Once there was a great drummer, who was also a great singer, and also a great writer, and also produced, and also acted. He achieved almost unimaginable success with 7 Grammy’s, 2 Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe Award and sales of some 200 million records worldwide. His first group Genesis became members of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he joined the ranks of writers like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Paul Simon as winner of the prestigious Johnny Mercer award. That drummer is the remarkable Phil Collins.
The genesis of his success was actually in 1970 with the group Genesis followed by and coinciding with his 1975 jazz-fusion band Brand X. After the exit of Genesis’ vocalist Peter Gabriel, Collins assumed that role too. While his vocal responsibilities resulted in him sharing drum duties during live shows, he continued as the exclusive drummer on all of the group’s albums.
Collins also launched his incredibly successful solo career as the 1980s began, while continuing to achieve massive success with Genesis. Soon he became a globetrotting front man/drummer who was to perform in England and the U.S. on the same Live Aid broadcast on the same day in ’85. He’s contributed to film scores, performed with superstars and super groups, produced some of the most recognizable and iconic drum fills and patterns in music, and done it all with enthusiasm and a self-effacing sense of humor.
While the diversity and sheer number of his abilities and successes might tend to mask the fact, and while critics who typically excel at nothing can sometimes become cynical regarding those who excel at everything, Phil Collins is a great and influential drummer. His body of work is undeniable and incomparable.