Phil Collins re-emerges with memoir, new singles compilation, planned tour

Genesis drummer-turned-vocalist Phil Collins, 65, was almost 30 when his first solo single, ‘In the Air Tonight,’ became a No. 2 hit in his native U.K. (and Top 20 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100). He went on to become one of only three artists to sell more than 100 million albums as a member of a group, and another 100 million records as a solo artist. Between 1984 and 1990, Collins had a string of 13 straight Top 10 hits on the Hot 100 including the No. 1 smashes, ‘Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),’ ‘One More Night,’ ‘Sussudio,’ ‘Separate Lives,’ and ‘Another Day In Paradise.’

The latest in a series of Collins’ reissues and compilations via Rhino Records is titled, The Singles. The set contains all 45 of the artist’s hit singles from around the world, presented in chronological order as a 3-disc deluxe edition and 2-disc edition that’s also available as a 4-LP set. In addition to the hit singles that appear on Collins’ eight studio albums, the compilation includes songs such as ‘Easy Lover,’ ‘Groovy Kind Of Love,’ ‘Two Hearts,’ and other cuts that aren’t found on any of the singer-songwriter’s solo albums.

The Singles charts more than 30 years of Collins’ solo career from his 1981 ‘In The Air Tonight’ debut to the title track from his most recent studio album, 2010’s Going Back. In addition to the hit radio classics, other catalog highlights include the Grammy-nominated ‘I Don’t Care Anymore,’ the Best Original Song Oscar winner ‘You’ll Be In My Heart,’ from the Disney film “Tarzan,” and several songs that have become live favorites such as ‘Don’t Lose My Number’ and ‘Something Happened On The Way To Heaven.’

The Singles coincides with the release of Collins’ long-awaited autobiography, “Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography.” The new book from Penguin Random House is described as “the rollercoaster journey” from his beginnings as a child actor to his domination of the charts both as a solo artist and part of Genesis. “There’s such a lot of untruths and misconceptions about who I am, what I am, what I’ve done and why I’ve done it,” says Collins during an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley.”

Collins recently stated he’s no longer “officially retired.” The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist is looking ahead to 2017 by planning a nine-date European tour that kicks off in June. He tells Rolling Stone a five-night stand at London's Royal Albert Hall are among the scheduled shows that he’d like to expand. “I would like to play some shows in South America,” says Collins, who hopes to get to the U.S. as well.

The backing band for the tour includes musicians who’ve worked with Collins for decades. The newest addition to the lineup is Collins’ 15-year-old son, Nicholas, who is the band’s drummer. Collins admits playing the drums has been “nearly impossible” for nearly a decade because of nerve damage he suffered on the 2007 Genesis reunion tour. Surgeries on his back and feet have furthered weakened him, but he hopes tp one day regain some of his “chops.”

Watch Phil Collins in the official music video for ‘In the Air Tonight,’ the multi-platinum, award-winning artist’s debut solo release.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Philip David Charles “Phil” Collins, LVO, was born January 30, 1951, in the West London district of Chiswick. He started out as a child actor/singer who appeared as the Artful Dodger in the 1964 London production of “Oliver!.” He also has a cameo in the Beatles’ “A Hard Day's Night” as well as other films.

* Collins got his first break in music as a teenager, becoming the drummer in the British art rock band Genesis. He also maintained a separate jazz career with the band Brand X. Genesis was originally fronted by Peter Gabriel until the singer abruptly left in 1974.

* Genesis auditioned hundreds of singers before deciding to give Collins a chance. The result was a gradual simplifying of Genesis' sound and an increasing focus on Collins' voice. His debut solo album, Face Value, was released in 1981 and became bigger hit than any of the Genesis albums.

* A string of platinum and multi-platinum albums marked the ‘80s and early ‘90s’ as Collins established himself as one of the top pop and adult contemporary recording artists of the last two decades. In 1995, he announced that he was leaving Genesis and Dance Into the Light the following year.

* A subsequent tour was a huge success, leading up to the release of a greatest hits collection and Collins’ first big-band record, Hot Night in Paris. His last studio album to date, 2010’s Going Back, is a tribute to Motown and the songs that influenced him.

* Collins took some time off for the next few years to deal with some health issues. He returned in 2014 to play at his sons' school and to write songs with Adele. He also went to work on reissuing his solo albums and singles. He formally returned to the stage in March 2016, performing at the Little Dreams Foundation Benefit Gala in Miami.

* The winner of eight Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and Golden Globe also collects treasures in the form of artifacts from The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. The singer is fascinated by the old fort’s history and owns an impressive collection of artifacts.

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