Phil Collins reissues solo albums

The Grammy winner retired from music in 2011 but, encouraged by his children, has started working on new songs

Phil Collins put updated images of himself in the same style and pose for all eight albums, including Dance Into The Light, Face Value, Hello, I Must Be Going! and Both Sides.
Phil Collins put updated images of himself in the same style and pose for all eight albums, including Dance Into The Light, Face Value, Hello, I Must Be Going! and Both Sides.PHOTO: WARNER MUSIC SINGAPORE

It is no secret that English music star Phil Collins has a thing about putting his face prominently on his album covers.

When it came to putting out reissues of some of his most prominent solo albums from the 1980s and 1990s, he chose to update the covers with newer photos of himself in the same style and pose - wrinkles, crow's feet and all.

It is not about ego, the 65-year- old says in a telephone interview from New York. "I did it because I thought it's important for people to know that I was involved with this."

He is also known as the singer and drummer of progressive-rock veterans Genesis. His solo efforts and works with Genesis have sold 150 million albums, making him one of the world's best-selling pop acts.

He says: "Normally, reissues are a record company thing, you know. They remaster the albums, they reissue, the artist sometimes doesn't have too much to do with it.

"But I wanted to do something a little new, so we added a second CD, the live material and demos, and we reshot all the album covers. It felt like people could see straightaway that I was involved in it."

Dance Into The Light.

Face Value.

Hello, I Must Be Going!

Both Sides.

Collins, who holds the record for the most number of Top 40 hits in the American charts in the 1980s, will reissue all eight of his solo albums in the Take A Look At Me Now campaign. The name is taken from his 1984 single Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), which was his first No. 1 song in the American charts. The song is the soundtrack for the 1984 romantic- thriller film of the same name.

Two albums were released last month - his 1981 solo debut album Face Value, which includes his trademark song In the Air Tonight, and 1993's Both Sides, which includes British Top 10 hit Both Sides Of The Story.

Two more albums will also be out - 1992's Hello, I Must Be Going! and 1996's Dance Into The Light.

Taking the updated photos again for the latter proved to the most difficult because unlike the other portraits, this one showed him in the middle of a dance move.

"That was the one I was dreading because physically, I'm not the person I was 20 years ago," says Collins, who had back surgery last year.

"I remember going to the photograph studio, stretching and limbering up, which I've never done. I was pretty scared but it scared me into doing it right almost straightaway. We almost got it with the first few shots and then we just kind of fine-tuned it."

Collins, who was recently photographed moving about with a walking stick, says: "I've got a foot that is fractured. I fell a couple of times after the back surgery, but eventually, that will be okay."

While he has his fair share of critics who say his mediocre output does not justify his ubiquity in the commercial pop world, he has won seven Grammy Awards and a Best Original Song Oscar for his theme song for the 1999 animated Tarzan film.

Collins has started working on new songs again, a surprising move as in 2011, he stated his intention to retire from music and focus on family life .

He says: "To some extent, it was my kids, my younger children, they've been giving me lots of encouragement to write new stuff, to go out and do some shows."

He has been married three times and has five children, including actress Lily Collins, 26, his daughter from his marriage to second wife, American Jill Tavelman.

The British press recently reported that he is planning to remarry his third wife, Swiss national Orianne Cevey, 43. They were originally married from 1999 to 2008.

Explaining why he is making a comeback to music, he says: "I've met quite a few people over the years. And people have been saying, 'We miss what you do, why don't you come out and do it again, even if you can't play, just sing.'

"You know, it kind of makes you start to think, why am I not doing it, so I'm much more positive about that than a couple of years ago."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Phil Collins reissues solo albums'. Print Edition | Subscribe