May 09

PHIL COLLINS – “You Can’t Hurry Love”

FT + Popular96 comments • 7,225 views

#513, 15th January 1983

The 80s, as a decade, split rather neatly. There’s the early eighties, when the arrival of video and the aftershock of punk and disco turn the charts into a colouring book. There’s the late eighties, when the combination of club music and cheap high street pop radicalises the landscape again. And in between there’s the mid eighties, when…. when….. when people like Phil Collins got very big indeed.

Actually, that’s a bit unfair. But that big glossy slab of years in mid-decade was the time bit-players and hitmakers alike had their chance to become superstars, for good or ill. And in some ways Collins was the most extraordinary of all, the great survivor, who went from playing drums in one of the most famously flamboyant progressive outfits to becoming the very incarnation of everybloke.

Which made him hated, even before his music deserved it: few wanted to identify with the people who they identified as identifying with Phil – aspirational sales reps and middle managers caught up in the beginnings of Thatcher’s economic red shift. And once his music did deserve that contempt, the awful shadow of latter-day Genesis and “Another Day In Paradise” stopped fair consideration of the earlier stuff.

So let’s set the record straight: yes, some 80s Phil Collins hits were very good, and much of the rest is stodgy rather than dreadful. This cover being a solid example – it’s only when you succumb and play the Supremes’ version that it becomes hard to get through. And this isn’t just Phil being incompetent – he always knew exactly what his strengths and skills were. Whereas Diana and the girls played the song from the point of view of sharp operators revelling in the power their newfound mastery of the game handed them, Phil’s more frustrated – he’s only just found out there even was a game. So he’s turned his clumsiness into a feature, not a bug – which explains the song but doesn’t really improve it.



  1. 1
    Miguel Toledo on 11 May 2009 #

    Tom, I read your tweet yesterday, asking for reasons why Collins might have been so huge in the 80s. Even though many of his latter work sounds completely devoided of any hint of a soul behind the music, I still think some of his pop stuff deserves being revisited. The sonic landscapes in “Face Value” and Frida’s “Something’s going on” may pale when compared to the exhuberance of the ZTT stuff of the time, but they were achievements nevertheless, and had they had a lesser competition, they might have set the standard for their years. Later on Genesis suffers a bit from being the prime example of how awfully the first generation of rockers coped with the fact they were aging (see Mick Jagger’s solo records to find out how low they could go), but when it goes down to the music, “Land of Confusion” is still a perfect demolition machine, maybe colder and less grovy than its kindred spirits ZTT and MJ’s Bad, but nearly as remarkable as them.

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 11 May 2009 #

    No, Tom – this is both stodgy AND dreadful! Theres a terrible soulless aridity at the heart of Phil Collins’ records – empty, processed, emoting.

    When I was ten, I had never heard The Supremes, it is true – and registered this as a clearly good song, but as soon as you’ve heard the original the eighties version becomes redundant. That’s not a criticism that I’d lay at ‘It’s My Party’, say, even though that’s also a manifestly inferior cover, there’s clearly an attempt to reconsider the song.

    And the multiple Collins in the video, the ‘novelty’ which did much of the job of selling it to 1983 pop-pickers is doubly irritaing gimmick: egotism as faux self-effacingness.

  3. 3
    Steve Mannion on 11 May 2009 #

    Sometimes I love the mid 80s more than the beginning or the end! But you’ve nailed exactly what’s wrong with this here so can’t argue with the score. I would’ve been fairly happy with any of his next four singles after this topping the charts (yes even ‘Take Me Home’ what of it). EDIT (I’ve not included ‘Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away’ here – just because i don’t know it and it stalled at #45, nor the duet with Bailey).

  4. 4
    Tom on 11 May 2009 #

    Oh, I think so too, and luckily we’ll have the chance to revisit Collins’ stuff again – as songwriter and performer – and put the positive case a bit more strongly.

    I’d forgotten “Land Of Confusion” – it is good!

  5. 5
    The Lurker on 11 May 2009 #

    I was all set to provide a spirited defence of early Phil Collins, only to find that you have been reasonably kind to him… As a teenager I was big fan of Genesis, and through that came to Collins’s solo work. I still think his first two solo albums stand up reasonably well – most of the songs on them are his angry or bewildered response to his (first) wife leaving him, with a few songs in which Phil adopts a character (eg the lonely stalker of Thru These Walls).

    YCHL is a bit of an anomaly on its parent album and kind of points the way to his subsequent albums, which tend to be full of ersatz soul numbers. I know it’s a cliche to say misery makes for better art, and I don’t wish to reopen a debate on authenticity, but I do think his songs were better when he was miserable! YCHL is better than most of those later songs – I think you’re probably right to say it sounds fine until you listen back to the original. All the same, I’d stretch to a 6.

  6. 6
    Tom on 11 May 2009 #

    #2 I think later Collins’ emoting became a lot more rote – like a lot of non-singers who hit big, he got rather seduced by a particular kind of delivery. But I wouldn’t level that charge at his earlier stuff – the bottled-up entitled rage on the divorce hits is real, even if it’s a bit ugly.

  7. 7
    Billy Smart on 11 May 2009 #

    #2 watch: A week of David Essex’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’. Scarcely one of his great moments, but quite sweet all the same.

  8. 8
    Steve Mannion on 11 May 2009 #

    my big Collins discovery of late has been ‘I’m Not Moving’. Face Value seems like a good LP overall. I don’t know why he liked using his face so big on almost all of his albums but at least it made sense on that occasion.

  9. 9
    Tom on 11 May 2009 #

    A reasonable answer to your question Steve is provided by looking at the sleeve of the LP on which he DIDN’T use his face.

  10. 10
    vinylscot on 11 May 2009 #

    This is obviously not a patch on the Supremes original. However, I don’t think Collins is covering the Supremes original. I’m pretty sure he’s actually covering the Stray Cats arrangement from the b-side of their “Rock This Town” single.

    However, it fails on that count too, as he has none of the exuberance and joyfulness of the Stray Cats. This may quite possibly where Collins “jumped the shark”, even for those previously well-disposed towards him.

  11. 11
    LondonLee on 11 May 2009 #

    I like the idea that Phil only just found out that pop/rock music could be a fun game and not all about soul-baring confessionals and “complicated” Prog epics. But that’s probably the exact point where it all went wrong for him, once him and his Genesis mates started trying the be funny (ie: ‘Illegal Alien’) they came across as smug arseholes who didn’t know how to tell a joke.

    Weird synchronicity dept: “I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe” by Genesis just came up on my iTunes.

  12. 12
    rosie on 11 May 2009 #

    And so we come to Rosie’s annus horribilis, during the course of which I was battered, bruised, chewed up, spat out, washed up, and emerged sadder but wiser and on the rise again.

