Phil Collins (Philip David Charles Collins LVO, born 30 January 1951 in Chiswick, London) is an English singer-songwriter, drummer, keyboardist and actor best known as a drummer and vocalist for the English progressive rock group Genesis and as well as being a Grammy and Academy Award-winning solo artist.
Collins sang the lead vocals on eight American chart-toppers between 1984 and 1989, seven of those as a solo artist and one with Genesis. His singles, often dealing with lost love, have ranged from the atmospheric "In the Air Tonight" to the dance pop of "Sussudio" to the political statements of his most successful song "Another Day in Paradise". His latest (and possibly his last) album, the cover album 'Going Back' that came out in 2010, particularly shows the massive influence of 60s American soul music on Collins' career. His international popularity transformed Genesis from a cult favourite rock group to a regular on the pop charts and an early MTV mainstay. According to britishhitsongwriters.com, he is the forty-eighth most successful songwriter in U.K. singles chart history based on weeks that his compositions have spent on the chart.
Collins' professional career began as a drummer, starting first with the obscure space rock group Flaming Youth. Then, working with the avant-garde band Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for frontman Peter Gabriel and provided drumming that was a key part of their sound. Collins sung lead on only two songs: "For Absent Friends" from 1971's 'Nursery Cryme' album and "More Fool Me" from 'Selling England by the Pound', which was released in 1973. Upon Gabriel's departure in 1975, Collins became the group's lead singer after much soul-searching in the band's line-up. While keeping a similar art rock and progressive music based sound for several years, the band evolved into more of a melodic pop rock direction. As the decade closed, Genesis' first international hit, "Follow You, Follow Me", demonstrated a drastic change from the band's early years.
His concurrent solo career, heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both Collins and Genesis commercial success. His songwriting has often drawn from American rnb artists of the 60s, 70s, and 80s while his singing has taken inspiration from his predecessor in Genesis, Peter Gabriel. According to Atlantic Records, Collins' total worldwide sales as a solo artist, as of 2002, were 150 million.
Collins announced in March 2011 that he is retiring from the music business. "I am stopping so I can be a full time father to my two young sons on a daily basis," he wrote on his website. His statement refers to his two sons, Nicholas and Matthew, with his third wife Orianne Cevey, whom he divorced in 2008.