Phil Collins's frontman talents lay dormant for many years when he was the drummer for prog-rockers Genesis, taking a back seat to Peter Gabriel. When Gabriel quit in 1975, Collins stepped out from behind the drums and made Genesis a hit-making machine throughout the 1980s. Collins also launched a successful solo career as a pop singer, which he kept going in conjunction with Genesis until he became a full-time solo artist in 1996 (though he and Gabriel returned for a 1999 Genesis reunion). As a solo artist, Collins released highly personal and introspective work (not always as commercially viable), wrote a hit soundtrack song for Disney's TARZAN, jammed with Paul McCartney and Ozzy Osbourne, formed a big band to perform jazz versions of his many hits, and played drums for Queen Elizabeth II's "house" band at Buckingham Palace.
For better or worse, Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight" was the "Stairway to Heaven" of the '80s, winning radio stations' listener polls and even lending its designer threat to an episode of Miami Vice. Hits recalls the days when the Collins name on a disc ensured its immediate embrace by programmers and the public. How you feel about these songs will depend on how you felt about them then; despite the undeniable niceness of "Take Me Home" and "One More Night," they're unlikely to win over anyone who didn't adore them to begin with. Those who cared, though, will no doubt be gladdened to find most of Collins's biggest tunes together on one disc. --Rickey Wright