5 Things You May Not Have Known About Phil Collins
Today we celebrate the birthday of Philip David Charles Collins, otherwise known to the world at large as Phil. Given his level of fame, you could well know several of these five things, perhaps even all of them, but we’ve done our best to get at least a little bit obscure. Hopefully we’ve done right by you…and by Phil, too!
1. Before diving headlong into his music career, he was a child actor.
Collins famously appeared in the crowd for a performance filmed for The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, although he failed to make it into the film, which is what also happened with the scene he filmed for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He did, however, manage to make it into the 1967 film Calamity the Cow, which is surely just as well-remembered a film as the other two cinematic efforts by, uh, someone somewhere. (Just don’t ask us to name names.)
2. He was in a band before Genesis.
It’s certainly not hard information to come by, but considering his level of superstardom, it’s surprising how many people aren’t aware that Collins’ professional music career didn’t start at the same time as his membership in Genesis. Before that, he was a member of the band Flaming Youth. When asked by the A.V. Club how he looked back at the band, he chuckled a bit at the mere mention of their name, but he acknowledged that he looks back on them with a smile. “Ronnie Caryl, who was in the band playing bass, he’s one of my oldest and closest friends,” said Collins. “We’ve known each other 50 years. In fact, this year is the 50th anniversary that we’ve been together. He’s in my band now, and we’ve stayed great friends throughout that whole time. So I look at it with a smile, really. I don’t think much of the music, I’ve got to say. I mean, someone occasionally sends me a link to a YouTube clip, and I’ll listen to it, and it’s, like, ‘Oh,God.’ A time and a place…”
3. He participated in the sessions for George Harrison’s ALL THINGS MUST PASS.
Collins did contribute percussion to the song “Art of Dying” – he played congas, to be specific – but you won’t hear him on the album, as his performance didn’t make the cut. In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Collins revealed how the late Beatle had pulled a practical joke on him in 2001, sending him a recording which Harrison said was the version of the aforementioned song with Collins’ performance. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, this sounds terrible,’” recalled Collins. “In fact, it was a Harrison joke. He’d recorded [percussionist] Ray Cooper. [He said] said, ‘Play bad, I’m going to record it and send it to Phil.’ I couldn’t believe that a Beatle had actually spent that much time on a practical joke for me.”
4. Although he was in the audience of the Academy Awards when his song “Against All Odds” was nominated for an Oscar, he wasn’t given the opportunity to perform it.
It’s said that, when Collins’ management contacted the Academy to let them know that he would be available to perform the song, the Academy offered their apologies to “Phil Cooper” but said that there were no more spots available. This is because the task of singing Collins’ song had been given to dancer / choreographer Ann Reinking instead. It was a painful performance, one which was partially lip-synched so that Reinking could dance, but it’s fair to say that no one was nearly as pained as Collins himself, who had to fume at the proceedings in person. After the fact, he didn’t hold back with his opinion, saying outright, ‘It was awful.”
5. He auditioned for a buddy movie with Mickey Rourke. (He didn’t get it.)
In his memoir Not Dead Yet, Collins talked a bit about how his work in the film Buster led him into conversations about a few other projects that ultimately never came to pass. In addition to roles in Sister Act 2 and Maverick that failed to materialize, the one that’s the most fascinating is dismissed in a single sentence: “a buddy movie with Mickey Rourke.” We don’t know for sure what movie this would’ve been, but looking at Rourke’s back catalog, we’re thinking that maybe it was Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Even if it wasn’t, though, we’re going to pretend it was, because that would’ve been awesome. Plus, you know Phil could’ve done a great buddy comedy. Just look how great he was with Philip Bailey!
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