In Defense of Phil Collins

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Mar 6 2011, 1h07

I saw the news about Phil Collins giving up music. It made me sad. The brunt of jokes and the subject of one of the most disturbing scenes in American cinema (you can listen to it here ) I always thought the scene was interesting because it was so precisely backwards.

I'm not sure Phil is being entirely honest when he said "I'm sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that. It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me."

Hardly surprising indeed. His success was alienating; but it has to be done. everyone hates SussudioSussudio and Against All Odds and even In the Air Tonight . But in the case of the latter, one must consider how many times this song has been played. Researching music for 20 years, I do not know a single song that so many people have liked for so long.

So everyone knows the crap, few know the genius and the ground breaking work Phil turned in. Trick of the Tail is a great record. Said Rolling Stone, "Genesis has managed to turn the possible catastrophe of Gabriel's departure into their first broad-based American success" And before you go off all half-cocked with your Indy rock superiority and distain for "Prog" you 'll need to consider the times those records were made. It was very common to go more commercial as more people bought your records and Genesis was no exception.

Have you heard Brand X ? That's Phil on the drums. He played with Brian Eno in the 70s.He virtually invented the 80's gated snare sound (heard first onPeter Gabriel's Intruder. And I'll say it here: He carried on for John Bonham. Need proof? Well, if the the texture of the drum sound doesn't convince you go back and listen to Robert Plant's first solo album Pictures at Eleven.

He was bravely personal with his songwriting. Duke is filled with songs about his divorce songs that are often dismissed by those who haven't really heard them. Please Don't Ask is incredibly apt--particularly considering where he was coming from.

Phil was an entertainer too. No, he didn't have to do those cheesy covers or acquiesce to the tastes of the great unwashed; but he did. Whatever. While I'd never miss much of his mainstream reaches, he remains one of my favorite artists. The music world is less for having lost him. He says he won't miss playing the drums--but I'll miss his drumming.

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