Phil Collins officially not dead yet; to play Hyde Park in June 2017
Return of the cheeky, Motown-loving Most Controversial Man In Rock
Well, well. Phil Collins. We meet again, sir. It seems reports of your retirement were…exaggerated. The cheeky, diminutive, balding everybloke of lite-prog-rock and 80s British soul is playing British Summer Time at Hyde Park on Fri 30 Jun 2017, billed as 'Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet'.
A few years ago it was open season on Mr Collins, especially among people who regularly eat ceviche and who use the unread Guardian sports section to line the cat litter tray (come on, we've all done it). Hateful words were thrown about, such as 'smug', 'vacuous' and 'Conservative'. David Bowie referred to his unloved 80s output as 'my Phil Collins years'. Noel Gallagher sneered 'Just because you sell lots of records, it doesn't mean to say you're any good': well, you'd know, pal.
With hindsight, it all seems very silly. For all the ink and stink and outright lies, the only good thing that came of disrespecting Collins was a hilariously uncomfortable scene in American Psycho ('Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial, and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way… Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it.') Collins is a much-underrated drummer who, whatever you think of Genesis, made memorable contributions to classic albums by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, and if his hits have become overly familiar, the same is true of everyone who's ever been mega-famous.
The truth is, music is bigger than people's opinions about it, and when we look down on musicians we're usually looking down on their fans. The reason Collins is playing Hyde Park is that his five dates in the Albert Hall (Sun 4–Fri 9 Jun) have already sold out. People love the guy, and if you're seriously claiming that your neck hairs haven't ever stood up to 'In the Air Tonight', and you really haven't ever wanted to click your fingers to 'You Can't Hurry Love', then you have no music in your soul. Have you considered getting Oasis back together?
Phil Collins plays BST at Hyde Park, London on Fri 30 Jun 2017. Tickets go on sale from 9am on Fri 11 Nov.