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Back to front 2014 live
The Musical Box live 2014



THE LIFE OF PHIL

A timeline of the most important musical and private events
(without any claim to completeness)


1951: June Collins, manager of a wine store, and Greville Collins, clerk to an insurance company, living in Hounslow, have their third child Philip David Charles Collins on January 30, 1951, at five minutes past midnight.

1952: The Collins family moves to Sheen.

1954: The Collins family moves back to Hounslow.

1956: Li’l Phil, aged 5, is presented with his first mini drum kit.

1957: Grown-sumwhat Phil plays Humpty Dumpty in the Christmas play Cinderella. The Collins family (with Phil) often performs at the Richmond Yachting Club. Phil also drums as the rhythm group to an organ player.

1958: Grown-summat-more Phil wins first place at a talent show at a holiday camp.

1961: Phil’s mother begins to organize performances and hirings for the Barbara Speake Stage School as a booking agent. Phil is booked as a pullover model for fashion or knitting-pattern magazines.

1962: Mistakenly believing it to be his own, Phil swaps his brother Clive’s model train set for the drum kit of another boy in the neighbourhood. That same year he passes the exams for secondary education and is accepted at Chiswick County Grammar School.

1963: Phil is given a new drum kit as a birthday present. An aunt of his dad’s teaches him some basic terms of playing the piano and to read music. On August 08, 1963, a gang headed by Ronald “Buster” Edwards pulls off the legendary train robbery, an event which was to gain special significance for Phil in 1988. Phil also buys his first rock records: The Beatles’ Please Please Me and the first Rolling Stones record.

1964: On March 31, he is one of 350 extras in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night. He earns 15 pounds a week for playing the Artful Dodger in the Musical Oliver. He will play this role for seven months at the New Theatre in Martin’s Lane until his voice breaks (the role includes the song You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two). He then enrols at the Barbara Speake Stage School, becoming an exemplary student there – and meeting Andrea Bertorelli and Lavinia Lang who between them will keep his heart occupied for many years to come. In these years he uses his image as the ideal date, and switches dating them singly or simultaneously…

1965: Phil enjoys big band music by Eric Delaney and Ray McVay. He takes up drumming tuition. The BBC employs him as an off-speaker for the Junior Points Of View programme. Phil briefly returns to Oliver playing the role of Noah Claypole. Somewhere around 1965 a band called The Real Thing is founded. Phil drums while Andrea and Lavinia provide backing vocals. Set lists include Tamla Motown songs and soul classics.

1966: Phil appears on British TV in Stubby Kaye’s Silver Star Show. He also becomes a regular, helper and club member in Soho’s legendary Marquee Club at 90 Wardour Street. At Ronnie Scott’s club, he witnesses an impressive concert by drummer Buddy Rich. He also worships The Who’s Keith Moon, Yes with Bill Bruford and Jon Anderson, a band called The Action – and does not care much about school anymore. Phil meets Ronnie Caryl who plays with The Real Thing for one song at one gig.

1967: Phil and Ronnie are both extras for the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They skip school and becomes really good friends.

1968: Ronnie moves in at Phil’s. They play music and records on end. Phil plays a major role in the children t.v. production Calamity The Cow, most of which will be cut out. Right before the final exams at acting school he throws it all away for the music. He has a number of unsuccessful band auditions before he is accepted at the Cliff Charles Blues Band for a while. After that, it’s bands like The Charge, The Freehold, Zox, The Radar Boys and a job for one John Walker. Phil and Ronnie play in the backing band of the soulful Gladiators. It is called The Hickory and will become the basis for Flaming Youth after they split up.

1969: Phil occasionally drums and sing with a band called Flaming Youth. With members Phil Collins, Ronnie Caryl, Brian Chatton and Gordon Smith, they record an album called Ark 2 featuring music by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley. When it is released in autumn 1969, the Melody Maker crowns it “pop album of the month”. Despite this praise and an ambitious première with an orchestra at London’s Lyceum success does not turn up. Flaming Youth split up soon after. Lavinia Lang splits up with Phil who turns all his attention to Andrea Bertorelli.

