This happened to me last week. I was driving along and on came Easy Lover by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins; an uptempo pop tune from 1984. Although the the tune is credited to both Bailey ( Earth, Wind and Fire) and Collins (Genesis) there's no doubt when you hear it, it is the unmistakable sound of Phil Collins. Within a few days I'd heard Easy Lover several times (great music to drive to!) Against All Odds (Take a Look at me Now) and several other tracks and I was thinking to myself why/when on earth did I stop listening to Phil Collins?
A little bit of research explains the renewed media interest; Phil Collins has a new album due out later this year. Going Back will consist of covers of classic 1960s Motown and soul tracks which Collins will be previewing at New York's Roseland Ballroom in June. The album will be Collins' first new material from a studio since 2002 and it will certainly be interesting to see just how he covers old favourites such as Stevie Wonder's Uptight (Everything's Alright) and Martha and the Vandella's Jimmy Mack.
|Phil Collins' Going Back will be released in September 2010|
For someone who has sold 250 million records (150m with Genesis and 100m solo) the last 10 years have been pretty quiet for Collins. Although divorced from his third wife in 2007, Collins, now 59, has been playing more of a fatherly role to his children and even been spending time constructing miniature train sets! (Yep, even great rock stars are afflicted by the curse of steam engines!)
Sadly, Collins has also been suffering from hearing loss in one ear since 2000 and more recently in 2009 a dislocated vertebrae, which required surgery, caused nerve damage affecting the use of his hands. It's been reported that during the recording of Going Back his drumsticks even had to be strapped to his hands. Nevertheless, Collins has adopted a philosophical, pragmatic view of the affect on his capabilities; "stuff happens in life" he wrote on the Genesis website - which is great news for music lovers because we know that every now and then, even when things aren't the best, Collins is going to come up with one of his musical gems.
In fact, it's possible that Collins is one of those musicians who works best in the face of adversity; some of his greatest music has been when he has been under emotional pressure - as perhaps his most well known song testifies. In the Air Tonight from the album Face Value was written after the breakdown of his first marriage. It's an atmospheric song which can really alter your mood; the tension in the introduction is quite palpable. I find it a particularly fascinating piece of music. So turn up the volume now and listen to this really great song from the very talented Phil Collins;