    Actually, despite the dismal New Year, it didn’t start out too badly. Towards the end of 1982 my neighbour Nancy had inveigled me into joining the Labour Party. I’d attended a couple of branch meetings and discovered that, contrary to my fears, I didn’t wake up to a baying Militant lynch mob outside my door if I said anything contentious. And being not fully attentive at the January AGM I found myself appointed branch secretary, a role which I threw myself into with gay abandon. One of my first tasks was to take a branch resolution to move it at the General Management Committee. This was a rumbustious affair with much plotting, double-dealing and back-stabbing going on in the hall and I, who hadn’t made a speech in public before, had to stand in front of them with knees wobbling, blood draining from face, lungs locking up in asthmatic protest, and speak into an unprotected microphone. I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I opened it again. “C-c-c-Comrades,” I forced out. A rare moment of unity gripped the throng and a hundred voices cried out as one. “NAME AND BRANCH!” they screamed.

    There are many old-timers in today’s Labour Party who yearn nostalgically for that level of grassroots enthusiams.

    Now, where were we? Oh, Phil Collins. I liked stuff like In The Air Tonight. I thought this one was a pleasant novelty, and being very familiar with the Supremes’ original wasn’t ever likely to take it too seriously. I don’t think Phil did, either. I might venture a 5, possibly a 6.

  13. 13
    c on 11 May 2009 #

    before the eighties nostalgia machine got into motion my concept of eighties music (being a sneery teenager of the nineties) was “phil collins”. So i don’t think you’re being unfair at all!

  14. 14
    lonepilgrim on 11 May 2009 #

    This cover now seems to me like part of the 80s process of the canonisation and neuterisation of ‘soul’ when marketed for a white audience. Examples include the Blues Brothers, the rise of Ace records, hipper than hip references in The Face and the Levis ads and led to the likes of George Michael’s and Annie Lennox’s patronising duets with soul ‘legends’.
    PC always sounds chippy and cross in his performances – even when he is attempting to sound romantic -which may be why he found such an audience with Mondeo man.

  15. 15
    LondonLee on 11 May 2009 #

    I wouldn’t lump Ace Records in with that, I spent a lot of my student grant on their reissues.

    The Blues Brothers was especially galling though, in the video for this Phil reminded me of some loud, rubgy-loving twat in the pub trying to show how hip he was by putting them on jukebox and doing a funny little “Mod” dance to amuse his mates.

  16. 16
    Erithian on 11 May 2009 #

    Rosie #12 – I can sympathise with that story. I’m not going to go into any detail on my brief foray into student politics, but it was no less disastrous. Oona King’s “House Music” is well worth a read on the subject of Labour politics – she’s out of the House but you reckon she’d come out of the current sleazefest smelling of roses.

    It’s pretty difficult to louse up a song like this, and that dum-dum-dum, dum dum der-dum rhythm is as old as rock’n’roll itself (without reviving that debate!) – so yes, he does a pretty good job of it although you’d always go back to the original.

    The transition from the muso doing those complex time signatures on Genesis tracks (I’m thinking “Dance on a Volcano” where I’ve tried drumming along on the table but the beats pop up almost randomly!) to the mid-80s megastar, via that one the gorilla plays on the advert, is intriguing. Even more so is the notion of Collins’ great popularity among the hip-hop/R&B community. It’s a minefield of a subject, but while it’s perfectly understandable for white music fans to be well-versed in black artists, you don’t tend to expect fandom to go the other way. One of my closest black friends sees no reason why he shouldn’t be just as fond of karaoke-ing classic 70s rock (Bad Company, Golden Earring) as James Brown or Barry White, but when Waldo wondered whether Jamaicans might have liked the Police, the R-word was deployed and things really kicked off. Let’s be careful out there, but – any thoughts?

  17. 17
    Tom on 11 May 2009 #

    #14 yes I was thinking of saying something similar so I’m glad you’ve opened this particular can. Be interested in Andypandy’s thoughts on this – how the soul subculture got co-opted (or invaded) the mainstream as the decade progressed.

    My instinct, incidentally, is that with hindsight it all seems a great deal less irksome than it did at the time: certainly no more harmful than people in the mid-90s saying “Cor isn’t Waterloo Sunset a great record”.

  18. 18
    JonnyB on 11 May 2009 #

    Fair review, methinks.

    There’s a part of me that’s always wanted to be a drummer. I am an absolutely fantastic drummer in my head, but unfortunately I’m horribly, embarrassingly incapable of translating that to my arm and foot movements. So I have always had this thing about Phil Collins – he is such a terrific, terrific drummer so WHY DOESN’T HE BLOODY PLAY THE DRUMS ANY MORE?

    You would have probably been able to file me under ‘He has betrayed the spirit of Genesis!!!’ had I not come to the eighties version of the band first. This was because, bizarrely, ‘Genesis’ (the album) was a set work on the ‘O’ level syllabus in… erm… 1986? Clearly, we all hated it, solely for that very reason. But listening back, it’s half a really, really good record. ‘Mama’ is a fantastic track, and you can see where he went from there.

    Looking at YCHL in isolation, the record does nothing for me, so a 4 seems a fair score, guvnor.

  19. 19
    Jonathan Bogart on 11 May 2009 #

    Erithian@16: No thoughts at all on that front — Stuff Black People Like being as individual and eccentric as every black person! I’m concurrently writing a final essay for a professor whose father was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and one of his first lectures was devoted to the irreparable loss that African-American culture has suffered since jazz declined in popularity, although he’s more Gil Scott-Heron than Charlie Parker.

    But a couple of thoughts on Phil Collins. I first knew him through the early-90s Genesis hits, and literally worked my way back through the 80s and 70s. I tend to say that I only like the Peter Gabriel Genesis (Selling England By The Lb. was one of my first random purchases when I started checking out rock’s back pages), but the truth is I’ve never given the Collins-led group much of a shot, and if pressed could only really name the-one-Eminem-references-in-Stan (I assume the bunny’s in effect here) as a Collins song. Not having been radio-aware in the 80s — and being American, as he seems to have been at least a bit more popular in the UK — he’s a bit of a blind spot. More so than Peter Gabriel’s solo work, which I have heard and whose white plastic-soul affectations are far more irritating to me.

    I haven’t heard this and don’t intend to: the Supremes’ is such a perfect piece of pop that any other version seems redundant.

  20. 20
    Pete on 11 May 2009 #

    I’ve often wondered how much of the sincere love of Collins from the rap stars of the last decade is attached to the music and how much around the association of this music as a status symbol of affluence in their childhood.

    From a musical perspective Collins is more than a solid drummer, and as a drummer he had a good ear for rhythm in his music and productions, which would attract from a sampling point of view. But he never struck me as outstanding amongst his peers.

    Collins ended up as Tom says, a poster boy for the 80’s boom generation (how is less clear to me even now). And don’t forget he is a Tory too – affluence politics and leaving the country with Noel Edmonds if Labour wins elections. And here and in much of his other music Collins shows an appreciation of black music without pastiching it. But yes, still seems bizarre to me, as much as it would seem bizarre to me ANYONE liking Collins that much.

