Phil Collins is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, both as a solo performer and with his band Genesis. His solo sales total has topped 150 million worldwide, his sales with Genesis have topped 100 million, and he has won an Oscar, two Golden Globes and seven Grammy awards.
As part of our ongoing series, he chose “She Loves You” by The Beatles as the song that changed his life. Collins’ latest album is “Going Back,” a collection of covers of the Motown records that inspired him to become a musician. In recent years, a serious back injury has made it difficult for Collins to play, and he recently announced his retirement from music.
JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. Phil Collins is one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century; both on his own, and as a member of Genesis. As part of our ongoing series, we asked him to tell us about the song that changed his life.
PHIL COLLINS: I found this whole thing very difficult to choose one song. I think in terms of something that changed your life, for me, it would have to be the first time I heard The Beatles; She Loves You was the song, everything from the first drum fill. It was just an in your face song about love that hadn’t really been expressed with such energy. I came from a house where my sister listened Neil Sedaka, my brother listened to Jim Reeves, so this was a whole new breath of fresh air. Playing air guitar in front of the mirror pretending to be John Lennon — even though I had very short hair, I was desperately trying to make it curl up in the back like theirs did. It was all new and exciting and the beginning of something rather than being the end of something. It was like this had never been done before. The harmonies sounded like nothing that you’d ever heard before, the way it was produced, the way it was performed; it was really genuinely a joyous sound. The very last chord they sing in harmony is quite a complicated chord. I think this is probably George Martin, the producer. Those kinds of moments still sound like they were recorded yesterday.
JESSE THORN: Phil Collins talking about the song that changed his life. His latest album, Going Back, recalls that period in his life when he fell in love with The Beatles; it’s a record full of Motown covers. You can find information about Phil Collins online at philcollins.co.uk.
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
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