1970: An ad is placed in the Melody Maker: “Wanted: Drummer sensitive to acoustic music.” It is Genesis who placed the ad and invite Phil to audition at the home of Gabriel’s parents in Chobham, Surrey. Phil gets the job and joins Genesis in August 1970. His first gig with the band is on August 30, 1970, at the Marquee Club. His colleagues soon think highly of him as of a musician with a feeling for the overall sound. Looking back, though, Peter Gabriel also stated: “I had the feeling that Genesis was not his natural way of musical expression. […] He helped us to loosen up.”

1971: Genesis release their first album with Phil, Nursery Cryme. Phil sings Hackett’s composition For Absent Friends. People hardly notice because Phil’s voice is surprisingly similar to Peter Gabriel’s.
1972: Foxtrot is released in October. Phil’s ex-girlfriend Andrea has a relationship with a Canadian in her hometown of Vancouver. On August 08, 1972, she gives birth to Joely. In the meantime Phil is not too happy with Peter Gabriel’s costume theatrics at Genesis gigs: “I always found it frustrating that people weren’t listening to the music, but watching it.” Phil’s dad dies on December 24, 1972.

1973: Genesis Live and Selling England By The Pound are released in August and October, respectively. Phil sings More Fool Me, a song he has written with Mike Rutherford.

1974: In January 1974 Phil meets his old love Andrea again at a Canadian gig of Genesis North American tour. Old love becomes new love. After the spring tour Andrea, Phil and little Joely move to Epsom, Surrey. Former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips records his Silver Song and Only Your Love with Phil and Mike Rutherford. The songs are to be released as a Collins solo single, but the project is shelved. In November, the lamb lies down on Broadway...

1975: Peter Gabriel announces that he leaves Genesis in May. Phil sings a terrific Star Of Sirius on Steve Hackett’s solo album Voyage Of The Acolyte. Phil and Andrea get married on September 25, 1975, at St Joseph’s church in Epsom Surrey. Ronnie Caryl is Phil’s best man. Brand X play their first gig with Phil as a drummer at the London School Of Economics in December.
Phil’s then wife Andrea had this to say about Phil’s restless musical energy which he spent on Genesis, Brand X, countless guest appearances and (later) producer’s jobs: “Something was driving Phil on and on. Even when we met at acting school when he was 13, he was totally focused on his goal. And he wanted to achieve them no matter what.”

1976: After a long unsuccessful search for a successor for Gabriel, Phil takes up vocal duties with Genesis. The album A Trick Of The Tail is released in February 1976. It convinces all the critics. The record features the sophisticated Robbery, Assault And Battery, written by Tony Banks and Phil. Phil and his pregnant wife Andrea move to Ealing in spring. London, Ontario, plays host to Genesis’ first show with Phil Collins as a singer on March 31, 1976. At the drums there is Bill Bruford of Yes, King Crimson and Brand X. In July 1976 the first Brand X album Unorthodox Behaviour comes out. Simon Collins is born on September 14, 1976, at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, Hammersmith. Late in December the second Genesis album of the year is released. Wind & Wuthering contains a Collins/Hackett song, Blood On The Rooftops and a Banks/Collins instrumental called Wot Gorilla?. Phil and Andrea have a huge argument on New Year’s Eve. It is the beginning of a bitter ending ...

1977: Chester Thompson plays the drums with Genesis for the first time at a live gig at the Rainbow, London, on January 01, 1977. Brand X release the studio album Moroccan Roll in April. For the first time, there is a piece with vocals, Sun In The Night, and a number written by Collins, Why Should I Lend You Mine… . The instrumental live LP Livestock follows in November. Phil Collins also sings two songs on Anthony Phillips’ The Geese And The Ghost. One of them is the delicious Which Way The Wind Blows. Guitarist Steve Hackett leaves Genesis in autumn, in the middle of mixing the live classic album Seconds Out. It is released in October.

1978: In April, Genesis release And Then There Were Three on which the Banks/Collins number Scenes From A Night’s Dream can be found. Early in summer, Phil and Andrea move into the newly-bought “Old Croft” in Shalford, Surrey, in an attempt to save their marriage. While Phil goes on tour with Genesis, lonely Andrea has an affair ...