  21. 21
    Jonathan Bogart on 11 May 2009 #

    One of my first impressions of Phil Collins was reading a blurb in Newsweek ca. 1994(?) of a poll that had then recently been taken in Britain as to who if anyone should replace John in a hypothetical reunion of the Beatles. His sons led the list, followed by (if memory serves) Collins, whichever of the Gallaghers it is wot sings, and I think Sting and Rod Stewart. All of which struck me as ridiculous, but Collins even more so somehow.

  22. 22
    Jonathan Bogart on 11 May 2009 #

    Oh and here’s the inevitable “he did a great job on all those 70s Brian Eno records” post.

  23. 23
    Tom on 11 May 2009 #

    I used to work with someone called Phil, which I assumed was short for Philippa BUT NO, her name was Phil Collins [surname], which she had changed by deed poll to reflect her love for the maritally-unfortunate sticksman. She also wore a locket with his picture in and had the finest example I have ever seen of a LadyMullet.

    I am not sure she was representative of his fanbase though.

  24. 24
    LondonLee on 11 May 2009 #

    That’s funny, I once knew a girl who changed her name to Mark Knopfler.

    Just kidding.

    The Isley Brothers did a lovely version of ‘If Leaving Me Is Easy’ which is where I think I first heard about rap and soul artists love of ol’ Phil.

  25. 25
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 11 May 2009 #

    as i spent much of this decade interviewing people who — by view of being the wrong age or colour, or just speaking the wrong language or playing a type of music that was ignored as a job lot (because the “wrong kinds of people listened to it, see line 1) — weren’t allowed into the cognoscenti-circle of discussion, i get a bit antsy at dismissals like lonepilgrim’s, which were only all-too commonplace in the late 80s

    what i see is a generation of professional musicians having several ways they’d have be DELIGHTED to have their work engaged with sneered at, viz:
    i: the old records being made available (and them getting paid for it)
    ii: younger successive pop artists performing with them
    iii: their work getting regular favourable mention in fancy young people’s magazines

    all these apparently have fatwa declared on them: in return, they get the delightfully unpatronising treatment of the hipper-than-hipper-than-hip declaring their life’s work to be Suddenly Bland and Neutered After All, bcz (oh noes!) people are paying attention to it in larger numbers than recently!

    this was an approach to the conundrum pioneered in the second half of the 80s by the music paper i wasn’t at (or only at for a matter of weeks) where (seriously, this wasn’t a secret in the rock-paper gossip of the time) black folks generally had to pass a VERY stringent set of just-made-up ideological rules before they got any kind of attention at ALL — the nme got pretty bad at this after c.1988, but the mm pioneered the shut-out

    the solution to bad writing about good music — and bad engagement generally* — is the establishment of BETTER writing and BETTER engagement: not the cowardly erasure of an entire generation of a tradition from music’s history of itself

    *and yes, lonepilgrim is of course largely right about some of the efforts he mocks (blues brothers sets my teeth on edge, despite aretha’s performance), and the Hornby-fication Effect generally, and no, i realise he isn’t remotely to blame for the antics of a bunch of silly rock journalists (and perhaps more to the point, rock-paper editors) more than two decades ago…

    (also: seriously, i must try and stop re-fighting the battles of my youth by proxy!)

  26. 26
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 11 May 2009 #

    phil collins should have joined the john-less beatles ALONGSIDE RINGO and done burundi-beat knockoffs: ants are a kind of beetle*! and being cast as the adam would have done wonders for p mcartney*!

    *this is possibly not true
    **ok i can’t think of anything worse than Macca Ant but SAME DIF pop pickers :/

  27. 27
    lonepilgrim on 11 May 2009 #

    #25 – I agree – like Lee at #15 I was enriched by the music that Ace released in the 80s and (unlike Lee(?)) was probably introduced to Aretha, Ray Charles and Cab Calloway through the Blues Brothers movie – so my attitude to those channels is not utterly dismissive (although you would not pick up that nuance from my original post).

  28. 28
    LondonLee on 11 May 2009 #

    I was a soul snob long before the Blues Brothers I’m afraid. But hell, if it made Solomon Burke some extra cash I can’t complain too much.

    I still get worked up during American Idol when someone announces they’re going to sing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” or “Cry Baby” (which someone did the other week) and I have to scream IT WAS ERMA FRANKLIN!! IT WAS GARNETT MIMMS!! at the telly.

  29. 29
    Steve Mannion on 11 May 2009 #

    60s songs re-appearing (and often finding a bigger audience the second time around) was a trend in effect from the time I became conscious of Pop until a certain point in time I’m not sure of. Maybe it hasn’t actually happened yet although I feel this decade’s approach to and treatment of old Soul is different to what we regularly had in the 80s and 90s.

    As common as an artist simply covering an old song they loved for whatever reason (just how likely was it at the time that already-massive Collins covering the Supremes = surefire guaranteed smash hit?) would be the advert effect (kicking in around the mid-80s with Levis or are there earlier examples? I think The Hollies also benefitted from this) and the use of old songs on film soundtracks (another thing that seems to have dwindled in the 00s) which probably reached a peak at the turn of the next decade with ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Unchained Melody’s huge soundtrack-related sales. SAW’s penchant for remixing golden oldies (Petula Clarke, the Four Tops) probably irked many who bought the originals (whether or not they irked me seems more arbitrary looking back. I did like some but we could’ve had twice as many re-releases and remixes and covers topping the charts tho so should be grateful for small mercies).

    But I don’t suppose this inability to shake off the 60s was really that troublesome when there was so much else going on and plenty of different ideas all jostling for attention in the hit parade.

    Having said all that I just remembered how the much later ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’, so nearly a chart-topper was covered and charted twice more within 12 years of it’s original release. I’m glad Collins kept his tributes to a minimum, even if his take on this one beats most of his 90s output itself.

  30. 30
    AndyPandy on 11 May 2009 #

    Tom at 17: white ‘hipsters’ using black music as a short cut to cool seem to have a time lag of anything up to 20 years from contemporary black tastes though eg playing 30s and 40s blues in the 60s, 60s soul in the 80s and 70s funk in the 90s.
    And not just a time lag to black taste too as according to legendary dj James Hamilton (who’d started playing to the original mods in mid60s London and carried on playing out dance music through to the 90s)in an 80s article* the 80s equivalent of the original mods were the jazz, funk, and modern soul fans he encountered at the weekenders etc

    Pete at 20: I believe that the idea that Phil Collins said he was going to vote Tory and leave the country has been shown up to be mischief making/an urban myth by someone who didnt like him. As in various articles he has said he never said such a thing and has defied anyone to come up with anywhere where he said it…

    *strangely however this contention was in a review of a very untypical occasion when a 60s club figure Georgie Fame (of all people) DID play to an 80s dance audience when in an attempt to promote his cover of Gilberto Gil’s 80s club hit “Toda Menina Baiana” he played in one of the rooms at an 80s dance weekender.

