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Soundcheck Smackdown: Phil Collins

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last week, drummer-turned-singer Phil Collins once again publicly stated - and restated - his intentions of withdrawing from the music biz. The news leads us to this week’s Soundcheck Smackdown, when music writer Andy Greenwald and Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large Ken Tucker face off about the highs and lows of the former Genesis frontman’s career.


Andy Greenwald and Ken Tucker

Comments [33]

Mary Williams

Andy and others, this is MW and the questions I have for you is this: Do you have the ability to play a piano as well as Phil Collins? Do you have the ability to write music as well as Phil Collins? Do you have the ability to act? Have American women ever tossed their underwear at you on stage? Have you ever won the awards Phil Collins has won? Everything I am and You'll Be in my Heart is full of passion.....Do you have the energy to fly around the world and stage for hours and hours. Stocky, this man has a fantastic body.... Are you crazy. Do you have a body as great as Phil Collins. I don't think you have watched Phil Collins videos. Are you BLIND?....I could go on for hours... When you have the ability to do what Phil Collins can do, then your opinions matter. Drummer...... Grow up.... Have you missed what he has done for the past few years? Let's discuss... I will go the trip with you, and you, and you......Have you missed I am on my way now.... Research and be up to date, when we discuss this.... I will discuss how Phil Collins mastered his profession with you....Phil has retired to do the things we have all taken for granted....Live a life....

Dec. 06 2011 01:47 PM
Gail from British Columbia

It is undeniable, unmistakable, that Phil Collins successful career has spanned several decades. Just as cream rises to the top, so did Phil Collins. Over the years Phil has been subjected to, a few negative, mean spirited comments. The fact that Phil has been able to be focused on music, from such an early age and make it his sole career and persevere to still come out on top of his game, I think, speaks volumes of his character and his awesome talent.

May. 18 2011 12:51 PM
Meryn from Brazil from Brazil

Phil is one of the best musicians I have ever heard in my life, for this reason I wish I still could see his performance wherever in the world, of course I´d prefer in Brazil. However, I´d go anywhere to see his performance

May. 13 2011 10:49 AM
cherie craighead

I love Phil Collins' music.He is a very tallented musician and always put on agreat live show both as a solo artist and with Genesis. I'm going to miss future CDs but understand he wants to be there for sons Nicholas & Mathew. I'm sorry to hear about all the pain he has been suffering. I wish Phil nothing but the best and recovery

May. 02 2011 02:21 PM
fan4life from usa

His music will stand the test of time. His music has inspired artist the world over. Phil is right up there with the great songwriters.

Apr. 27 2011 09:26 PM
Planesy from The Farm, Guildford.

Phil Collins.

Now their is a name I have had with me for most of my life from say about 12yrs old.

I was a fan then and I still am now.

Surely that says it all.

And to all those critics out there well fellas if you dont get it know you never will.

Phil is a a pure musician who lives and breathes the craft and his total hard work and passion for what he does has made him a household name.

Bless you Phil.

Thanks for all the pleasure you have given me and will continue to.


Apr. 12 2011 03:22 PM
Gail from British Columbia

Phil Collins... is a icon in the music industry
and his successful career has spanned several decades. I love that Phil Collins quality of sound and insight and how he expresses himself. As a singer, lyricist, drummer and
piano player, I think he's awesome. Phil's style and sound is award winning. Phil Collins is my favourite artist to this very day.

Apr. 01 2011 11:21 AM
Prog fan from Michigan

"We Can't Dance" combined of pop tunes for continued airplay until Phil's departure, and some lengthy songs ("Driving the Last Spike" and "Fading Lights") that returned to their roots. Two years ago, Phil's short-term drum partner Bill Bruford retired, but still involved in the business. BB must be the only drummer who duetted with Cabbage Patch drummers PC and current Yes drummer Alan White.

Mar. 17 2011 10:34 PM
bob wade from New Jersey

Phil Collins represents the birth of mediocrity after the greatness of the Stones, Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc...and the beginning of schlock as acceptable radio fare. Honestly, it felt like chalk screeching on a blackboard and I am sure his tunes could be used as a torture mechanism at place like Guantanomo.

Mar. 16 2011 02:57 PM
Jack Macco

Phil Collins was a very popular 80's Pop singer. Yeah, the guy was everywhere 25 years ago, he eclipsed his own band. Some of his songs are OK, but I wouldn't pay to see him and part of the reason Led Zeppelin sucked at Live Aid in '85 is because they had a mediocre drummer.

Mar. 16 2011 02:46 PM
Jeff from Hackensack

Personally, I like the older Genesis and prefer Peter Gabriel, but there is no disputing the talent of Phil Collins. Most classic reference and summary of Collin's influence is the soliloquy from Patrick Bateman in 'American Psycho': "I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock."