1979: Andrea flees to her mother’s place in Vancouver with Joely (who had long before been adopted by Phil) and Simon. The final split takes place in April 1979. Phil is busy recording for Steve Bishop’s album Red Cab To Manhattan (Eric Clapton is also involved). He also plays a couple of gigs with Peter Gabriel and John Martyn. In September, Brand X release Product with the Collins piece …And So To F… Genesis meet at Phil’s home in the country to work on the next album. There is room enough for all...

1980: Phil’s marriage is a thing of the past. In March, Genesis release Duke (which includes Collins’ Please Don’t Ask and Misunderstanding) and go on tour. At a concert in Los Angeles on May 27, 1980, Phil meets his later wife Jill Tavelman at the Rainbow Bar And Grill. Brand X are slowly reaching the end of their string with Do They Hurt? in April. Former Genesis buddy Peter Gabriel hires Phil for his third solo album which marks the experimental birth of the drum sound that is to become Phil’s trademark in the next years. John Martyn has Phil drum on his album Grace And Anger.

1981: February witnesses one if not the most important milestone in Phil’s musical career. He comes to (musical) terms with the pain of his marriage breaking apart in his first solo album Face Value. The record writes music history, particularly in the brute drum break of In The Air Tonight. Divorce, however, cannot be averted…
Phil’s second collaboration with John Martyn does not only have Phil on the drum stool but also very audibly in the producer’s chair. The result is called Glorious Fool. Further important events of the year are Phil’s first solo appearance at the Secret Policeman’s Other Ball at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, on September 11, 1981, where he is accompanied by Daryl Stuermer (guitar, banjo) for In The Air Tonight and The Roof Is Leaking. The year also marks a change of direction in the music of Genesis. With Abacab, which was recorded completely at their brand new Surrey studio The Farm, messieurs Banks, Collins and Rutherford tread new waves that fans of long standing have trouble following. Phil contributes Man On The Corner. Then there is a minute reunion when Phil drums on the album Playing For Time of his former Flaming Youth buddy Brian Chatton.

1982: Brand X close a chapter in their history in September. Without meeting again, they release a kind of doggy-bag sampler called Is There Anything About?. The more important thing for Phil may well be his productive work with ex-ABBA singer Frida. Her solo LP Something’s Going On sounds like a Collins album with a different vocalist.
In June, Genesis release Three Sides Live, while Phil’s second solo album Hello I Must Be Going comes out in November. It takes his title from a Charlotte Chandler biography about Jill’s godfather (!) Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers. The Supremes classic You Can’t Hurry Love becomes a huge hit (and a favourite video) in Phil’s version. Mention must also be made of the one-off Genesis reunion concert at Milton Keynes on October 02, 1982 to help Peter Gabriel solve the financial problems resulting from his engagement for WOMAD.

1983: Phil and Jill are engaged. He drums on Robert Plant’s The Principle Of Moments, sends shiver up and down listeners’ spines in October with his vocals for Mama, the opening song on Genesis’ eponymous album. Phil also reworks the Face Value relic How Can You Sit There into the title song of the movie Against All Odds and starts working for the British welfare organization Prince’s Trust.

1984: Against All Odds climbs to the number one position in the U.S. charts. Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire decides to have Phil produce his album Chinese Wall. It contains the hit Easy Lover that was written jointly by Bailey, Collins and bass guitarist Nathan East. Phil also produces Adam Ant’s LP Strip. The Guildford Town Hall and the church in Shalford witness the beginning of Phil’s second marriage on August 04, 1984. The year ends with Phil drumming on the Band Aid question Do They Know It’s Christmas?

