Goodbye, Genesis: Remembering Phil Collins’ Departure
“Genesis, one of the most successful rock bands in the world, are currently seeking a vocalist.”
So began the press release that Hit & Run Management faxed out to media outlets around the world 18 years ago today. It was a decidedly low-key way for Genesis to announce the departure of one of rock ‘n’ roll radio’s most recognizable voices from their ranks, but perhaps the band didn’t want to dwell on the matter any longer than necessary…or attach any undue sentimentality to the proceedings, either, apparently, given that the release went on to say, “For the past 20 years, drummer Phil Collins has been temping as a singer, to great acclaim. Now however he has decided to move on in order to concentrate on his solo projects.”
Presumably the “temping” thing was just a bit of gentle teasing from Collins’s cohorts, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, given that our man Phil couldn’t have been more pleasant and polite in his formal statement on the matter:
“Having been with Genesis for 25 years, I felt it time to change direction in my musical life. For me now it will be music for movies, some jazz projects and of course my solo career. I wish the guys in Genesis all the very best in their future. We remain the best of friends.”
It would not be entirely untrue to suggest that Collins’s departure from Genesis didn’t exactly do any favors for the band: his eventual replacement, Ray Wilson, late of the band Stiltskin, lasted for precisely one album – 1997’s Calling All Stations – and a brief tour before he was abruptly handed his walking papers. Since then, though, Collins has reunited with the band on a few occasions, most notably for the 2007 Turn It On Again tour, and continues to sporadically suggest that he might well join forces with Banks and Rutherford again for some shows. Mind you, it may never come to pass, but, hey, it’s probably more likely to happen with Phil than Peter Gabriel, right?
As we continue to wait – possibly in vain – for a time when Phil’s fronting Genesis again, here’s a playlist to remind us of the highlights of what he did with the band back in the day.