  31. 31
    LondonLee on 11 May 2009 #

    I should add that I did really enjoy the Blues Brothers film*, what I hated was the bloody soundtrack album with Belushi and Ackroyd’s lumbering shouty cover versions** that got way too much play on pub jukeboxes round my way at the time.

    *Though I preferred The Commitments.

    **Yes, I know the original Stax/Atlantic band plays on them. They still sound crap though.

  32. 32
    Kat but logged out innit on 11 May 2009 #

    In my head this sounds a much closer relative to ‘A Town Called Malice’ than the original Supremes number (having a listen just now, there’s no organ but clearly my brain has just filled it in). Obviously the Jam are hankering after the same memories, but they seem to be ‘doing it wrong’ in the same way that Phil is here.

  33. 33
    Snif on 11 May 2009 #

    “…the use of old songs on film soundtracks (another thing that seems to have dwindled in the 00s)…”

    Probably because there aren’t any songs left to use.

  34. 34
    Pete on 12 May 2009 #

    There are plenty of old songs slathered over soundtracks at the moment. However what the 80’s had which we don’t now, is a sense of “discovery” of those records. The ads playing Percy Sledge really were initially the only opportunity the kids had back then to hear them until the re-release kicked in, unless they were vinyl junkies scouring the local record stores.

    This all changes with the advent in the UK of Gold Radio stations (Capital Gold started in 1988), CD re-releases which then allowed endless niche compilation albums where a lot of the rare stuff could be found. These days bashing it into spotify does the work. I think the chances of a re-release (if such a thing even exists these days with mp3’s being constantly available) topping the charts without some massive media event surrounding it is unlikely. Possibly getting a little ahead of ourselves here though.

    @30: Well he would say that wouldn’t he. Sadly I can’t find any evidence either, or evidence that my second choice Noel Edmonds ever said it either!

  35. 35
    ace inhibitor on 12 May 2009 #

    tom yr obviously right about the neat 3-way split in 80s culture which also corresponds all too neatly to the three ages of thatcherism. On ideological grounds I think we can safely declare all cultural products of the period from early 83 to early 87 to be intrinsically worthless, whatever their apparent formal or technical merits. I move that you abandon the original project and fast forward now.

  36. 36
    peter goodlaws on 12 May 2009 #

    I simply could not see the point of this. Little bald bloke from Genesis taking off Diana Ross whilst gurning like Pa Broon on You Tube. Once again I would suggest an older demographic as regards the buyer of this one. I could not imagine teens getting excited, even those for whom this was for all intents and purposes a new song. The only thing to say, really, is a hearfelt thanks to Collins for getting rid of R&R.

    # 16 – Nothing really to say about the interlocking or otherwise tastes of white and black music fans but can’t agree about Oona King, who has become more well known since she got stuffed by that delightful George Galloway than she ever was as an MP. Miss King is extremely nice but she’s the ultimate product of the Islington Blair brigade – isn’t she a god daughter of Antonia Fraser? As such, there’s not a doubt in my mind that she would have been mired completely in shite just like everyone else appears to be on all sides of what will be known in years to come as the Rotten Parliament.

  37. 37
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 12 May 2009 #

    (Lady) Antonia Fraser is an authentic blue-blood aristocrat and not-that-good historian who married the late Harold Pinter, authentic East End Jewish working class, made good as groundbreaking playwrite and v.sweary poet, and a biting critic of the Blair govt re the war to boot, so it’s a bit nuts to decribe Fraser as part of the “Islington Blair” set — whether or not Oona King is (for other reasons).

  38. 38
    snoball on 12 May 2009 #

    Nine year old me was already familiar with the Supremes version, with it’s lightness and harmonies. Collins was stodgy and leaden in comparison.

  39. 39
    Erithian on 12 May 2009 #

    Peter #36: Without wishing to go too far off-topic, the episode in Oona King’s autobiography when she refuses on principle to write an Evening Standard article slaughtering Ken Livingstone – and is told by Alistair Campbell: “It’s not the end of your political career, Oona. Just the next five years” – suggests she wasn’t that much of a Blair insider. And she clearly slogged her guts out for her constituents, you wouldn’t have seen her in the Big Brother house!!

  40. 40
    peter goodlaws on 12 May 2009 #

    #37 – Perhaps I should have phrased it to say that Oona King is the ultimate product of the Islington Blair brigade and ALSO the god daughter of Antonia Fraser. Certainly I recognise that Pinter did his pieces with Blair over the war. Too bad that Oona King voted for it, which is exactly why Galloway targeted her. And indeed stuffed her.

    #39 – No, far too pleasant for the Big Brother house and since I suspect she still has a career in front of her, an appearance on that vile and ignorant show (the shelf life of which must surely be soon be running out now) would, I think, be something which might well have come back to bite her on her cute little booty. Stand by for Jacqui Smith’s appearance, however!

  41. 41
    wichitalineman on 12 May 2009 #

    Re how Phil Collins became “a poster boy for the 80’s boom generation”. Technology? The more I dig into pop history the more I reckon it is possibly the greatest influence on pop culture turning points. I was working in a record shop at the time, and the advent of the cd made Dire Straits and Phil Collins (specifically Brothers In Arms and No Jacket Required) very desirable for showing off your fancy new hi fi. This meant Phil C’s popularity spread beyond middle management into aspirational youth (which made up 90% of the teen/20s population in Peterborough). Phil’s giant head on his cd covers suggested a patina of class that matched similarly ugly/shiny midi systems. C86 happened for a reason y’know… but I’m getting ahead of the game here.

    This doesn’t explain a 1983 number one, but for Phil’s early success there seems to be general agreement that Face Value is one of the rawest break-up albums ever (whether you think its dazzlingly self-pitying or not), while You Can’t Hurry Love was a novelty number one. To me, more than familiar with the original at the time – time plays tricks on how your ears hear music – it sounded very similar to the Supremes’ version except with Phil singing, ie pretty much anyone who’d thought of covering YCHL could’ve scored the number one.

    Re Blues Brothers. It’s not blackface is it? But it still makes me feel uncomfortable in a similar way. The soundtrack did a similar job to That’ll Be The Day and Stardust in the 70s, both hugely influentional on introducing my generation to songs like, errm, My Generation, One Fine Day and The Letter (on Stardust) and a swathe of 50s r’n’r like Book Of Love, I Love How You Love Me, Runaway, Bony Maronie on TBTD.

  42. 42
    Pete Baran on 12 May 2009 #

    I think you are right about the technology (and again therefore another aspirational link as CD’s were very aspirational mid eighties). Of course Phil Collins oversized bonce would also have been a lot smaller on a CD case, so there is an additional motivation!

    But YCHL is a great song competently performed with a guaranteed promotional budget. It still only feels like a number ten but that’s the charts for you. I would have preferred A Winters Tale though. It may have convinced David Essex to complete his project of recording a track of every Shakespeare play.

