Phil Collins was born 30 January 1951 in Chiswick, Middlesex. His father was an insurance agent and his mother worked as a theatrical agent. He was given a toy drum kit for Christmas when he was five.
Aged five he entered a Butlins talent contest singing “Davy Crockett”, but he stopped the orchestra halfway through to tell them they were in the wrong key.
Collins began his career as a child actor, and played the Artful Dodger in the London stage production of Oliver! He was also an extra in The Beatles‘ film A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, and he later had a role in Calamity the Cow. He also appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as one of the children who storm the castle, but his scene was cut.
While attending Chiswick County School for Boys, Collins formed a band called the Real Thing, and later joined the Freehold, with whom he wrote his first song, “Lying Crying Dying.”
In mid-1970, the rock band Genesis had decided to become a full time band and following the departures of drummer John Mayhew and guitarist Anthony Phillips, advertised for a drummer “sensitive to acoustic music”. From 1970 to 1975, Collins played drums and percussion, and sang (largely backing) vocals on Genesis albums. His first album recorded with the band, Nursery Cryme, was recorded and released in 1971.
He has collected hundreds of artefacts related to the famous 1836 battle in San Antonio, Texas, narrated a light and sound show about the Alamo, and has spoken at related events.
He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2012.
Collins was the only Live Aid performer who performed at both the US concert and the UK concert. He travelled to Philadelphia via Concorde to perform his solo material, play drums for Eric Clapton, and drummed with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page for a Led Zeppelin reunion.
Collins has married and divorced three separate times, paying out over $84 million in divorce settlements.
Like Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton, Collins is a model railway enthusiast.
He played percussion on “Art of Dying” by George Harrison for his triple album All Things Must Pass.
In August 1975, following The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, Peter Gabriel left Genesis. The band placed an advert for a replacement in Melody Maker and received around 400 replies. After a lengthy auditioning process, during which he sang backup vocals for applicants, Collins became the band’s lead vocalist.
Face Value his debut studio album released on 13 February 1981 reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart for three weeks and No. 7 on the US Billboard 200. It has since sold over 5 million copies in the US.
Collins’s second solo album, Hello, I Must Be Going! was released in November 1982. The second single, a cover of “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes, became Collins’s first UK No. 1 single and went to No. 10 in the US
In 1984, Collins released “Against All Odds”, the main theme for the film of the same title, which earned him the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance.
His most successful album, the Diamond-certified No Jacket Required was released in 1985. It reached No. 1 in both the UK and the US. It contained the US No.1 hits “One More Night” and “Sussudio” as well top ten hits “Don’t Lose My Number” and “Take Me Home”.
Collins had cameo appearances in Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991) and the AIDS docudrama And the Band Played On (1993). He starred in Frauds and supplied voices to two animated features: Amblin’s Balto (1995) and Disney’s The Jungle Book 2 (2003). He also appeared in an episode of the series Miami Vice, entitled “Phil the Shill”, in which he plays a cheating con-man.
Many believed that Collins himself was the drummer in the 2007 Gorilla commercial for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate, which featured “In the Air Tonight”. When asked about the Gorilla, Collins jokingly commented that “Not only is he a better drummer than me, he also has more hair.”
In September 2009, it was reported that Collins could no longer play the drums, due to a recent operation to repair a dislocated vertebra in his neck.
In 2012, Collins was estimated to be the second wealthiest drummer in the world, only surpassed by Ringo Starr. Collins was estimated to have a fortune of £120 million in the Sunday Times Rich List of 2018, making him one of the 25 wealthiest people in the British music industry.
Important Dates In The Life Of Phil Collins:
3 Jul 2023
English multi-instrumentalist Mo Foster died from liver and bile duct cancer at the age of 78. As a session musician Foster played on over 350 recordings including artists as varied as: Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Meat Loaf and Ringo Starr.
8 Aug 2022
American singer, songwriter, and record producer Lamont Herbert Dozier died at his home near Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of 81. He co-wrote and produced 14 US Billboard No.1 hits as a member of Holland–Dozier–Holland, songwriting and production team and worked with many artists including Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes, Four Tops, Freda Payne and The Isley Brothers. Dozier had another No.1 hit as a songwriter in the 1980s, joining with Phil Collins to write the song 'Two Hearts' for the movie soundtrack for Buster.
