
Saturday Night And Sunday Morning
Father To Son
Find A Way To My Heart
During thr 1980s Collins became a successful record producer, with such projects as Something's Going On (1982) for Abba vocalist Frida, "Strip" and "Puss 'N Boots" for Adam and the Ants, Eric Clapton's Behind The Sun (co-producer) and "No One Is To Blame" for Howard Jones.
In the 1988 film Buster, Collins starred as Buster Edwards, train robber turned flower seller. He also compiled the film soundtrack of songs from the Sixties. The following year he won Canada's Genie Award for his performance in the film.
The hit single "Against All Odds," from the film by the same name, was actually the rewrite of a song Collins had done for the Face Value album -- it wasn't included -- called "How Can You Sit There?"
In 1991 Collins collected numerous awards: A Grammy for Record of the Year ("Another Day In Paradise"), Best Drummer in Rolling Stone's Readers' Pick music awards, Songwriter of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards, ASCAP's UK Songwriter of the Year.
In 1992, Collins purchased an $8.5 million, 14,000 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion once belonging to Cole Porter. A few years later Business Age magazine reported that Collins was Britain's fourth wealthiest rock star, with an estimated personal wealth of $367 million. (David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Tom Jones were the top three.)
In 1994 Collins was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in acknowledgement for his work as trustee for the Prince's Trust.