I was introduced to Phil Collins, as I’m sure many people were, in the back seat of my mum’s car – she’s a popular woman! But seriously, as a kid I heard a lot of Genesis and Phil Collins whilst being driven around from place to place, and it stuck with me.
I rediscovered Phil when I was around 17 or 18. I think it was ‘Easy Lover’ that piqued my interest. Soon I was raiding my mum’s CDs and listening to ‘The Best of Phil Collins’ or ‘Serious Hits… Live’. Then, as a poor student, I turned to eBay and – as if to confirm the popularity of the man himself – nabbed ‘No Jacket Required’ for £0.01. The best penny I have ever spent.
I was on the bus to my job selling tickets at Kew Gardens when I first listened to what would become one of my all-time (yes, past, present and future) favourite albums. Sure, track one, ‘Sussudio’, was as infectious and brilliant as it always was, but as the first few seconds of track number two, ‘Only You Know and I Know’, came through my headphones I genuinely felt a shock of excitement. It was pure, unashamed ’80s pop and I loved it. All the tracks that followed pulled me deeper and deeper into an obsession that would lead to me trying to save a relationship by saying: ‘I don’t even listen to Phil Collins any more’.
His other albums are great, but once you listen to ‘No Jacket Required’ there’s no going back. I currently own one Phil Collins button-down shirt, three T-shirts, a ‘No Jacket Required’ bomber jacket and three Phil Collins-designed Swatch watches – two to keep pristine and one for wearing. Phil Collins was the soundtrack of my childhood and continues to bring me joy to this day. His music has seen me through the lowest lows and highest highs and will continue to do so. I can only assume that it was my passion that brought him out of retirement this last week. You’re welcome.
Previously: Why I love Randy Newman