Phil Collins joined the British Progressive Rock band Genesis in 1970, primarily as the drummer and becoming also their vocalist after Peter Gabriel left in 1975. With Collins as the frontman, alongside Tony Banks on keyboards and Mike Rutherford on guitar/bass, the band became less Progressive, making their sound more commercial, what made them even more successful.
Since he was teenager, Collins listened to many different kinds of music what inspired him a lot during his career. He even revealed once which was the American Disco band he always loved.
The American Disco band that Phil Collins said he always loved
A genre of Dance music, Disco emerged from the United States urban nighlife scene. With an up-beat tempo, the songs were extremely popular and were played on the radio all the time, what made the music style very successful at the time, especially in the U.S.A.
At that time, many bands experimented with their sound, being influenced by Disco music. As Phil Collins revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, Earth, Wind & Fire was a band that he always loved. Formed in Chicago, Illionois in 1969, the band mixed many different genres, including R&B, Soul, Funk, Pop and Latin, becoming also known as a Disco group especially in the late 70s.
Collins declared his love for the American group when he talked about his solo career track “Easy Lover”, written with Philip Bailey, who is a member of the group. “I always loved Earth, Wind & Fire. In 1984 I was asked if I would produce Philip Bailey’s solo album. People were leaning on him, racially — ‘Don’t come back with a white album. You’re one of us.’
“So Philip got Nathan East to play on it also. We hit some rocky ground early on. But we worked everything out. Near the end of the sessions, Philip said, ‘We haven’t written anything together on this album.'”
“So we just started having a jam one night, and went round and round. (It) turned it into a verse and a chorus. We recorded it that night so we wouldn’t forget it. That song doesn’t sound like any particular era. It’s just fantastic. 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 color of beige,” Phil Collins said.
The track was released as a single by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins. Also being featured on Bailey’s album “Chinese Wall” released in 1984.
Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the inspirations for his first solo album
Released on Phil Collins’ debut album “Face Value”, the hit “In The Air Tonight” surprised many listeners because of it’s pop sound. He was asked about that in an interview with Classic Rock in 2021 and recalled how he always loved Pop bands, including Earth, Wind & Fire.
“‘Face Value’ had a huge variety of songs on it. I was listening to The Beatles, Count Basie, Weather Report, Earth Wind & Fire, Neil Young. They all featured in my life. So I kind of wrote songs like them. I remember doing ‘In The Air Tonight’ at Live Aid. (Pete) Townshend said: ‘Are you going to do that fucking song again?’ As it was the only one I ever played,” Phil Collins said.
After more than five decades on the road, Earth, Wind & Fire have released 21 studio albums. They are one of the best-selling bands of all time and have sold an estimated amount of more than 90 million records worldwide.
They also received many prizes, including 6 Grammys out of 17 nominations. Some of their most famous tracks are “September”, “Let’s Groove”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “Reasons”.