  43. 43
    Billy Smart on 12 May 2009 #

    3 great songs that share titles with great plays;

    Hedda Gabler: John Cale
    Seagull: Ride
    Look Back In Anger: David Bowie

  44. 44
    mike on 12 May 2009 #

    Re. AndyPandy at #30 – always good to stumble across a reference to James Hamilton! The first time I met him (in 1994, just after he started dating my stepmother), I was surprised to hear him speaking so fondly of Phil Collins… but then Phil was a bit of an old soulboy at heart, with enough good taste to hire Earth Wind & Fire’s brass section for Face Value (and a damned fine contribution they made too), and an abiding love of Motown that places this cover in the box marked “affectionate tribute”. Collins has gone on the record as saying that somewhere in the early-to-mid 80s, he reconnected with his love of pop, and Motown in particular, and that this informed his switch from tricksy jazz-prog syncopation (bye bye, Brand X) to simple backbeats.

    And there was a fair bit of Motown re-discovery going on in the charts of early 1983, as James Hamilton noted approvingly in one of his Record Mirror columns of the day – the JoBoxers’ “Boxer Beat” and Tracie’s “The House That Jack Built” spring immediately to mind – so if the likes of Paul Weller were allowed to re-appropriate, then it only seems fair to extend the permission to Phil.

    I absolutely adored Phil’s “You Can’t Hurry Love” when it came out, and I played it constantly for the first two or three weeks after I bought it. I’ve sometimes struggled to remember why, but I think Tom nails something useful when he says “Phil’s more frustrated – he’s only just found out there even was a game.” Perhaps it was that subtle shift of female-to-male interpretation that drew me in… for wholly personal reasons, as I was experiencing some intense romantic frustrations at the time, and saw the whole sphere of relationships as a game that I was desperately eager to start playing.

  45. 45
    Pete Baran on 12 May 2009 #

    3 above average songs that share their name with plays

    Once In A Lifetime: Talking Heads
    Death of a Salesman : Low
    The Caretaker : Johnny Cash

    (Waiting For Godot by Millenium’s hair metal trappings seems to miss much of the subtlety of the original).

  46. 46
    Billy Smart on 12 May 2009 #

    ‘Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)’ by The Birthday Party is probably the acme of Shakespeare songs.

  47. 47
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 12 May 2009 #

    shakespeare via tarantino!

  48. 48
    Martin Skidmore on 12 May 2009 #

    I think the CD and aspirational points are good ones, and I recall Patrick Bateman enthusing at length about a Phil Collins album in American Psycho.

    I have no objection at all to white people covering black music – the Rolling Stones are a strong contender to be my favourite band of all time, and they built their career on that. I still dislike this record because it seems a crappy cover of a lovely original. Nothing much wrong with the music, but as snoball says at #38, Phil is stodgy and leaden. I think there are thousands of people who could have given us a better vocal.

  49. 49
    Steve Mannion on 12 May 2009 #

    What makes his voice stodgy/leaden? Is it just the context of there being a previous much lighter (too light?) female vocal, or is Phil’s voice here somehow struggling more with the upbeat production here? it’s probably one of the fastest songs he ever released so maybe.

  50. 50
    LondonLee on 12 May 2009 #

    Is the point where Phil’s generation of rockers learned that you should wear shoes with a suit and not trainers? It used to wind me up no end seeing them in these dead expensive Armani suits with a pair of bloody Reeboks on.

  51. 51
    wichitalineman on 12 May 2009 #

    To Be Or Not To Be by BA Robertson is probably the worst Shakespeare-related hit. Shakespeare And All That Jazz is a very jolly, recommended pop/jazz concept album by Johnny Dankworth/Cleo Laine.

    I don’t know if stodgy is the right word, but there’s no crisper, lighter voicer than Diana Ross’s (always cuts through on AM/medium wave radio), so growly Phil is bound to sound a bit like a dentists drill by comparison.

    Re Motown Redux. Heartache Avenue by the Maisonettes from a few months earlier may may well have floated Phil’s boat. It still stands up when played out (as does Vanessa Paradis’s Be My Baby in this tricky sub genre). As for the Jo Boxers (the unlikely missing link between Subway Sect and Earl Brutus), Just Got Lucky is their best moment, about as close to Dexy’s as any of the pretenders got. Great opening line: “Your technique it leaves me weak”.

  52. 52
    Pete Baran on 12 May 2009 #

    Does Shakespeare And All That Jazz have the track where Cleo scats all the names of the Shakespeare plays over a jaunty jazz backing that Danny Baker plays occasionally. That is one crazy record.

    Gold Radio seemed a perfect bedfellow for this whole new digital age. In consigning sixties music to the crackly AM band it seemed to stress that what the mid eighties had to offer was a sonic breakthrough in sound fidelity rather than anything groundbreaking musically. It did seem a shame to ringfence that music though.

  53. 53
    Tom on 12 May 2009 #

    #51 – Stratford on Av-ee-on? Must try harder, BA.

  54. 54
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 12 May 2009 #

    i think there’s historically a hi-fi lo-fi format antagonism at work within music, with the “smooth” sounds coming to manifest as one type of class signifer and the “rough” sounds as another — except with a constantly shifting definition of “rough” and “smooth”, as new techniques and new technologies arrive (and as each generation becomes more comfortably familiar with their own established tastes: even people who crave an endless succession of RADICAL RUPTURE don’t actually hear it was rupture themselves; they hear it through the imagined ruptured ears of an imagined Other) (which Other is often actually more bored than disrupted)

  55. 55
    CarsmileSteve on 12 May 2009 #

    #48 dammit martin, i was going to mention patrick bateman!

    can’t belive it took 48 posts to get there though…

  56. 56
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 12 May 2009 #

    bateman is a super-interesting signifier here, as his liking for what’s routinely coded smooth is locked (in that fiction) into his ultra-outsider coding — by the world — as non-smooth (by which i mean that being a serial killer is NOT really generally associated, except perhaps satirically, with aspirational yuppie blandness…

  57. 57
    wichitalineman on 12 May 2009 #

    Of course! American Psycho! It made sense, too, not just a “flock of seagulls” type period gag. Shoot me down if I’m exaggerating but when P Collins had his breakthrough residency on the Jasper Carrott show circa Face Value, he wore a Middlesbrough FC top and had pot of emulsion and a paintbrush on the piano because his wife had left him for a painter and decorator from Middlesbrough. If I was her, I’d have been genuinely scared.

    Re 54: Good point. This makes Phil C the Mantovani of the 80s, doesn’t it?

  58. 58
    Brian on 12 May 2009 #

    ALthough I really liked the first two solo albums ,I always thought that Phil’s greatest strength was as great writer of ballads. I have a theory that he learned this particular craft while produing and playing on a couple of John Martyns’s albums during which they were both going through a divorce. Can’t prove it though – but it would rub off.

    YCHL , was just a novelty and not really indicative of the material on the first 2 solo albums.

    I saw Phil at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto touring “Face Value” , with Chester Thompson drumming ( as Phil sang ) and with a full horn section ( check the the instrumentals on the CD ) and Daryl Streumer on guitars…… , and the show was fantastic, although they ran out of numbers to play after many encores !

