The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Phil Collins was born on the 30th january 1951. He had a drum kit from a very early age but was more interested in a career as an actor and had success on the London stage with his first major role as Oliver's Artful Dodger. Even with this early success, he turned once again to music. After playing in a number of school bands, he joined Flaming Youth and recorded the well received and now highly collectable 'ARK 2' album in 1969. it was hardly surprising, given Collins Prog future, that 'ARK 2' was a concept album - a sure sign of things to come.
After Flaming Youth disbanded, Collins answered an advert in the Melody Maker and gained an audition for Genesis who had carelessly lost their three previous drummers. Collins passed the audition and established himself in a settled line up in what was to become the "Classic" Genesis line up. Genesis fast became one of the best and biggest Prog Rock bands with Collins now a well respected drummer and perfect foil to Peter Gabriel. When Gabriel left in 1975 after 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' tour, a suitable replacement was not able to be found, so Collins jumped from his drum stool and into the vocal limelight. Collins more robust style of performing help transform the band from an essentially British success to a worldwide smash with number one albums and singles on both sides of the Atlantic. During the early part of this success, Collins formed a Jazz/Rock outfit, Brand X who continued without Collins once his band and solo commitments grew to much.
As Genesis continued to become more and more popular, Collins added another string to his bow and launched a solo career. Using the break up of his marriage as inspiration for the first couple of albums, he has also shown a political awareness with later work with such songs as 'Another Day In Paradise' (about homelessness) and songs about apartheid. As a solo artist, even greater success followed. Massive hit albums and singles all over the world were now commonplace. He even returned to acting, starring in the Great Train Robbery film Buster. He was now a well respected record producer working with the like of John Martyn and Frida from ABBA and appeared on albums as guest artist for many performers such as Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Robert Plant and on ex. Genesis Peter Gabriel and Steve Hacketts solo Albums. He was also the drummer on the Band Aid single 'Do They Know Its Christmas', and Collins' place in Rock History was assured.
After quitting Genesis in 1996, he concentrated on solo work. In 2003 he reported the loss of hearing in one ear and so curtailed his activities, particularly live work. Even so he once again joined Genesis and toured the world in 2007 and continued to be the guest drummer for notable acts including Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin.
Collins has shown a remarkable longevity and although perhaps scorned by many prog rock fans as never being able to fill the large boots of Peter Gabriel, he has proved to be a brilliant musician and songwriter, albeit in a more pop orientated world. With total sales with Genesis and as a solo performer of over 200 million albums.
His first big solo hit 'In The Air Tonight' has recently received many air plays on the back of the surreal advert featuring a gorilla enthusiastically playing along, prompting the single to be re released in many countries.
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