Rock Flashback: Phil Collins

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phil collins Rock Flashback: Phil Collins

Phil Collins plays New York City, 2010 (Getty Images/Michael Loccisano)

If [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Phil Collins[/lastfm] is serious about staying retired, as he announced earlier this month, he brings to a close a 30-year solo career that reached some astonishing peaks. Four of the five studio albums he released between 1981 and 1993 hit #1 in the UK, and the other one was #2. Two of those albums, No Jacket Required (released 1985) and But Seriously . . . (released 1989) topped the American album charts. His iconic debut single, “In the Air Tonight,” was a #1 hit in the UK and became a smash in the States years later after being featured on the popular TV series Miami Vice. Bottom line: You could not turn on the radio for more than about 10 minutes between 1984 and 1990 without hearing something from Collins — because in the middle of all that, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Genesis[/lastfm] was recording steadily, too.

Collins’ chart-topping success came at the height of the video age, despite his balding, suburban-dad looks. In the middle of the 1980s, it wasn’t enough to sing your song — every other video on MTV was preceded by a little scene-setting playlet, and Collins’ videos were no exception. Here’s “Don’t Lose My Number”:

In 2010, Collins released Going Home, an album of Motown covers featuring some surviving members of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]the Funk Brothers[/lastfm], the Motown house band of the 1960s. Although it didn’t get much traction in the States, it was a #1 album in the UK. Not only was it a throwback to the ’60s, it’s a throwback to the early years of his solo career: Collins’ cover of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]the Supremes[/lastfm]‘ “You Can’t Hurry Love” was his first UK #1 single and first US Top 10. From Going Home, here’s his version of “Heat Wave”:

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