Mar. 16 2011 02:43 PM
Garry Rindfuss from NYC

In 1981 Face Value was considered by many to be an innovative and very listenable LP. But just as Sting's subsequent solo career ruined the Police records, while listening to Face Value, one can't help but be reminded constantly that you are listening to a PHIL COLLINS album.

Mar. 16 2011 02:38 PM
a g from n j

nostalgia-phobic-ken tucker..
what is wrong with reverie. emotional connection,to past events. c'mon ken.

Mar. 16 2011 02:38 PM

I have to lower or mute the radio when I hear portions of any of Collin's music...His solo career is marginal at best and is only played at department stores now...or maybe trader crap

Mar. 16 2011 02:38 PM
Marko from Brooklyn

was once part of a midnight train sing along led by a homeless guy with a walk man on. SU-SU-SSSUUUDIO!

Mar. 16 2011 02:38 PM
susan from tribeca

The only good thing Phill Collins ever has done is his apperence on" This american life when gives advice on how to wright a schlocky love song"

Mar. 16 2011 02:37 PM
Frank Grimaldi from East Village

I don’t have anything against Phil but prolific – not so much. No one has mentioned that he used the line “waited all my life” in most of his songs.

Mar. 16 2011 02:36 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Phil Collins was an ear worm. I always enjoyed hearing his stuff when it came on the radio. This anti Collins guy is a pretentious twit. Please. To condemn him cause he stayed in a prog rock band when he wasn't invested in it. This is like something out of High Fidelity. And Tucker also knocks him for his negative comments on his wife at the same time he thinks it validates his opinion that M&M doesn't like him? Any hypocricy there?

Mar. 16 2011 02:36 PM

I want to know why making pop music is considered a compromise.

Mar. 16 2011 02:36 PM
dj spliff

Phil Collins has influenced even today's artists. Remember urban renewal?

Mar. 16 2011 02:35 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ Tom

Well I came of age in the 80's and am not a fan of Collins...

Mar. 16 2011 02:35 PM
SInclair from Brooklyn

Phil Collins is an uber herb and as saccarin as they come, but he has to get props for being a total badass pop drummer AND killing that track Easy Lover with hilip Bailey. Easy Lover is SMOKING!! any way you look at it.

Mar. 16 2011 02:35 PM
Kate from NYC

I used to tend bar near Madison Square Garden, and I never saw more middle-aged couples making out at the bar, than after the Phil Collins concert. He put the people in the mood.

Mar. 16 2011 02:34 PM
Tom from Toronto

Sorry Ken, but its an age thing. Its the 70's crowd vs. those who came of age in the 80's, and most of the latter are just fine with Phil Collins. He has scarcely been on the radio dial the last 20 years, so the old stuff holds up quite well. Sure it was pop-rock, but I'll take Phil over over Huey any day fo the week.

Mar. 16 2011 02:33 PM
Anne from Manhattan

Tell me who was true to a 'rock' quality in the 80s? Billy Joel shifted with the times and he maintains his status as 70s rocker....

Mar. 16 2011 02:32 PM
Frank from Newark

Collins input in the mid to late 70's with Genesis was great but many people forget he was also in a group called Brand X.
If you want to hear some really good drumming then check out that band.
I have no use for 80's Collins music.

Mar. 16 2011 02:31 PM
Marta from DUMBO

We shouldn't forget how cutting-edge that sound technology was at the time. Synthesizer and multitrack layering were barely older than Pink Floyd. We hear and think "mainstream", but for 1981Collins was a pioneer.

Mar. 16 2011 02:31 PM
a g from n j

phil collins was part of a lot of the big 80's production. punk snobbery, is always going to have a problem with this. it's a big tent man. i guess that makes me a lousy smackdown fighter.

Mar. 16 2011 02:30 PM
Nick from UWS

Phil Collins is an extremely likable and intelligent guy who makes terrible records. All those migraine-inducing gated drums and overprocessed vocals...terrible.

Mar. 16 2011 02:29 PM
Jim McL from NJ

I thought Phil Collins left the music industry twenty years ago.

Mar. 16 2011 02:26 PM
marc from greenpoint

i remember back in the 80's a friend of mine suggested a drinking game where we would scan the radio dial and everytime we came across a phil collins song you had to chug a beer. he was everywhere

Mar. 16 2011 02:26 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Genesis is a bit before my time and I admit to not being familiar with most of their music.

But as far as solo careers are concerned, I'd have to pick Gabriel over Collins. His catalogue seems a little more creative on balance.

Mar. 16 2011 02:17 PM
a g from n j

.........of course, peter gabriel and genesis have got to be part of this talk. you can't define phil collins, without talking about the rift created by collins and gabriel. there are the gabriel genesis people, there are the collins genesis people, and there are the "ga'llins" genesis people. which side are you on boy.........

Mar. 16 2011 12:52 PM

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