How To Sell an Album

if you are a weird looking dude, put a close-up of your face on the cover

The many faces of Phil's albums.

The many faces of Phil's albums.

I love Phil Collins. Actually, I used to hate Phil Collins, but that was back in the 80’s when my uncle Calvin and my friend Brad’s aunt Vicky would listen to Phil all the time. We would be subjected to Phil on the long trek to Kings Island in the summertime – a small price to pay I guess. I thought he was some lame ass soft rock guy. Turns out, the man writes songs that you just can’t resist.

And he has answered the question of what to put on your album covers if you are a odd looking dude – close-ups of your odd looks which chronicle the recession of your hair line. My favorite, No Jacket Required, from 1985. Here he looks like an oompa loompa and gives us such classics as “Sussudio,” “One More Night,” and “Don’t Lose My Number.” He also won the Grammy for Pop Album of the Year for it in 1985. Not bad.

So he sticks with the winning formula and gives us another close-up with each new album. But this trend actually started with his debut solo album, Face Value, in 1981. Here he stepped out of Genesis (for those who aren’t aware, Phil was the drummer-turned-lead-singer of Genesis, after the first lead singer, Peter Gabriel, left) and gave us one of my favorite Phil songs, “In The Air Tonight.” This song singlehandedly brought air drumming to prominence, where it can now contend with the more famous air guitar. We can also thank this song for one of my favorite Family Guy episodes.

Then we get the cover of the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” from 1983’s Hello, I Must Be Going! Followed by No Jacket Required, which is arguably his best album – definitely my favorite. In between these albums, Collins contributed to the soundtrack for a 1984 movie that I have no desire to see, called Against All Odds. So it’s fitting that his song on the soundtrack is also called “Against All Odds.” Apparently he originally wrote this song for Face Value, but it didn’t make the cut. Amazing that he had so much good stuff that he could cut what would become a huge hit for him.

Finally, you can always find such cool information on Wikipedia, the funniest about Collins being this:

“Collins made an appearance as himself in the 2006 PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, set in 1984. He appears in three missions in which you must save him from a gang that is trying to kill him, the final mission occurring during his concert, where the player must defend the scaffolding against saboteurs whilst Phil is simultaneously performing “In The Air Tonight.” After, the player is given the opportunity to watch this performance of ‘In the Air Tonight.”

So if you are wondering what I am listening to right now, well it’s the live version of “In The Air Tonight.” Face it, whether you like it or not, you like Phil Collins too. It’s like the battle over the radio in Tommy Boy – eventually you settle on something that everyone can sing along to.

If you want a simple collection of Phil Collins, I suggest you start with No Jacket Required supplemented either with the standard greatest hits album Phil Collins: Hits, where you can get “Two Hearts” and a great cover of “True Colors,” or my recommendation would be the live hits album Serious Hits…Live! And if you just want to hear my top 5 Phil songs, here they are in descending order, all from the live album except “True Colors.” Be sure to turn up the stereo and join in on the drums.

1. In The Air Tonight

2. Sussudio

3. Don’t Lose My Number

4. True Colors

5. Against All Odds


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