Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Scott Shetler
Phil Collins: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Facts
Eligible Since: 2007
Grammy Awards/Nominations: 8/27 (as a solo artist)
Career Top 40 Hits: 21 (as a solo artist)
Essential Tracks: In the Air Tonight, The Roof is Leaking, I Missed Again, You Can’t Hurry Love, I Don’t Care Anymore, Against All Odds, Easy Lover, Sussudio, One More Night, Take Me Home, A Groovy Kind of Love, Another Day in Paradise, I Wish It Would Rain Down, You’ll Be in My Heart
Essential Albums: Face Value, Hello, I Must Be Going!, No Jacket Required, …But Seriously
Genesis drummer and singer Phil Collins branched out to a far more successful solo career than anyone could have imagined, selling millions of albums and winning Grammy and Academy Awards.
From “In the Air Tonight” to “Sussudio” to “Another Day in Paradise,” Collins showed a consistent ability to write and record hits in rock, dance-pop, and adult contemporary styles.
Collins is already a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis, but many fans believe he deserves induction as a solo artist as well. Will Phil Collins ever get inducted for his solo work? Let’s consider his chances.
Phil Collins’ Rock Hall Credentials
Let’s start with commercial success, because few other artists sold as many albums in the 1980s. His run of four albums – Face Value, Hello, I Must be Going!, No Jacket Required, and …But Seriously – combined to go 24x platinum.
Collins scored 21 Top 40 hits in the U.S., nabbed 27 Grammy nominations, and famously performed at Live Aid on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Against All Odds” was the song that took Collins to a new level, soaring to #1 in 1984 and earning Oscar and Grammy nominations. The song from the film of the same name proved that Collins could write a straightforward pop ballad, and it showed off a strong vocal performance.
That kicked off a string of 13 consecutive Top 10 hits that would stretch into 1990 and include six additional chart-toppers, including the sweet ballad “One More Night,” the brass-heavy “Sussudio,” the Motown-influenced “Two Hearts,” and the thought-provoking smash “Another Day in Paradise.”
While many of Collins’ ballads were not loved by critics, his early years featured more experimental rock songs, like “In the Air Tonight,” “The Roof is Leaking,” and “I Don’t Care Anymore,” which did garner critical acclaim. Those songs still earn airplay on classic rock radio to this day.
“In the Air Tonight” is one of the all-time classics in popular music history. The way its quiet, brooding verses led into the dramatic drum crash set a template that would be followed by many other artists in the years to come.
Collins’ solo success started to slip with the Both Sides album in 1993, although the single “Everyday” remains an underrated song. Later singles “Dance Into the Light” and a remake of “True Colors” are also underappreciated. He scored a big comeback with the Tarzan soundtrack in 1999, which earned his only Oscar.
Influence is an important factor in Rock Hall consideration, and Phil Collins can rightfully say that he influenced a number of artists who came after him. And not just pop artists – interestingly, Collins was beloved by R&B and hip hop performers as well.
In 2001, the Phil Collins tribute album Urban Renewal was released, featuring acts like Brian McKnight, Pharrell, Lil Kim, and Brandy. If you’ve never heard that album, go listen to Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s strange version of “Sussudio” right this very minute.
Eminem mentioned “In the Air Tonight” on his smash hit “Stan,” and in 2003 Bone Thugs N Harmony invited Collins to appear as a featured artist on their hit “Home,” which sampled “Take Me Home.” Questlove is among the modern artists who have cited Collins as an influence.
A member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Phil earned 8 Grammy Awards as a solo artist and another with Genesis. He took home Record of the Year for “Another Day in Paradise.”
Collins wrote and produced for other artists as well. He produced for acts like the Four Tops, Eric Clapton, and Frida. Notably, Collins produced the remixed version of Howard Jones’ “No One is to Blame,” which was a bit of a mess in its original form before Collins polished and smoothed out its rough edges, helping to turn it into a Top 5 hit.
Phil joins Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney as the only artists to sell 100 million albums as both a solo artist and a member of a band. That’s incredibly exclusive company, and it should earn him Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
The Case Against Phil Collins
One of the main reasons people tired of Collins in the ’80s was they simply got sick of hearing his music. He was ubiquitous. Remember that in addition to his own hits, he was still lighting up the charts with Genesis hits like “Invisible Touch” and “In Too Deep.”
Phil himself later acknowledged, “I can look back now and see how annoying I must have been to people in the ’80s and ’90s. I seemed to be everywhere.”
While hearing Collins on the radio every five minutes did get old, that shouldn’t be a negative. Having catchy songs that dominated radio should be viewed as a good thing.
Collins earned some criticism for recording sappy love songs, in the same vein as folks like Richard Marx and Michael Bolton. Some of those songs, notably “Separate Lives,” may have deserved the scorn.
But the difference between those guys is that Phil has more of a rock background, with his years in Genesis and his years behind the drum kit. He was much more than just a balladeer or a Disney soundtrack singer.
For the second half of his solo career, Collins wasn’t a critical favorite. But a lack of support from rock critics hasn’t stopped lots of other acts from getting inducted.
The Verdict: Will Phil Collins Ever Get Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
It’s more likely than not that Phil will get the Hall call. But I’m not sure it will happen in the near future.
We know that Questlove is a big fan of Phil Collins, but are there enough other influential supporters to get Phil in? That remains to be seen.
Fan encouragement can sometimes help an artist’s Rock Hall case. If so, Phil is in good shape, as the site Get Phil Voted In is working hard to create momentum.
My guess is that Phil Collins will ultimately earn Rock Hall induction, but it may not happen while he’s still alive. Which is a shame.
Phil Collins is an accomplished drummer, songwriter, vocalist, and producer, and he deserves to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Phil Collins
Odds of Getting Inducted Next Year: 10%
Odds of Getting Inducted in the Next Five Years: 25%
Odds of Getting Inducted Eventually: 55%
Do you think Phil Collins will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame someday? Leave a comment and let us know!