The Farr Side: Phil Collins' solo career deserves Rock Hall recognition

·4 min read

As time goes by, I’m going to do my best to arbitrate the cause for why some artists, bands and musicians deserve to be recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’m not saying everyone needs a blue ribbon, but music is a participation sport. And, over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of being entertained by some outstanding artists who have become a part of the fabric of our lives.

Recently, I toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for the second time. It’s such an awesome experience and it’s cool to see how it has evolved through the years. It is an amazing place if you want to experience the thrill of it all from the beginning.

I’ve often had to defend those who’ve been enshrined in the Rock Hall for various reasons. Although music taste is subjective, rock 'n' roll is inclusive and reflects the times, trends, styles and influences. I think that’s what makes it so special.

We have seen some artists inducted more than once because of multiple contributions. All of The Beatles have. Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks and Tina Turner have been inducted more than once, as part of a group and solo. Each of these artists has deserved the double-accolade.

Peter Gabriel is another example. He is inducted as a member of Genesis (2010) and as a solo artist (2014). His contributions in both avenues warrant the acknowledgements, for sure. But what about Phil Collins? It boggles my mind to think that his solo career hasn’t put him in the Hall yet. This man deserves to be inducted.

Collins is 71. We all have seen clips of him on stage during Genesis’ farewell tour that ended in March of this year. His health has declined, and he was seen most times perched on a stool for much of the tour. Should that matter? And furthermore, is that even newsworthy material? Regardless of his health challenges, he still did it. And the band was better because of it.

I am a Genesis fan and recognize both the contributions of Gabriel and Collins to the band. But when Collins branched off to do his own thing, he was even better. Collins has been an incredible drummer. I’ve witnessed his magic twice in concert and came away in awe both times. Taking over for Gabriel as lead singer of Genesis only fueled his passion for singing.

Let’s make note of a few of his achievements. Phil Collins is one of only three artists who have sold more than 100 million albums as both a solo artist and as a member of a group. The others? Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

Collins has released eight studio albums that have sold more than 150 million copies. He has earned eight Grammys, six Brit Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award and a Disney Legend Award. His solo work and with other artists including Genesis afforded him more Top 40 hits than any other artist in the 1980s.

I remember it like it was yesterday, at home watching the "Live Aid" shows in 1985. Collins was the only artist to perform at both venues, in London and Philadelphia, the same day. Do I have to remind you there’s an ocean in-between?

In addition to his skills as one of music’s all-time best drummers, he also is an accomplished pianist. His styles have carefully blended pop, synth, rock, big band and his deep love for the old Motown sound of the '60s.

Beyond all that, glance at his track record of hit singles: 50 in all. “In The Air Tonight,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now),” “Sussudio,” “One More Night,” “Take Me Home,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” “Don’t Lose My Number,” “Another Day in Paradise,” “Do You Remember?,” “Easy Lover” (w/ Phillip Bailey), “Separate Lives” (w/ Marilyn Martin), “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” “You’ll Be in My Heart” and “I Wish It Would Rain Down” are just a tip of the iceberg of his long list of great songs.

David T. Farr is a Journal correspondent. Email him at 

David T. Farr
David T. Farr

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: It boggles my mind: Phil Collins' solo career hasn’t put him in the Rock Hall