Phil Collins Announces His Retirement From Music Industry

"I see the MTV music Awards and think, 'I cannot be in the same business, I do not belong here'" says Chiswick born drummer

Related Links

Livia's Green Carpet Challenge - The Oscars Dress

Colin Firth Jokes His Career Has 'Just Peaked'

The King's Speech Reigns Supreme At BAFTAs

Run Of Success Continues For Colin Firth

Best Actor Oscar Nomination For Colin Firth

The Other Man Behind The King's Speech

A Hollywood Star and A Golden Globe - What A Week For Colin Firth


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Hearing problems, a dislocated vertebra and nerve damage in his hands wasn't enough to dent Phil Collins' phenomenal success, but watching MTV Awards was enough to make the Chiswick born musician he no longer belonged in the industry.

The seven-time Grammy winner expressed his disillusionment with the future of the music industry. "I do not belong to this world and I think no one will miss me," he said. "I see the MTV music Awards and think, 'I cannot be in the same business, I do not belong here.'"

Born Philip David Charles Collins to insurance salesman father Greville and talent agent mother, June Collins. The Collins’ were a gifted family, with elder brother Clive going on to become a professional cartoonist, and sister Carole competing as an ice-skater.

Phil started playing the drums at age five, when he received a toy drum kit as a gift and his interest in music grew during his school years. He got his first proper drum kit at age 12 and took every available opportunity to play, often drumming to songs on records or the radio. He was quite precocious as a child and strove for perfection, entering talent contents, acting and doing some modelling, he also loved playing football.

Collins attended Chiswick Grammar School (now Chiswick Community School) and at age 13 won the role of the Artful Dodger in the West End production of “Oliver!” (1964). His headmaster said he had to leave the school if he was going to take the role and his mother said the decision was his to make. Collins promptly left Chiswick Grammar, accepted the Artful Dodger role and joined the Barbara Speake Stage School.

The school gave him his first band experience when he joined fellow students in The Real Thing. He then joined Freehold and wrote his first song, “Lying Crying Dying“. Collins was 18 when he joined an obscure rock group, Hickory, with whom he recorded a concept album, “Ark II” (1969), inspired by the moon landing. The album premiered at the London Planetarium to a favourable response, they changed the band name to Flaming Youth and were backed by Phonogram. Shortly after that, the group disbanded, due not only to musical differences but also to lack of commercial success.

While other major artists trudge painfully through a handful of over promoted releases each decade; this drummer/actor/singer/producer has been constantly active in all manner of contradictory and unlikely projects. His history with Genesis is well documented from their art-house beginnings to multi-platinum status as the band grew up, lost Steve Hackett and then Peter Gabriel and ended up making videos with tongues firmly in their cheeks. Collins launched his solo career twenty nine years ago with “Face Value” (‘81), followed by “Hello, I Must Be Going” (’82), “No Jacket Required” (’85), “…But Seriously” (’89), “Both Sides” (’93), “Dance Into The Light” (’96) and “Testify” (‘02) picking up numerous awards including 7 Grammy’s, 2 Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe for “Two Hearts”. After leaving Genesis in 1996 he released a “Hits” album in 1998. Between Phil’s solo and Genesis recordings and excluding his other activities, Phil has sold over 200 million records.

His love of jazz inspired an early side-project when he co-founded the jazz-fusion band “Brand X” in 1975, an association which lasted seven years and produced several albums. In the last few years he has formed his own “Big Band”, with the first tour featuring Tony Bennett and Qunicy Jones and the second with Oleta Adams and Gerald Albright as guests. A live CD “A Hot Night In Paris” was released in 1999.

His acting CV reveals that he first trod the boards at 14 when he took the role of the Artful Dodger in a West End production of “Oliver”. He also made childhood cameos in the Beatles “A Hard Days Night” (‘64) and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (’69). Since then he’s starred with Julie Walters in “Buster” (’88), took the lead role as the arch-villain in “Frauds” (’92), made a brief appearance in Spielberg’s “Hook” (’92) and played the Greek owner of a chain of gay bath houses in “And The Band Played On” (’92). In addition to this Phil “The Spiv” turned up in a 1985 episode of Miami Vice and four years later he took the part of Uncle Ernie in The Who’s rock opera “Tommy”.

As a studio producer, among those he’s worked with are Adam Ant, Earth, Wind and Fire’s Phil Bailey, John Martyn and Eric Clapton. Notably, Phil was Robert Plant’s drummer of choice for his first two solo albums, and Phil played with the Led Zeppelin front man on his first solo tour. He has also enjoyed many significant triumphs on stage, including Live Aid in 1985 when he flew from Wembley to Philadelphia to play solo sets in both places, plus appearing on drums for Eric Clapton and a reformed Led Zeppelin.

He has written songs for the Disney Feature’s “Tarzan” and “Brother Bear”. “You’ll Be In My Heart” from “Tarzan” won a Golden Globe Award for “Best Song Written For A Film”. This song, in addition to the soundtrack was also nominated in the Grammys and won for “Best Original Song In A Movie”. Phil also won an Oscar for the same song in March 2000.

Following the success of the “Tarzan” movie, Phil went onto write several additional songs and incidental music for the Broadway musical production of “Tarzan” in which he was intimately involved in the production of. And which ran successfully on Broadway for some time with an additional record breaking run in Holland and Germany, where it continues to be successful and is into its third year.

In November 2006, Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford announced that Genesis would tour in 2007. Embarking on a massive sold-out tour of Europe and North America, the finale of the European tour was a free-concert attended by over 500,000 people at the Circo Massimo in Rome Italy. This concert was filmed for release on DVD and the resulting ‘When In Rome’ DVD became one of the biggest selling music DVD’s of 2008.

In March 2010, Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. In June 2010 Phil was awarded the prestigious Johnny Mercer award and joined an elite company of writers including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Paul Simon.

Phil Collins released his most recent album, ‘Going Back’, in September 2010. The project, his first new studio album in eight years, is a personal labour of love that finds him recreating the soul gems that played such an influential role in his musical life.

“It shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone that I've finally made an album of my favourite songs,” explains Collins. “These songs – along with a couple of Dusty Springfield tracks, a Phil Spector/Ronettes tune, and one by the Impressions – make up the tapestry, the backdrop, of my teenage years. I remember it as if it was yesterday, going to the Marquee Club in London's Soho and watching The Who, The Action, and many others, playing these songs. In turn I'd go out the next day to buy the original versions.”

‘Going Back’ immediately became a global hit, reaching #1 in the UK and #1 on the pan-European album chart. Still selling strongly domestically where it remains in the Top 5, ‘Going Back’ also hit the Top 10 in over twenty other territories including Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Spain and Ireland.

March 7, 2011