Saturday, 28 August 2010
Phil Collins came of age to the sound of American soul music. As a teenager in London, he collected seven-inch singles on the Motown, Stax and Atlantic labels.
And, in later years, as he became one of British pop’s most successful exports and an unlikely hero to America’s R&B community, he retained an affinity with soul, going on to conquer the charts with solo renditions of You Can’t Hurry Love and A Groovy Kind Of Love.
But, earlier this year, when the chance arose to perform his favourite tracks live in New York with an 18-piece band, even Collins almost succumbed to stage fright.
‘Numbers like Dancing In The Street are among the greatest singles ever made, but doing them live was terrifying,’ he admits.
‘I kept forgetting the words. I ended up having to use a little lyric book.’
Chatting in London’s Air Studios, Collins - who has sold 250 million albums and won eight Grammys plus an Oscar - is on a roll as he enthuses about the merits of Motown.
He has reason to feel excited, too. As the drummer and singer in Genesis, he ended 2007’s Turn It On Again tour in discomfort after a chronic spinal ailment left him unable to play drums: he took a break and spent time with his two young sons in Switzerland.
But his love of soul prompted a return to action, and his new solo album - his first in eight years - pays tribute to the songs of his youth.
‘As far as I was concerned, I’d retired,’ says Phil. ‘I just wanted to be with my kids.’
Instead, Collins, 59, found himself in a studio with three members of Motown session band The Funk Brothers - bassist Bob Babbitt and guitarists Eddie Willis and Ray Monette - working on Going Back, which revisits standards such as Martha Reeves’s Heatwave and Stevie Wonder’s Uptight (Everything’s Alright).
Posted by PhilCollins at 17:46