The Singer Who Replaced Phil Collins In Genesis

Five Charterhouse pupils, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, and Jonathan King founded Genesis in 1967. After Philips’ departure, they recruited Steve Hackett and Phil Collins in 1970. The band went through several lineup changes over the years but the most challenging one was their singer Gabriel’s departure from the band. Collins, who had been Genesis’ drummer, became their frontman as a replacement.

With Collins as lead vocalist, Genesis released their seventh and eighth studio album entitled ‘A Trick of the Tail’ and ‘Wind & Wuthering’ in the same year. The band preserved its success and popularity during the period when Collins was their frontman. However, it wasn’t enough for Collins who wanted to pursue a career as a solo musician too. He later began working on his solo music which led the band to search for a replacement.

Genesis Recruited Ray Wilson To Replace Phil Collins

Phil Collins announced his departure in 1996 and the main reason behind it was his willingness to focus on his solo career. Collins released his sixth studio album ‘Dance into the Light’ on October 8, 1996, while his former bandmates started to look for a new lead singer for their bands. Shortly after, keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Mike Rutherford revealed that they decided to recruit post-grunge band Stiltskin frontman Ray Wilson.

They admired his talent and wanted to ask Wilson to replace Phil Collins through their manager Tony Smith after Banks and Rutherford had listened to Stiltskin’s debut studio album ‘The Mind’s Eye.’ In addition, Banks stated that they chose not to hire a famous musician since it could cause problems among them and Genesis could turn into a supergroup. The band’s guitarist added that Wilson’s style created a difference which was a very good thing for the band.

Wilson recalled these times saying:

“I was in my little studio writing songs. It was ten in the morning, I was making a coffee, and Tony Smith, the manager of Genesis, was on the phone: ‘Would you like to come and audition to replace Phil Collins?’

Here’s what Rutherford said:

“I should say, first and foremost, that the departure, the split with Phil was a very, very amicable thing. We’re still extremely good friends. But when it happens, you then look toward the plus side of it, which is that everything is different. The voice gives a whole different texture to the sound of the group.

Banks added:

“We obviously considered everybody but we didn’t really want a famous person. We wanted to try and keep the character of the group intact, and if you bring in a famous name, it starts to become something else. You’re seen as a bit of a supergroup or something, you know?”

However, the longtime Genesis fans didn’t agree with Rutherford and Banks because of the dramatic change from the band’s energetic style to a darker and more melancholic one. The band released their only album featuring Wilson as the vocalist, ‘Calling All Stations’ on September 1, 1997, and it was defined as a commercial failure along with negative reviews from music critics even though they appreciated the new singer’s performance.

After the album’s release, Genesis went into hiatus until their reunion with Collins for the Turn It On Again Tour which started on June 11, 2007, in Helsinki. Even though Genesis members didn’t record any new albums together, they reunited for concerts, tours, and a BBC document ‘Genesis: Together and Apart’ which is based on the band’s breakup process and its members’ solo projects.