The 10 greatest Phil Collins songs ever, ranked
28 March 2022, 11:41
He was quite the unlikely pop superstar. From joining Genesis as a drummer to becoming one of the world's most popular singers, Phil Collins is a true pop and rock legend.
- Why this tense performance of 'In the Air Tonight' by Phil Collins is SO GOOD
- How Phil Collins' 20-year-old son Nicholas took over as Genesis drummer
- The 10 best Phil Collins-era Genesis songs, ranked
We've selected a handful of our absolute favourite solo Phil tunes from his hugely successful career - is yours in there?
One More Night
Phil Collins - One More Night (Official Music Video)
Another number one for Phil in the States, this ballad came about when Phil was playing around with his drum machine, and he started saying the chorus of the song.
He later recalled that the writing of the song, which has no particular hook, was completed "very quickly". Simple, but effective.
Separate Lives (with Marilyn Martin)
Phil Collins - Separate Lives (Official Music Video)
This duet was recorded for the White Nights soundtrack, which also featured Lionel Richie's 'Say You, Say Me'. In fact, it just lost out on an Oscar to Lionel!
Written by Stephen Bishop, the song gave Phil another top 5 hit in the UK in 1985.
Phil Collins - Sussudio (Official Music Video)
ANOTHER number one in the States for Phil. He later said that he "improvised" the lyric of song's title. He was playing around with a drum machine, and the lyric "su-sussudio" was what came out of his mouth.
"So I kinda knew I had to find something else for that word, then I went back and tried to find another word that scanned as well as 'sussudio,' and I couldn't find one, so I went back to 'sussudio'", he said. According to Phil, the lyrics are about a schoolboy crush on a girl at school. Was her name Sue Suedio?
You Can't Hurry Love
Phil Collins - You Can't Hurry Love (Official Music Video)
Originally a massive hit for The Supremes in 1966, Phil decided to cover the soul anthem 16 years later.
He said: "The idea of doing 'Can't Hurry Love' was to see if Hugh Padgham and I could duplicate that Sixties sound. It's very difficult today because most recording facilities are so much more sophisticated than they were back then.
"It's therefore hard to make the drums sound as rough as they did on the original. That's what we were going after, a remake, not an interpretation, but a remake."
Phil Collins - Two Hearts (Official Music Video)
This song was co-written with Lamont Dozier (of Motown's Holland-Dozier-Holland), and was composed for the 1988 movie Buster, in which Phil also starred.
The soundtrack also contained the number one cover of 'A Groovy Kind of Love', and it took us right back to the 1960s.
Can't Stop Loving You
Phil Collins - Can't Stop Loving You (Official Music Video)
Writer Billy Nicholls first released this song in 1977, before Leo Sayer scored a UK top 10 with it a year later.
Over 20 years later, Phil Collins recorded a cover version as the lead single for his seventh solo album.
Nicholls later said of the song: “It is a fictitious lyric and its poignancy stems from my not wanting to leave my then-young family.”
Easy Lover (with Philip Bailey)
Philip Bailey, Phil Collins - Easy Lover (Official Music Video)
Phil Collins was producing American singer Philip Bailey’s new album in 1984 when Bailey approached him at the end of the sessions and asked him to write a song together.
Collins later said of the song: “The hip-hop brigade fell in love with me after ‘Easy Lover’. They were like, ‘Where’d that come from? That ain’t black music and that ain’t white music. That’s kind of an interesting colour of beige”.
Against All Odds
Phil Collins "Against All Odds"
The ultimate ballad sees Phil implore an ex-lover to "take a look at me now", knowing that reconciliation is "against all odds" while considering it worth a shot.
It was recorded for the movie of the same name and reached number one in the States. It was later a number one in the UK for both Mariah Carey with Westlife in 2000 and X Factor winner Steve Brookstein in 2005.
Another Day in Paradise
Phil Collins - Another Day In Paradise (Official Music Video)
This ballad saw Phil sing the tune from a third-person perspective, looking at a man crossing the street to ignore a homeless woman, imploring listeners not to turn a blind eye to those in need.
It became Phil's seventh and final number one single in America, while David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash appears on backing vocals.
In the Air Tonight
Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight (Official Music Video)
Phil Collins’ debut solo single is especially famous for its drum break towards the end. He wrote the song amid the grief he felt after divorcing his first wife, Simone.
The lyrics take the form of a dark monologue directed towards an unnamed person. An urban legend has claimed that it's about a drowning incident in which someone who was close enough to save the victim did not, while Collins, who was too far away to help, looked on.
The song was famously used in a Dairy Milk advert in 2007, in which a gorilla drummed along to it, because why not?