Phil Collins: From Drummer to Front Man

Written by on March 28, 2019

On this day, March 28th, the drummer for Genesis, known as Phil Collins, toured the U.S. for the first time as the lead singer for the band. On this day, March 28th, he left the band with 20 years under his belt. And on this day we honor his contribution to the band that made him a household name.

It was 1975. Lead singer Peter Gabriel made his departure from Genesis and Collins was persuaded to become lead vocalist. He didn’t want the job, he wanted to remain a drummer, but fate had a different idea. In an interview with I News Collins said:

“There really wasn’t another option and I drew the short straw. I often wonder what life would have been like if Peter hadn’t left and I had stayed playing the drums.”

The following year, Genesis was set to tour the U.S. on March 28th, making it Collins’ debut tour in the states as a lead singer. Easing their way into a new era, Genesis gradually began to let go of Gabriel’s style as Collins was figuring out his sound with back to back albums A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering.

“Follow You Follow Me” became the first commercial hit on their …And Then There Were Three… album, followed by Duke in 1980, which marked the turning point for the band with it’s pop influenced tracks.

Genesis’ 1983 self titled album proved that they knew how to balance rock and pop with Collins’ jazz background, but Invisible Touch turned the groundbreaking rock band to a full fledged pop act. Genesis’ die hard fans were not pleased in the 80s; however, the rest of the world raised their stereo knobs to max volume.

Their most overly pop produced album We Can’t Dance was his final album with the band before his departure on March 28, 1996. He then pursued a solo career after experiencing success with “In the Air Tonight” and “Against All Odds” when he embarked on solo projects while still being in the band.


Some would say their best work was in their early days, others would say Genesis peaked when they went mainstream, but either way, Collins left his mark in music as a lead vocalist and has created tracks throughout his career that can cater to every type of listener. Who knows where Collins would be had he not been forced into the spotlight, but thankfully, no one lives in a world where Phil Collins’ voice doesn’t exist.

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