Happy birthday to Phillip David Charles Collins, known to the world as Phil Collins, who celebrated his 60th on Sunday.
It's astonishing to link Collins the solo artist—who recorded some of the most beautiful ballads in history—with his turn beginning in 1975 as lead singer of rock band Genesis, which arguably released some of the world's most irritating radio hits ("Abacab," "No Reply At All," "Land of Confusion," "I Can't Dance" and the abhorrent "Tonight Tonight Tonight").
When the singer/songwriter went solo in 1981, his inauspicious first hits "I Missed Again" and "In the Air Tonight" hardly provided a clue that the Brit singer/songwriter/drummer would begin a do-no-wrong tear at top 40 radio in 1984—thanks to the resplendent No. 1 Grammy-winning ballad "Against All Odds"—my No. 5 song of the year.
From there, Collins scored a dozen consecutive top 10 hits, including No. 1's "One More Night," "Sussudio" (ew), "Separate Lives" (with Marilyn Martin, my No. 16 song of 1985), "Groovy Kind of Love" (ew, too) "Two Hearts" and "Another Day in Paradise." (I also have to add my fave non-hit ballad "Why Can't It Wait 'Til Morning" from 1982's "Hello, I Must Be Going!"
In 1997, his lovely "You'll Be in My Heart" from animated Disney flick "Tarzan" won an Oscar—after both "Against All Odds" and "Separate Lives" had been nominated but lost. In addition, Collins has seven Grammy Awards on the mantle (with three American Music Awards and two Golden Globes), including 1986 Album of the Year for "No Jacket Required."
I finally found an opportunity to interview Phil in November 1998, for my Billboard Radio Editor column AirWaves, where we talked about his hit AC cover of "True Colors." The guy was funny! In person! Just as you'd hope... This was a big one for me, and our starfucker photo still maintains primary placement on the grand Wall of Fucker Fame here at home.Phil kind of looks like he's in pain with my arm draped around him, yes?