29 Oct 2014
Phil Collins handed over his large collection of Alamo memorabilia to a Texas museum, calling the donation the end of a six-decade "journey". "I'm 64," he said of his fascination with the 1836 battle. "When I was five or six years old, this thing began." Collins' collection included a fringed leather pouch used by Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie's legendary knife.
28 Aug 2012
Celebrity Net Worth named Ringo Starr as the world's richest drummer, with an estimated fortune of $300 million. Phil Collins was ranked second with $250 million, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl was third with $225 million, the Eagles' Don Henley came in forth with $200 million and Metallica's Lars Ulrich was fifth with $175 million. Also making the top ten were U2's Larry Mullen and The Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts.
15 Aug 2012
American musician Bob Birch died from an self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Los Angeles home, aged 56. Birch was badly injured in a car accident in 1995 and since then struggled with constant headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and severe pain throughout his body. He worked with Doobie Brothers, Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie, George Michael, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Phil Collins, Keith Emerson,Barry Manilow and Elton John.
12 Nov 2003
American session drummer Tony Thompson died of cancer aged 48. He was most famous as the drummer with The Power Station along with Robert Palmer, and John Taylor and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran and Chic, whose single 'Le Freak' hit No.1 in the US, and No.7 in the UK. He also played on David Bowie's hit single 'Let's Dance'. Thompson also played drums with Led Zeppelin (along with Phil Collins) at Live Aid in 1985.
19 Apr 2000
Phil Collins won £250,000 in a high court case over royalties with two former members of his band. The judge ruled that they had been overpaid in error but because the two musicians had no other income they would not have to pay it back.
29 Mar 2000
Phil Collins took out a high court action against two former members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Collins claimed his company had overpaid the musicians by £50,000 ($85,000) in royalties on tracks including 'Sussudio' and 'Easy Lover'.
24 Feb 2000
Carlos Santana won eight awards at this years Grammy Awards for his Supernatural album. Before Supernatural, the guitarist had not had a Top 10 album since 1981. Sting won two awards, one for best pop album and another for best male pop vocalist. Sir Elton John won the legend award and Phil Collins the best soundtrack award for Tarzan.
24 Jul 1999
Phil Collins married for the third time. The 48-year-old drummer wed marketing consultant Orianne Cevey in Lausanne, Switzerland. Guests at the wedding included Elton John, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.
6 Mar 1990
...But Seriously the fourth studio album by English drummer and singer-songwriter Phil Collins was at No.1 on the UK album chart. It was the best selling album of 1990 in the UK, eventually selling 2.75 million copies there and 4 million in the US. The lead single ‘Another Day in Paradise’ won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
6 Jan 1990
Phil Collins started a three-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with '...But Seriously', his fourth solo studio album.
23 Dec 1989
Phil Collins started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Another Day In Paradise', his 7th US solo No.1. Taken from his No.1 album ...But Seriously 'Another Day in Paradise' was written to bring attention to the problem of homelessness.
24 Aug 1989
The Who performed Tommy at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles with special guests Steve Winwood, Elton John, Phil Collins, Patti LaBelle and Billy Idol.
13 Feb 1989
This years Brit Awards was hosted by Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood in which just about everything went wrong - lines were fluffed and bands mis-cued onto the stage. Winners included Phil Collins who won British Male Solo Artist, British Female Solo Artist was Annie Lennox, Erasure won Best British Group, Best British Album went to Fairground Attraction for 'First Of A Million Kisses', British Breakthrough Act was Bros, Michael Jackson won International Male, International Female went to Tracey Chapman and U2 won Best International Group. This was the last year the show was broadcast live.
2 Jan 1989
Record Mirror published a chart of last years Top UK singles artists. No.1 was Kylie Minogue, No.2, Bros, No.3, Yazz, No.4 Tiffany, No.5, Phil Collins, No.6, Cliff Richard, No.7, Erasure, No.8, Pet Shop Boys, No.9, Belinda Carlisle, and No.10, Wet Wet Wet.
22 Oct 1988
Phil Collins started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with his version of 'Groovy Kind Of Love', his 6th US No.1. The song was also a hit for The Mindbenders, the group that backed Wayne Fontana in 1965.
10 Sep 1988
Phil Collins was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'A Groovy Kind Of Love.' Taken from his film Buster the song had been a No.2 hit for The Mindbenders in 1966. The song was written by Carole Bayer Sager when she was a 22-year-old schoolteacher, and Toni Wine who was a 17-year-old high school student.
