Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Phil Collins

Like some of the other artists on this list [1], Phil Collins is technically in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis but deserves solo entry as well because of his personal influence as a singer-songwriter and producer. More so than almost anyone on this list, Phil Collins is a person whose life and work has been the subject of intense and hostile criticism. On the one hand, his songs have been enduringly popular and his albums (at least until the late 1990’s) were immensely successful, but on the other hand he has been blamed for the commercial turn of Genesis (as if that was a bad thing) and for the “vacuous” nature of music in the 1980’s, which neglects his deliberate attempts to sing with personal as well as larger political meaning, albeit with a native sense of pop sensibility.

Why Phil Collins Deserves To Be In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

As a solo artist/producer, Phil Collins deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is one of only three artists (the other two are Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, both of whom are double inductees of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) who have sold more than 100 million copies of their records both as a member of a band and separately as a solo artist [2]. As a solo artist, he has one diamond album (more than 10 million sales), an additional six multi-platinum albums, one more platinum album, and another couple of gold albums in a successful career that has spanned more than thirty years. During the course of his musical career he has had seven #1 hits in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 (Against All Odds, Sussudio, One More Night, Separate Lives, A Groovy Kind Of Love, Two Hearts, Another Day In Paradise) and 3 #1 hits in the UK. He also has, beyond this, seven additional top 10 hits in the United States and seven more top 40 hits besides that [3].

Beyond his undeniable success as a musician in terms of both albums and singles, which have inspired movies (like the ironic use of his songs in the film American Psycho as well as the Grand Theft Auto game series, besides his own soundtrack and film work), which shows immense cultural influence, his career as a producer has been notable as well. Not only has he produced and written much of his own immensely successful material, but he has also served as the producer for others as well, like Philip Bailey’s Chinese Wall album, or the single “No One Is To Blame” by Howard Jones [4], and also Eric Clapton’s Behind The Sun and August albums, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s album Something’s Going On, which had a hit “I Know There’s Something Going On” and even two songs by Adam Ant, one of which, “Strip,” became a US hit. In addition to this, there is the fact that his distinctive reverb drumming remains notable and recognizable.

The Enduring Legacy Of Phil Collins

The legacy of Phil Collins is an intriguing one that contains connections to the Beatles (such as his film work in “A Hard Day’s Night”) and even a lengthy stint as a member of a jazz fusion band called Brand X. Although he is accused for being a corporate sell-out, he has long had a great interest in collaborating w ith other bands and artists and also being involved in a great deal of social activism relating to the Battle of the Alamo, animal rights, and providing opportunities in sports and art to disadvantaged children. This stands in stark contrast, of course, to his reputation as a famous celebrity tax exile (although this hasn’t stopped artists like the Rolling Stones and many others from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction). Given his immense cultural legacy as a musician, producer, and even actor, and the fact that his songs remain important in music, to be remade by artists as diverse as Seether and Mariah Carey. The fact that his influence is reviled so much by many pop critics suggests that his influence is immense. And since it is influence that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors (and this influence, given some of the artists that have already been inducted, can surely not be considered a good one), there is no excuse for failing to induct Phil Collins as a solo artist.

Why Phil Collins Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

There remains within the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a distinct unwillingness to induct bands and artists from the 1980’s [5], or who have received the savage hostility that Phil Collins has. One can easily imagine, for example, in about a decade the band Nickelback receiving similar savage criticism for their popularity and undeniable influence on post-grunge music, and it will be similarly irrelevant. If an artist can sell more than 100 million copies, have dozens of hits over a lengthy career, and manage to positively influence and encourage other artists as well, then there is no reason, aside from mere prejudice, why that artist should not receive honor by being named with other artists of like (and lesser) stature as being worthy of recognition for that achievement. After all, is that not the purpose of a Hall of Fame in the first place?

Verdict: Put Phil Collins in already. He is one of the most successful of the obvious snubs of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the recent induction of Peter Gabriel for his solo work makes Phil Collins an obvious follow up.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-sting/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Collins

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Collins_discography

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/no-one-is-to-blame/

[5] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-kate-bush/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-janet-jackson/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-gloria-estefan-the-miami-sound-machine/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-talk-talk/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-dire-straits/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-tears-for-fears/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-the-cars/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bon-jovi/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-joy-division-new-order/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-paul-carrack/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-bryan-adams/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-chicago/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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14 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Phil Collins

  1. Two words: subjective hypocrisy. If Peter Gabriel isn’t an example of commercializing an established band’s sound and then venturing off to create a lucrative solo career by capitalizing on his association with them–well, I don’t know who is.

    • Not that I mind that of course, and I would have written about Peter Gabriel fairly soon had the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame not inducted him, so I guess they saved me a few blog entries by inducting him and Kiss this year :D.

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