I ♥ Phil Collins. There's no way to segue into that, so that's going to be my opening paragraph. Phil Collins... sigh.
Even when his head is detached and glowing red, there's just something dreamy about the bloke. Something that gives me the allowance to think it's okay to start using British slang like "bloke". When I was a kid I used to dream about marrying him and producing short and stout children together who would have impeccable senses of rhythm. Phil Collins is an example to all of the men who think women only care about looks. Talent goes a whole lot further in our opinion. Piano, drums, guitar, silky smooth singing voice? Sold!
And, not many artists have been successful in so many different genres. He's done:
- Pop Fluff: "You Can't Hurry Love", "Sussudio" (I'm still not sure what that word means),"Don't Lose my Number", "Two Hearts" and "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" who's video inexplicably features a ragamuffin dog running around Phil's rehearsal studio. The dog runs across the craft services table without eating a thing (totally unrealistic), explores the building's catwalk system (ironic), poops on the rhythm guitarist's shoe (unbelievable, since the dog didn't have anything to eat) and stops the bass player's foot from tapping with his paw (which prompts Phil to dust the poor chap's shoe off with a towel.) The dog tries to play several instruments throughout the video as well. (You can see it all here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKrGj73OsAY&ob=av2e) I'm not really sure what the moral of the video is supposed to be since the dog never learns an instrument and nobody adopts him in the end. It's in total opposition to that era's overly-literal pop video scene. Remember all that late 80's/early 90's choreography where every "too", "two" or "to" lyric was accompanied by holding two fingers rhythmically in the air. "Love" was a signal to cross your arms in front of your heart. "You" consisted of pointing at a love interest, camera lens or sexy audience member. Well, this video had none of that. Just a dog running around for no reason with no tags or license. Maybe it was some type of Benji movie promotion that I was just completely unaware of at that age.
- Cheesy Love Songs: "One More Night", "Groovy Kind of Love"
- Songs I Think are Romantic: "Take Me Home", "I Wish it Would Rain Down"
- Socially Conscious: "Another Day in Paradise"
- Remakes on Par With the Original Cyndi Lauper Version: "True Colors"
- The Disney Soundtrack: I love the fact that Phil Collins wrote the entire musical score to the animated version of Tarzan. All I have to do is hear the drums of "Stranger Like Me" or simply one measure of "You'll be in My Heart" and I'm instantly crying, "His parents are dead", "They're taking him away from his gorilla family!", "His gorilla momma's so sweet!" My heart instantly breaks and that's the power of Phil Collins.
- Intense "Rock": "I Don't Care Anymore" and "In the Air Tonight". I don't know why, but there was an urban legend circulating during my teen years about the story behind "In the Air Tonight". In it, Phil Collins literally witnesses somebody drowning and simultaneously witnesses somebody not helping the victim. (No mention of why he didn't step in himself. Probably because he was busily penning these lyrics as the whole thing unfolded.) As the story goes, years later he tracks down the man who didn't help. (How? He must have also lifted the man's identification while neither was helping the drowning victim.) He gives the scoundrel front row tickets to one of his shows and as he's scornfully singing, "I was there and I saw what you did..." the spotlight shines on the man, he puts two and two together and is righteously shamed. He goes home that night and kills himself. The highlight of these years, for me, was calling into a radio station to request the song and getting the DJ to recount the myth on air. (I still have my "performance" recorded somewhere on cassette tape. My end of the bit, besides requesting the song, was after each bullet point of the story the DJ told, I would agree with it by saying "Uh huh!" "Uh huh!" like a gum-smacking Valley girl. I wasn't told to do that... it's just what came out. I wasn't built for live radio!) Well, as much as I did my part to spread the legend to the greater Detroit area, Mr. Collins has confirmed that the tale is obviously bogus. But, a shadow of doubt still lingers when he says that the song is really about, "I don't know what the song is about... divorce... the only thing I can say about it is that's it's definitely in anger." Not clearing things up enough and thus spawning the lesser-known urban legend #2, that he wrote it after walking in on somebody in bed with his wife. Also causing one to question his instincts, "I'm not going to punch you. I'm not going to shoot her. I'm going to kindly excuse myself to the basement to write a song about this with a really killer drum track!" Well, whatever the inspiration, how much fun is it decades later to see Mike Tyson enjoy the tune so much? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TbnXqhHJkk) Mr. Phil Collins, ladies and gentlemen. Standing the test of time.
I can't put my finger on the Phil Collins crush. It must be a culmination of all of the above. I have a similarly cheesy affection for Elton John music. Elton John love, though, obviously screeches to a halt long before the baby fantasy stage. There's just no way that's even a possibility. But with Phil, ladies, just remember... he seems to divorce like clockwork!