1985: Though he is not wearing anything formal, Phil releases his third solo album in April. No Jacket Required lands him a string of hits: Sussudio, One More Night, Take Me Home and Don’t Lose My Number climb high in the charts. Less successful is his collaboration with Eric Clapton, whose album Behind The Sun contains many overlooked gems. A young lady by the name of Marylin Martin sings the Stephen Bishop ballad Separate Lives with Phil. The song is used for the movie White Nights. On July 13, 1985, the Live Aid concert, organized by Bob Geldof, takes place in London and Philadelphia. Phil performs solo and with Sting and Branford Marsalis in England, boards the Concorde and also performs in the States with Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin. In between Phil obviously finds enough time to act the role of Phil Mayhew (!) in the Miami Vice episode Phil The Shill which is first broadcast in the U.S. on December 13, 1985.

1986: … is a Genesis year, marked by the sensational success of their album Invisible Touch (June 1986). Phil also produces Howard Jones’ No One Is To Blame and Eric Clapton’s August.

1987: … is another Genesis year filled with an extensive Invisible Touch Tour

1988: Atlantic Records celebrate their 40th anniversary in the Madison Square Guarden. Phil performs solo, with Genesis and with the Blues Brother’s Band. The first full-scale feature film starring Phil Collins in the leading role premières on September 15, 1988: Buster is a film for which Phil writes a considerable amount of music. The German version opens on November 03, 1988, but loses much of the film’s charme through the dubbing.

1989: Little Lily Collins and a fourth solo album …But Seriously make their entrance into this world on March 18, 1989 and in November, respectively. The song Another Day In Paradise marks the beginning of Phil’s work for the National Coalition For The Homeless. Phil also appears on Stephen Bishop’s album Bowling In Paris and on stage as the Uncle Sam for performances of The Who’s rock opera Tommy in London and Los Angeles.

1990: The live CD Serious Hits… Live! comes out on November 05, 1990. Fans yearn for a recording of a complete live concert; their thirst is quenched somewhat by a live video of the complete gig in Berlin.

1991: For the last time, Phil returns to the studio with Genesis. They record We Can’t Dance which is released on November 11. Phil produces the song The Quiet’s Too Loud for Lamont Dozier’s album Inside Seduction; it is a joint work. He has a cameo appearance as Police Inspector Good in Steven Spielberg’s Peter Pan story, Hook, starring Robin Williams. Filming of the movie Frauds begins.

1992: Phil’s marriage to Jill is in trouble. At a Genesis concert in Los Angeles on June 18, 1992, Phil meets his former girlfriend Lavinia Lang again after twenty years. It is the beginning of a three month affair. In the end, Lavinia returns to her husband. Jill and Phil try to make up – in vain. On November 16, 1992, Genesis release the live CD The Way We Walk vol.1: The Shorts.

1993: Phil works hard at his career as an actor. He plays a small role as a homosexual sauna manager in And The Band Played On. He also plays the Jackson Dover, an author of crime novels, in the bizarre short film Calliope. He finally has a leading role in the above-mentioned Frauds. This Australian film receives less attention from the audience than Buster. It turns into a flop, which does not, however, say anything about its quality. After a benefit concert as The Ruins Band with Genesis and sundry rock stars from Pink Floyd to Eric Clapton on September 18, 1993 at Cowdray Ruins in southern England Phil has the feeling that it is time to quite Genesis. At that point, he is in the middle of recordings for his intimate solo album Both Sides. Genesis release The Way We Walk vol.2: The Longs on January 18, while Both Sides comes out as Phil’s fifth studio album on November 08, 1993. He recorded it all alone, which is the trademark and occasional weakness of the effort.
Phil produces David Crosby’s album Thousand Roads, which features the Collins/Crosby duet Hero.

1994: Phil and Jill separate. On April 24, 1994, Phil meets Orianne Cevey. She has joined the Both Sides entourage as a translator. During his Both Sides Tour, which started April 1, Phil plays an Unplugged concert for MTV on August 30, 1994. It is not broadcast until much later and, unfortunately, much of it was cut out.

1995: Phil takes the Both Sides Tour to South America, Asia, South Africa and Australia, now entitled Far Sides Tour. Phil has a speaking role in the cartoon film Balto. He moves to Switzerland with Orianne.

