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Phil Collins - Biography

The musician was the drummer and lead singer of rock band Genesis

Singer and drummer Phil Collins smiling
Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
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Who is Phil Collins?

When Genesis lead-singer Peter Gabriel left the popular UK group for a solo career in 1975, the band's drummer, Phil Collins, reluctantly stepped up to the microphone. In doing so, he unknowingly embarked upon an internationally-acclaimed career spanning four decades which has put his estimated worth at upwards of £300 million.

His Career

After recording five albums as Genesis frontman, including Duke and Trick Of The Tail, Phil released 1981's reflective Face Value, selling millions of copies on the strength of the hit single In The Air Tonight. To date, Phil has sold over 30 million albums as a solo artist, and participated in various lucrative cinematic ventures. 

He found success with film soundtrack themes, including his 1992 cover of the Supremes' You Can't Hurry Love from the film Buster in which he also starred and the ballad Separate Lives from the film White Nights. Often cited as much for his work ethic as for his music, on July 13, 1985, Phil made history by nearly being in two places at once. 

He wowed Wembley audiences at the Live Aid fund raiser in the UK, and then hopped on Concorde to perform at a sister-benefit Stateside in Philadelphia. He's also toured with Eric Clapton, done studio work for Robert Plant and Adam And The Ants, and appeared on Miami Vice. In 1999, he composed the music to the Disney classic Tarzan, recording the soundtrack vocals in an unprecedented five languages. The title song, You'll Be In My Heart won a Best Original Song Oscar, beating Academy Award favourite Diane Warren, among others.

His Personal Life

The multi-talented musician's workaholic approach and ambition have had their effect on the women in his life, however. He parted from his first wife, Andrea, with whom he had two children, an adopted daughter Joely - now a successful actress in Canada - and Simon, a musician, in 1979.

He famously ditched his second spouse, Jill, via fax in 1994, earning himself the title Mr Nasty. He and Jill have a daughter, Lily, who now lives with her husband Charlie McDowell. Wife number three, Swiss translator Orianne and Phil welcomed new additions to their family, Nicholas Grev Austin, in April 2001 and Matthew in December 2004. 

In March 2006 the couple announced that, after six years together, they were to separate. "They are both very sad that it should come to this, but have as their priority the welfare and happiness of their children" said their publicist at the time.

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