11 Jun 1988
Nelson Mandellas 70th birthday tribute took place at Wembley Stadium, London, featuring Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Dire Straits, Stevie Wonder, Tracy Chapman, George Michael, Eric Clapton, UB40, The Eurythmics and Simple Minds. The event was broadcast live on BBC 2 to 40 different countries with an estimated audience of 1 billion.
13 Jul 1985
At 12.01 Status Quo started the Live Aid extravaganza, held between Wembley Stadium, London and The JFK Stadium, Philadelphia. The cream of the world's biggest rock stars took part in the worldwide event, raising over £40million. TV pictures beamed to over 1.5bn people in 160 countries made it the biggest live broadcast ever known. Artists who appeared included Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, The Who, U2, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, Queen, Tina Turner, The Cars, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bryan Adams, Hall and Oates, Lionel Richie and Led Zeppelin.
6 Jul 1985
Phil Collins went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Sussudio', his third US No.1, it made No.12 in the UK. The track was taken from his third solo studio album, No Jacket Required.
30 Mar 1985
Phil Collins started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'One More Night', his second US No.1, it made No.4 in the UK. The track was taken from his third album, No Jacket Required.
24 Mar 1985
'Easy Lover' by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins was at No.1 on the UK singles chart. Bailey was a former vocalist with Earth, Wind & Fire. Phil Collins produced, drummed and sang on the track. 'Easy Lover' won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Overall Performance in a Video.
15 Dec 1984
Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid entered the UK chart at No.1 and stayed at the top for five weeks. It became the biggest selling UK single of all time with sales over 3 and a half million. Band Aid was masterminded by former Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof, who had been moved by a TV news story of famine in Ethiopia. Geldof had the idea of raising funds with a one-off charity single featuring the cream of the current pop world. Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Culture Club, George Michael, Sting, Bono, Phil Collins, Paul Weller, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo and Bananarama all appeared on the recording.
21 Apr 1984
Phil Collins started a three week run at No.1 in the US singles chart with the theme from 'Against All Odds'. It was Phil's first US No.1, a No. 2 in the UK.
29 Nov 1983
Now That's What I Call Music was launched in the UK with a mission to anthologise the biggest chart hits of the day. The first track on the first album was You Can't Hurry Love by Phil Collins and also contained hits like 'Karma Chameleon', 'Red Red Wine' and 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart'. The series took its name from a 1930s advertising poster for Danish bacon, featuring a pig saying. "Now, That's What I Call Music" as it listened to a chicken singing. The most successful volume to date is 1999's Now That's What I Call Music 44, which sold 2.3 million copies and is the biggest-selling compilation album ever. It opened with Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time.
15 Jan 1983
Phil Collins had his first UK No.1 single with his version of 'You Can't Hurry Love,' a hit for The Supremes in 1966. Collins' version was the first track on the very first Now That's What I Call Music CD.
4 Oct 1980
Winners in the Melody Makers readers poll included, Kate Bush who won Best female singer, Peter Gabriel won Best male singer, Best guitarist went to Ritchie Blackmore, Phil Collins won Best drummer, Genesis won Band of the year, Best single went to Pink Floyd for 'Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)' and Saxon won brightest hope.
24 May 1980
Genesis fans turning up at the Roxy Club box office in Los Angeles to buy tickets for a forthcoming gig were surprised to find the band members Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford selling the tickets themselves.
28 Mar 1976
Genesis began their first North American tour since Peter Gabriel left the band, appearing in Buffalo, New York, with Phil Collins taking over as lead singer.
2 Feb 1976
Genesis released 'A Trick Of The Tail', their seventh studio album and the first to feature drummer Phil Collins as full-time lead vocalist following the departure of original vocalist Peter Gabriel. After auditioning over 400 vocalists, which saw Collins teaching the potential lead singers the songs, the band decided that Collins should be the new vocalist.
16 Aug 1975
Peter Gabriel announced that he was leaving Genesis. The group auditioned more than 400 singers during the next 18 months before deciding that Phil Collins, who had been the drummer for Genesis since 1970, could front the band.
10 Sep 1966
The Supremes started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'You Can't Hurry Love', the group's sixth US No.1. It made No.3 in the UK and gave Phil Collins a UK No.1 in 1982.
31 Mar 1964
Filming for A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles played a 'live television performance' in front of a studio of screaming fans (one of those fans was Phil Collins). The four songs used in the film were ‘Tell Me Why’, ‘I Should Have Known Better’, ‘And I Love Her’, and ‘She Loves You’.