1996: Phil plays a benefit concert for cancer research in Geneva on January 27. On March 28, 1996, Phil leaves Genesis – without a grudge, without much fuss and in all friendship. In July, first concerts of Phil Collins’ Big Band take place with musicians of the WDR [a state-wide public TV station in Germany; translator’s note]. They also performs music by Genesis and Phil himself. Phil’s new state of life shines through in his sixth solo album Dance Into The Light.

1997: Phil begins work on the soundtrack for Disney’s Tarzan, drums a third time for John Martyn and participates together with Paul McCartney, Sting, Mark Knopfler and many others in the Music For Montserrat benefit.

1998: On June 22, Genesis delight their fans with the long-awaited 4CD box Archive. It contains (partially overdubbed) live, studio and demo recordings from 1967 to 1975. The whole gang had met once more (including Collins’ predecessor’s predecessor John Silver) for a “press conference reunion” on May 11. Phil Collins’ sampler …Hits comes out in October. Despite a cover of True Colours it is less impressive.

1999: Tarzan premières in Las Vegas on March 11, though it hits cinemas in the U.S. only on July 18. Two new Collins CDs are released simultaneously in May. One is the Phil Collins Big Band album A Hot Night In Paris, which, as Serious Hits… Live! provides only parts of the whole set – fans who had hoped for Wot Gorilla?, The West Side or Hand In Hand were frustrated. The other one is Phil’s ambitious Tarzan soundtrack. German, Spanish, Italian and French (!) versions are released in 1999 and 2000. You’ll Be In My Heart turns out to be another smash-hit. On July 24, Phil weds Orianne in Lausanne; celebrations include a Genesis reunion with “live Mechanic” Jamie Moses playing the guitar. The Genesis sampler Turn It On Again – The Hits is released on October 25. It features a new recording of the Lamb classic The Carpet Crawlers which was made while the first archive box was being prepared. Another première takes the shape of Simon Collins’ first CD All Of Who You Are (released on September 20). Phil “Pops” Collins supports his son singing backing vocals on Pride.

2000: Phil takes some time off for acting. When The Pipers Play, a film about the development of the bagpipe, premières on February 02. In autumn there is a “little reunion” at an event to honour Tony Smith. Genesis, consisting of Phil, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Daryl Stuermer, play a brief set. Peter Gabriel is in the audience. He joins them on stage for a photo shooting afterwards. The second Genesis Archive box set is released in 2000. Reunion rumours appear and fade away.

2001: During the recordings for his new album Phil suffers an aural attack. On one ear, he does not regain his hearing completely. Phil announces that he will perform only sporadically. On April 21 Phil’s wife gives birth to another son, Nicholas.

2002: In summer, Phil drums for almost all musical guests (amongst them: Annie Lennox, Ozzy Osbourne and Queen) at the Queen Jubilee concert in the garden of Buckingham Palace. In autumn, he releases his new album Testify. Its quality and sales figures are not up to previous releases. Phil plays only two shows in London and Hamburg to promote the album.

2003: Phil’s second Disney soundtrack Brother Bear is released in a number of languages, even in Japanese. Phil also wrote the background music for the film. The BBC documentary A Life Less Ordinary is released on DVD. Critics and fans are enthusiastic. In autumn, Phil announces that he is going to tour one final time..

2004: The year is filled with his First Final Farewell Tour. Phil repeatedly confirms that this will be his last tour. It does not end with tours in Europe and the United States. A tour DVD called Finally… The First Farewell Tour appears, as does another “best of” compilation called Love Songs. In summer, Phil does his first interview with the German Genesis Fanclub it. His son Mathew Thomas is born on December 01.

2005: Phil is working on the musical version of Walt Disney’s Tarzan. In the meantime, a second Tarzan film has come out. It features two new Collins songs, but no new soundtrack. Phil joins the cover band The Musical Box in Geneva for one of the encore songs, The Musical Box. In autumn, Phil returns to Germany for two more concerts. The third leg of his Farewell Tour takes him to Eastern Europe, the Near East and some places in Germany and the UK. The farewell continues...