  59. 59
    Billy Smart on 12 May 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: I can’t find a list of guests for ‘Carrott’s Lib’, but Phil Collins has certainly done the rounds of British television studios;

    AL MURRAY’S HAPPY HOUR: with Phil Collins, Fiona Phillips, New Kids On The Block, Philip Glenister (2008)

    ASPEL & COMPANY: with Liza Minnelli, Phil Collins, Wayne Sleep (1986)

    ASPEL & COMPANY: with Phil Collins, Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Hanks (1988)

    ASPEL & COMPANY: with Lauren Bacall, John Sessions, Phil Collins (1993)

    THE BRITISH RECORD INDUSTRY AWARDS: with Phil Collins, Huey Lewis And The News, Kate Bush, Tears For Fears (1986)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Phil Collins, Phillip Schofield, Wet Wet
    Wet, Naomi Campbell (1994)

    DES O’CONNOR TONIGHT: with Shirley Bassey, The Spice Girls, Phil Collins, Dave Allen, Bill Bailey (1996)

    JOAN RIVERS: CAN WE TALK?: with Peter Cook, Phil Collins, Samantha Fox, Kenneth Williams, Dudley Moore (1986)

    THE KUMARS AT NO.42: with Phil Collins, Roy Wood, Anne Robinson (2004)

    THE LAST RESORT WITH JONATHAN ROSS: with Steve Nieve and the Playboys, Phil Collins (1988)

    LEO SAYER: with Phil Collins, Imagination, Linda Ronstadt, Garth Crooks (1983)

    MARK LAWSON TALKS TO…: Phil Collins (2009)

    ONE HOUR WITH JONATHAN ROSS: with Phil Collins, Steve Nieve (1989)

    PARKINSON ONE TO ONE: with Phil Collins (1988)

    POP QUIZ: with Dave Gilmour, Midge Ure, Ian Gillan, Phil Collins, Elkie Brooks, Barry Mason (1981)

    POP QUIZ: with Phil Collins, Robert Plant, Colin Moulding, Bill Bruford, Suzi Quatro, Geoff Deane (1982)

    POP QUIZ: with Phil Collins, Elvis Costello, Huey Lewis, Midge Ure, Nick Lowe, John Martyn (1984)

    ROOM 101: with Paul Merton, Phil Collins (2005)

    THIS IS YOUR LIFE: Phil Collins (1988)

    THREE OF A KIND: with Phil Collins (1983)

    THE TUBE: with Jools Holland, Paula Yates, Alex Cox, Phil Collins, Victor Kiam, Pina Palladino, Tony Beard, Go West, Muriel Gray (1985)

    WOGAN: with Ronnie Barker, Diana Rigg, Phil Collins, Nigel Dempster (1983)

    WOGAN: with Phil Collins, Brian Johnston, Ruth Madoc, The Pointer Sisters, Rory Bremner (1985)

    WOGAN: with Black, Phil Collins, Kit And The Widow, Cherry Lansing, Barbara Speake (1988)

    WOGAN: with Phil Collins, Trevor Eve, Elizabeth Quinn (1990)

  60. 60
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 12 May 2009 #

    i never read the novel but the film is pretty good given the obvious problems of the territory — directed, of course, by mary harron, who wrote a great piece on the velvet underground for nme in i think the late 70s, when they were just getting to be semi-mainstream canon over here (she also made the valerie solanas film i shot andy warhol)

  61. 61
    wildheartedoutsider on 12 May 2009 #

    RE: #28 Personally, I would say that it was Bert Berns’ “Piece Of My Heart” and Bert Berns’ “Cry Baby” (…and Bert Berns’ “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” too for that matter!). For a 30-something Jewish New Yorker he sure as Hell knew to how to write some sublime slices of soul music. When you add to that list classics like “Twist And Shout”, “Here Comes The Night”, “Cry To Me”, “I’ll Take Good Care Of You”, “Hang On Sloopy”, “I’m Gonna Run Away From You”, “Are You Lonely For Me Baby”, “Tell Him”, “One-Way Love” and “Baby Let Me Take You Home” it really does amaze me that he never seems to get the same kind of recognition as Burt Bacharach. He was a pretty useful producer too – responsible for “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Under The Boardwalk” and Barbara Lewis’s beautiful “Baby I’m Yours” amongst others!

  62. 62
    Brian on 12 May 2009 #

    I always thought Phil’s biggest strength was writing ballads. He spent a while producing and playing on John Martyn’s ” Grace & Danger ” and , I think that’s where he learned the craft.

  63. 63
    AndyPandy on 12 May 2009 #

    Mike at 44: that’s pretty amazing to me – having a post answered by someone who’s mum went out with James Hamilton! – from when I was about 14 to around about mid-20s I rarely failed to read his column in Record Mirror – a lot of it didnt mean much to me when I started ie the stuff about the clubs and weekenders etc but it all fell into place later on.

    To be honest I don’t think James Hamilton gets half the credit he should ie everyone knows that Jimmy Savile was the first dj to use two decks and a mike, that Froggy pioneered mixing in this country and that Jazzy M was the first to play house but you never hear that James Hamilton brought the idea of BPM’s to the UK and the vast majority of British djs who came up in the period from the 70s to the late 90s must have read his page at one time or another.

    Pete at 34: I hope we can find it somewhere that Dave Lee Travis or Mike Read said it though…but that would just be too good wouldnt it?

  64. 64
    wildheartedoutsider on 12 May 2009 #

    The question of whether Phil Collins was a ‘Soul Boy’ was contested quite forcefully by a guy who used to shop regularly in the store I used to manage. From what I remember this guy had met Mr Collins when he was working as an extra on one of his films and had discussed Phil’s cover of “Groovy Kind Of Love” and asked him what he thought of the original. The guy was singularly unimpressed to discover that Phil Collins thought The Minbenders had done the original and had never even heard Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles’ version. I’m not sure what this story proves but at least in retelling it I have finally made some use out of the four or five times I was told it.

  65. 65
    lonepilgrim on 12 May 2009 #

    #61 I only got a copy of Grace & Danger recently – having previously known John Martyn from Solid Air and One World – and I found it a little more 80s smooth sounding (to borrow a phrase from #54) than those earlier albums. I’m not sure whether that is a good or bad thing. I think I prefer PC when he is more in the background. I think I like my singers to be more larger than life.

    His hipness may have increased recently when he was given a positive mention by Fever Ray.

    I also just discovered via Wikipedia that this song was track 1 side 1 on the first Now that’s what I call music compilation which must count for something

  66. 66
    Tom on 12 May 2009 #

    65 comments before someone mentioned the NOW fact! You’re slipping, you lot.

  67. 67
    DV on 12 May 2009 #

    It was ages before I realised that both of the backing singers were Phil Collins.

  68. 68
    Snif on 12 May 2009 #

    Say Tom, since Adam Ant’s time is just about over, isn’t it time for somebody else’s pic up the top?

