Phil Collins in concert with Genesis in October 1981
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Philip David Charles Collins (born , in , ) is a and . He is best known as the lead and of group and as a and -winning solo artist.
In total, Collins sang the lead vocals on eight chart-toppers between and ; seven as a solo artist and one with Genesis. His singles, often dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy "", to the dance pop of "", to the political statements of his most successful song, "". His international popularity transformed Genesis from a progressive rock group to a regular on the and an early mainstay.
Collins' professional career began as a drummer, first with obscure rock group and then more famously with Genesis. In Genesis, Collins originally supplied only backing vocals for front man ; it would not be until Gabriel's departure in 1975 that he became the group's lead singer. As the decade closed, Genesis' first international hit, "", demonstrated a drastic change from the band's early years. His concurrent solo career, heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both him and Genesis commercial success. According to , Collins' total worldwide sales as a solo artist, as of 2002, were over 100 million.
Early life and career
Collins received a toy drum kit for Christmas when he was five. Later, his uncle made him a makeshift one that he used regularly, and he became better. As Collins grew they 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 ; instead, he uses a system he devised himself.
Collins looked for every opportunity to perform. His professional training began at fourteen when he entered Barbara Speake Stage School. He began a career as a child and , and won his first major role as in a London production of . He appeared as an extra on ' , as part of a crowd scene. He also auditioned for the role of Romeo in (1968).
Despite the beginnings of an acting career, Collins continued to gravitate toward 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' first record deal came as drummer for , who released a single album, (1969). A inspired by the recent media attention surrounding the moon landing, Ark 2 failed to make much commercial success despite positive critical reviews. featured the album as "Pop Album of the Month", describing it as "adult music beautifully played with nice tight harmonies". The album's main single, "From Now On", failed on the radio. After a year of touring, band tensions and the lack of commercial success dissolved the group.
In 1970, Collins answered a Melody Maker for "...a drummer sensitive to , and acoustic ". Genesis placed the ad after having already lost three drummers over two albums. The audition occurred at the home of Peter Gabriel's parents. Prospective candidates performed tracks from the group's second album, (1970). Collins arrived early, listened to the other auditions and memorised the pieces before his turn.
The music video for 1986's "Land of Confusion" featured the members of Genesis in puppet form. MTV nominated the clip for Video of the Year. From left to right, band members , Phil Collins, and .
Collins won the audition, and a year later, (1971) was released. Although his role would remain drummer and occasional backing vocalist for the next five years, he twice sang lead vocals on "For Absent Friends" (from Nursery Cryme) and "More Fool Me" (from ) (1973).
In 1974, while recording the album , who did the Enossification on Peter's voice was in need of a drummer for his album and Phil was sent to play drums as payment for his doings with the band.