2006: Phil announces that he and his third wife Orianne have separated. The formal divorce will be completed in August 2008. Disney's Tarzan musical premieres at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway. A cast album is released on which Phil Collins sings Everything That I Am. Though he has also written the other songs they are performed by the musical cast. Phil appears on US TV and at an award ceremony in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to promote the Tarzan musical. After secret rehearsals in New York and an increasing amount of rumours Genesis announce at a press conference in London in November that the band are going to play the Turn It On Again tour in 2007 with Phil as the singer. There are no new songs, though. 

2007: The second Tarzan musical after the Broadway version begins its run in Scheveningen, The Netherlands. Due to lack of success is it dropped from Broadway after slightly more than a year. Phil plays lots of European stadiums with Genesis and plays no less than nine gigs in Germany. The tour starts in Helsinki, Finland. The second show in Düsseldorf, Germany, is broadcast live to British cinemas. The climax of the tour is the final show of the European leg when Genesis play before an audience of an estimated 500,000 people in Circo Massimo in Rome, Italy. The show is recorded for Italian TV and also filmed for the tour DVD. The reunion tour continues in autumn when Genesis play shows in Canada and the United States, and ends at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in October. At the merchandising stands fans can also buy a DVD called The Long Goodnight, a documentary about the 2005 First Final Farewell tour. 2007 also sees the releases of the first two Genesis boxsets with 5.1 remixes of all studio albums on SACD-hybrid / DVD double disc sets. The first box to appear covers the era from 1976-1982, and the second box for 1983-1998 comes out in autumn.

2008: The last Genesis studio album boxset comes out covering their releases from 1970-1975. Disney's Tarzan musical opens at Kristianstad, Sweden. German TV station Sat.1 runs a casting show called "Ich Tarzan, du Jane" ["Me Tarzan, you Jane"] to cast the principal actors for the German musical version. Highlight is Phil Collins' appearance at the finale; he does not sing, though, but sits in the jury. The Odeon cinema in London-Kensington premieres the Genesis tour documentary Come Rain Or Shine in May; the event is broadcast simultaneously into other European cinemas. Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford are present in Kensington and answer fans' questions after the show. The tour DVD When In Rome 2007 with the Circo Massimo gig comes out soon after. The German version of the Tarzan musical premieres in Neue Flora, Hamburg, in late October. Phil Collins plays his first solo concert since 2005, though it is a private show for the parents of the pupils and students of Geneva International School Phil's son Nicholas attends.

2009: Phil Collins closes his official website. Daryl Stuermer mentions in an interview that Phil is working on an album of cover songs. A boxset with 5.1 mixes of the Genesis live albums will be released in autumn, and a DVD box with all the concert films will come out after that. Another news left Collins' fans shocked: He is no longer able to play drums properly. Nevertheless, fans also learned that Collins began work on an album of Motown coverversions.

2010: Phil continues his work on the new Motown album. This includes members of the legendary Funk Brothers. Phil records 30 songs with them and in the summer, the promotion campaign for Going Back is launched. A video promotes his comeback with the line "I haven't finished yet". Phil announces several Motown showcases prior to the album's release. Nevertheless, he had no plans to go on tour again. During the shows, Phil did not play drums. In March, together with Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett, Phil is inducted to the Hall of Fame. Towards the end of the year, Phil joined some rock veterans for the Prince's Trust gala in London's Royal Albert Hall. It was the first time he performed as a drummer on stage since his injury.

2011: Phil turns 60 and we did write a special birthday ode. His health did not improve and Phil decided to call it a day in several interviews. Nevertheless, he did a performance in December for his Little Dreams Foundation.

2012: Phil is still in his "I have retired" mode. In March, a Blu-ray and DVD with his Montreux performances 1996 and 2004 is released (Live At Montreux). In July, his book The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey was released.

2013: The year remains quiet until Tarzan is premiered in Stuttgart, Germany. Collins reveals he wants to make music again and also hints that a possible tour is not out of question.

2014: In January, Phil Collins says he's working with Adele.


by Bernd Vormwald (until 2000)

updated by Christian Gerhardts and Ulrich Klemt (from 2000 onwards)

translated by Martin Klinkhardt

last updated: January 2014

Phil Collins


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