  69. 69
    Tom on 12 May 2009 #

    Are you suggesting BIG PHIL?

  70. 70
    Steve Mannion on 12 May 2009 #

    I forgot to change it to Boy George!

  71. 71
    Erithian on 13 May 2009 #

    Or there’s another George you could go for, who’s just made his TOTP debut.

  72. 72
    lonepilgrim on 13 May 2009 #

    I recommend MJ who doth bestride the 80s like a colossus.

  73. 73
    Jonathan Bogart on 13 May 2009 #

    Solo, isn’t he more late 80s?

    If I’m understanding Tom’s distinctions…

  74. 74
    Tom on 13 May 2009 #

    I remember a conversation w/Steve where we decided we’d change them every year or two (popular time) to keep things fresh. By the 00s it will naturally be Fragma all decade.

  75. 75
    Erithian on 13 May 2009 #

    JB – if it’s my post you’re replying to and not lonepilgrim’s, the chap we’re talking about sang on 5 of the UK’s top 11 best-selling singles of 1984, including one which was credited to him solo in the UK but, I believe, to his band in the US. So, solo, he’s a year or two down the line, and we can stick with Boy George (or maybe the Rum Runner’s finest) for the time being.

  76. 76
    Malice Cooper on 13 May 2009 #

    Hateful horrible man and appalling predictable karaoke style cover version that he pollutes vinyl with.

    He has made hundreds of records and I can’t think of any that I’d like to hear again

  77. 77
    pinkchampale on 13 May 2009 #

    i’m not sure i can offer any better defence than (a few) others have, but I really like this version and might even [deep breath] like it more than the original. what i think i might like is the cheery absence of reverence. i don’t get any sense that this is phil making a strained kind claim for authenticity and resectability* (hello go west), much less deploying the “sod it, lets do a motown cover” last refuge of every pop star hovering over dumperdom (ms wilde! how good to see you), but think he’s just revelling in the freedom to do what he wants, and what he wants is to do a fairly straightforward cover of a minor motown song. it has to be said though, that it’s been a while since i’ve seen the video, which, if memory serves, is a sustained assault on the viewer’s goodwill.

    i also sort of admire his (slightly chippy, and, let’s face it, largely enforced) indifference to critical respect and, while the repect he supposedly gets from the hip hop fellowship is probably a bit over-egged*, i do like his evident glee at reminding others of it.

    #57 – phil was recently interviewed on bbc4 and, as well as denying he’d ever been a tory, he said that the paintpot thing was entirely coincidental, conceeding only that his subconcious might have been at play.

    #41 – yes, the stardust soundtrack is brilliant, the first three sides of oldies anyway – don’t think I’ve ever listened to the fourth

    *or possibly not, i’ve always been struck that one of the key mayhem-makeers in the standard bit of LA riots footage is wearing an ‘invisible touch’ tour t-shirt.

  78. 78
    mike on 13 May 2009 #

    AndyPandy at #63, on James Hamilton: I’ll tell you something else, shall I? The person responsible for getting Froggy into beat-mixing was none other than… James Hamilton, who experienced an epiphany at New York’s Paradise Garage circa late 1977 (Larry Levan was on the decks, needless to say), came back, banged on about Levan’s genius to all his Southern Soul Mafia DJ mates, and got a bunch of them to come out to NYC with him a few weeks later, to witness Levan from themselves. Froggy was one of the bunch who flew over. First story James ever told me!

  79. 79
    peter goodlaws on 13 May 2009 #

    I rather think that the terrifying fact that we have reached the stage where the NOW albums started is indeed a time for reflection. Reflecting on the fact, perhaps, that it’s all down hill from here?

  80. 80
    AndyPandy on 13 May 2009 #

    Mike at 78:great story and it obviously makes his relatively forgotten status an even more unfair oversight. Its amazing how quickly mixing took off though when I started reading his page in 1979 it was already the main feature of his page and by the time I started going to clubs in 1982 every dj (and not just those on the underground South-Eastern soul/jazz-funk scene)but the most mainstreams DJs in the seediest local dives wouldnt dreamt of not mixing

    Jonathan at 73:MJ was most definitely in the UK at least as big from 1983 as he was a few years later – I think he’d died off slightly by the late 80s.’Thriller’ dominated 1983/84 like probably nothing else before or since.

  81. 81
    Jonathan Bogart on 13 May 2009 #

    Sorry yes I meant The George not MJ!

  82. 82
    Snif on 13 May 2009 #

    #77 – “…a minor motown song”

    Surely not?

    “the Stardust soundtrack is brilliant,….don’t think I’ve ever listened to the fourth”

    Some top Dave Edmunds recordings, if you like his material (a review once described him as “the Dr Who of rock”…it seemed apt)

  83. 83
    Doctor Casino on 14 May 2009 #

    Lot of interesting material in play here but all I have to say is that I just really hate the hell out of this fucking record. Absolute zero for me – and I will rep for several Collins singles! This flat, colorless waste of sound gets played once every ten minutes as background music in American grocery stores, and is most comparable to the frozen chocolate cream pies you can buy there: overfilled with air, trying to be sweet and delicious but actually tasting like nothing at all. A lousy, lousy, lousy thing, maybe not as aggressively unpleasant as “Long Haired Lover” or (name other definitive crap song on this blog) but somehow way more insulting.

  84. 84
    AndyPandy on 14 May 2009 #

    I think there’s a good case for Phil collins ubiquity to have reached its height as late as 1989 when “…But seriously” was released – this remained in the upper reaches of the charts for seemingly aeons and was one of those rare records which was omnipresent on pub juke boxes for months.
    ” …But Seriously” was so much part of the whole cutltural landscape at the time that even dutch pop house acts were having hit records with cover versions at the same time – ie Jamtronik and their version of “Another Day In Paradise”.
    And as someone mentioned Phil Collins was the kind of act that seem to have almost universal appeal for the average aspirational working class young person…as late as the start of the 90s it wouldnt be surprising to be sitting in the work van with someone who listened to the pirates and was to all intents and purposes fully involved in the house/dance scene and find a Phil Collins tape stashed amongst the mix tapes. I remember a similar situation with Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” a couple of years before when on the pre-house dance scene.

