Phil Collins’ Bloodcurdling Wish About His Genesis Persona

Imagine playing with a band as their drummer for five years, with little to no experience as a singer. Then, the lead vocalist leaves the band, and you step in after a long search for a new frontman. It’s a lot of pressure for an artist to take over such a challenging task. Although Phil Collins handled being Genesis’ new lead singer pretty well, the band’s longtime fans weren’t pleased with the news.

When Peter Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, the band started to look for someone to replace him. Their advertisement in Melody Maker received around 400 replies, making it difficult for Genesis to decide on their new singer. Phil Collins sang the back vocals during the auditions, which seemed to last a lifetime. He wanted to continue as an instrumental band but ended up becoming the new singer when his performance of ‘Squonk’ impressed the rest of the band.

Genesis then released their album ‘A Trick of the Tail’ with Phil Collins’ vocal contribution. Following its release, it became a huge commercial success for the band. ‘A Trick of the Tail’ was followed by ‘Wind & Wuthering,’ which was also a successful release. However, things went downhill for Phil as the band started to shift to a more pop-oriented sound with ‘…And Then There Were Three…’

Featuring shorter and pop-oriented songs, the record appealed to a new audience but not to the disillusioned fans who were used to their previous work. Many accused Genesis of selling out and making more commercial music. Without a doubt, Phil Collins was at the center of criticisms as he was the ‘new’ frontman. The band’s songs continued to top the charts in the following years, but these criticisms followed Phil like a curse.

Due to his health issues, Phil Collins had to leave Genesis. After his retirement in 2011, some fans even started a petition to stop him from returning to Genesis. Although Collins was back in 2015, he toured with the band for the last time during the ‘2020 Last Domino? Tour’ and left the music scene again. When he looked back on his career with Genesis in a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, the singer admitted he wanted to wipe the Phil Collins character off history.

Unsurprisingly, Phil wanted to ‘kill’ the Phil Collins character because he believed fans didn’t know who Collins actually was. He just wanted to turn over a new leaf after all those harsh criticisms he received. “I sometimes think, ‘I’m going to write this Phil Collins character out of the story,’” he said. “Phil Collins will just disappear or be murdered in some hotel bedroom, and people will say, ‘What happened to Phil?’ And the answer will be, ‘He got murdered, but, yeah, anyway, let’s carry on.’ That kind of thing.”

In fact, the musician was so tired of being the Genesis scapegoat Phil Collins that he even asked his girlfriend, Dana Tyler, to call him Philip. He wanted to move on and go with another name, not only for his girlfriend but for everyone. However, Collins was an artist who was everywhere, especially in the 1980s, when he released numerous successful solo efforts and was responsible for the shift in the band’s sound. He was like the ‘Madonna’ of the rock scene, so it’s safe to say that he was on a nearly impossible task to erase his ‘Phil Collins’ identity from the world.