  85. 85

    though for some reason i hadn’t thought of it till this thread, collins seems a bit of an obvious counter to the widely made claim that progrock was somehow upper-middleclass through and through* — collins was a london stagekid** rather than a grammar-school or public-school poshboy, and his first work was all acting work; he was self-taught music-wise (wiki sez he can’t read music and devised a notation of his own!)

    progrock was of course very unfashionable, and — because it had done pretty well in the 70s, with a handful of its stars being vocal about tax rates and threatening become to tax exiles — easy to resent, and hugely over-punished as a result: i wonder how much of the animus against collins is down to him not really fitting

    *which it never was — from the outset it was also an outlet for bright highly musical kids from non-posh backgrounds who wanted to try something different: like punk it’s best seen as a kind of bohemian zone where all kinds were welcome if they respected the rules of the zone (actually much more welcoming than punk, as progs “rules” were musical really, rather than whatever punk’s were: at least until it became addicted to Big Expensive Spectacle)
    **there’s a pretty solid london tradition of working class theatre people

  86. 86

    how much of the animus against collins is down to him not really fitting: not very clear — i mean he doesn’t fit the prejudicial model of progrock in the way that his pals in genesis obviously do… hence, instead of being read as evidence against the model (which was “politically” useful in the in-tribe wars within art-rock) he’s cast as some kind of class traitor (maybe this is where the thatcherite charge comes from also)

    he always seemed a likeably amiable fellow to me, though i never liked genesis one bit and am not drawn to his solo stuff (perhaps i should check out Brand X)

  87. 87
    Billy Smart on 14 May 2009 #

    NMEWatch: Paul Du Noyer, 27 November 1982;

    “One day modern pop stars will reconsider covering classic soul songs, and then they’ll recall the words of Rufus Thomas: “Ah feel so UNNECESSARY!” And then they’ll drop the idea.

    One day.”

    Du Noyer awarded Single of the week to ‘Feels Like Winter Again’ by Fiat Lux. Also reviewed that week;

    Soft Cell – Where The Heart Is
    The Beat – I Confess
    Siouxsie & The Banshees – Melt
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Let’s Get This Straight From The Start
    Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Party Party
    Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Dear Addy
    Sisters Of Mercy – Alice
    David Bowie & Bing Crosby – Little Drummer Boy
    Cliff Richard – Little Town
    Marillion – Market Square Heroes
    The Kinks – Come Dancing

    Quite a week!

  88. 88

    plus datapoint that upends all theories ever: THIS!

  89. 89
    pinkchampale on 14 May 2009 #

    doesn’t robin carmody have a theory that (i’m not, I think, paraphrasing or misrepresenting too much) phil collins usurping peter gabriel in genesis *caused* thatcher to triumph over the one nation tories

  90. 90
    AndyPandy on 14 May 2009 #

    Lord at 85: and this prog as uper middle class and punk as not was one of things that pissed me of about punk as (if you exclude street punk/oi which the “tastemakers” loathed even more than prog) from my personal experience punk and prog were socio-economically drawing on the same people ie a few upper working-class, a load of lower middle-class and some more middle middle class (these intra middle class definitions meaning a lot in England).

    Basically the situation would often be dictated by age older brother into prog younger brother at a certain age when punk hit into punk.
    And of course thrown into even starker relief by all the times you read of the two musical interests being features of one persons life ie someone being into prog and then changing to punk…

    I was a bit young for both and probably felt about punk what the punks felt about prog but unlike punk I have grown to appreciate certain prog from the time when it really was progressive (c1968-75)

    …and defintely not the caricature it had become by the late 70s ie new-prog bands thinking it was all about shitty songs about elves, fantasy art work, loads of time signature changes and no tunes – which if there was one thing this music wasnt was progressive in any way..

    Educationally the kind of children who went to grammar schools and then were in the top streams of better comprehensives when the grammar schools started to disappear.

    And completely different from the kind of school I went to from 11-16 ie one of the remaining secondary moderns, where 95% were solid unreconstructed ‘all-day-doing-car-maintenance-type-syllabuses’ working class kids just about the same 95% hated punk and prog or to be more honest didnt give a shit about either.

    When I went there a lot were still Teds/Rockabillies (this was the mid-late70s!), then as us younger kids came up they all became Madness loving skins and then left as soulboys/casuals. Punk or prog didnt come into it.

  91. 91
    wichita lineman on 14 May 2009 #

    Re 85 I’d always had Phil C down as a mockney on a par with Park Life Albarn (see Buster). But I can’t find anything to prove this one way or the other. I am, however, most impressed that he ALMOST got a part in Sid and Marty Krofft’s Bugaloos:


    The advent of NOW! of course means the death knell for K-Tel and Ronco. But the first NOW! didn’t appear until xmas ’83 so there are still a few things like Headline Hits to come (not at home, can’t check which was the current K-Tel comp but I don’t think YCHL was on any of them).

  92. 92
    intothefireuk on 14 May 2009 #

    This was definitely a bit of a watershed for me. Circa 1975/76 My teen self had begun to discover Genesis and subsequently prog in a pretty big way. This in turn led to attending a number of Phil-led Genesis gigs (I was mightily pissed off I’d missed seeing Gabriel in his prime). Consequently I was more than a little familiar with dear Phil before he knocked out the solo stuff. Which is about where I jumped ship with Genesis – actually it was after ‘Duke’ where-in Collins laid seige to the Genesis sound and they churned out the soul inflected ‘Misunderstanding’ which was more than I could bear at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever with soul, being a Bowie fan as well I was equally horrified by the earlier ‘Young Americans’ – more of him later. Phil’s first solo LP was good but again the soul cross-over tunes irked. By the time he released this effort my patience had all but snapped. He is a great drummer, he is also an excellent singer and I will always have a soft spot for him, but he just doesn’t do soul.

  93. 93
    lonepilgrim on 15 May 2009 #

    re #90 I’m pretty sure that my experience was common to many – that punk was not the Year Zero or bonfire of the prog vanities of popular myth. As a teenager in the 1970s my record collection had been purchased with pocket money and wages from Saturday jobs so I was not willing to throw out my old albums when punk came along – although they weren’t played as much. However at the same time that I was buying ‘punk’ singles (a pretty broad definition including Pistols, Magazine, X- Ray Spex but also Elvis Costello) I was also buying Dub, Disco, Steely Dan, Grateful Dead, Parliament, etc. The only ‘punk’ albums I bought were ‘Marquee moon’ by Television and ‘Horses’ by Patti Smith – both of which have as many pretensions as some prog albums.
    A lot of prog seems to shy away from the libidinal and social qualities associated with rock and pop – which is probably why it appeals to gawky adolescent males. Those tricky time changes mean there’s no danger of having to dance.
    Genesis were never that progressive and after Peter Gabriel left they effectively became a tribute act – they abandoned the tougher sounds of ‘The Lamb lies down on Broadway’ and returned to the more pastoral, literary qualities of their earlier work. Eventually they would adopt a more poppy approach that would make them almost indistinguishable from Phil Collins solo work.

  94. 94
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 15 May 2009 #

    haha ‘Horses’ — which is one of my favourite records of all time evah — has MORE pretensions than any prog work i can quickly think of, INCLUDING elp’s “works vol.1”

  95. 95
    Mark M on 30 Aug 2011 #

    Re 32 (and others): In the context of a wedding disco the other night, A Town Called Malice, Collins’ version of You Can’t Hurry Love and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go did roll fairly seamlessly into one another, the ideological distinctions of the time less important the similarity of the (retro then, double retro now) beats.

  96. 96
    Gareth Parker on 2 May 2021 #

    Feels like one of the more pointless #1 hit singles to me. Collins doesn’t really do anything of note here, so this cover version remains superfluous in my view. 3/10

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