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2 drummers Phil Collins said are some of his favorites of all time

Phil Collins
Images from Magic Radio and Phil Collins' Instagram


2 drummers Phil Collins said are some of his favorites of all time

Phil Collins really became a superstar after he occupied the vocals of Genesis and started his also very successful solo career in the 80s. But, his life in music really started on the drums and his love for the instrument alive over the decades. Even though he helped in the evolution of Progressive Rock music due to his drumming in Genesis, especially in the era with Peter Gabriel as the vocalist, Collins was influenced by many different music genres.


In an interview with Modern Drummer in 1997, the musician mentioned the two drummers who are some of his favorites of all time. Rock and Roll Garage selected what the musician said about those artists over the years and his connection with some of them.

The 2 drummers Phil Collins said are some of his favorites of all time

Buddy Rich

Phil Collins was heavily influenced by Jazz when he was young and one of the drummers he mentioned was the legendary Buddy Rich. Collins even said to BBC 6 Radio back in 2016 that the American drummer was the best that had ever existed.

“I think he is (The greatest drummer of all time). You can say what you like about Buddy. A lot of people have said bad things. I met him once. First of all, with the playing alongside The Beatles and The Who, and all the pop star, I was also listening to big-band jazz.”

“So Count Basie was someone on his band. Buddy Rich and I came across this ‘West Side Story’ medley of Buddy Rich in 1965. Still is an incredible piece of work. If you never heard you should. He is on top form troughout the whole thing. So for me, I just wanted to do that one day. Which is why I did my big band,” Phil Collins said.

He performed with Buddy Rich’s Big Band

Rich died in 1987, when Collins already was a famous and respected musician. Even though they met each other, they didn’t had the chance to play together. But in the 90s after Collins decided to leave Genesis, he formed his own Big Band for a period and did a lot of shows. In 1998, he was invited by Buddy Rich’s daughter to be part of a tribute concert for her father. It featured her father’s big band being led by Collins.

The musician accepted that invitation and the show had songs from Buddy Rich, The Beatles, Phil Collins and more. He talked in a documentary called “A Salute To Buddy Rich” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), that showed the making-of the tribute show, about Rich’s influence. “I think it would be impossible for anybody, to not get something, to not get something out of watching Buddy.”

The musician continued recalling that one he was rehearsing for his solo career with his band and all the musicians were packing up to leave. But somebody turned the TV and a video of Buddy Rich’s “Birdland” was being played. According to him, that drew all the crew close to the TV screen to see the performance. It left everybody wondering how he used to play like that.

The first time that Collins remembers that he heard the American drummer was around 1966. That was the year he bought the record “Swinging New Big Band”.

Phil Collins continued:

“I remember the day I got it. I remember looking at the picture (and saying): ‘So this is that man’. Then going back and listening to it. Of course, the ‘West-Side Story Medley’, which is still one of my favorite pieces of music,” Phil Collins said.

The Genesis drummer and singer also said that he heard everything that he wanted to do in that piece of music. According to him everything was perfect on that album. That made him go back to the record store and buy everything they from Buddy Rich.

Harold Jones

Another drummer that Phil Collins mentioned as one of his favorites of all time is the also American musician Harold Jones. He was born more than two decades after Buddy Rich and it was also very influential especially in Tradional Pop and Jazz. He is best known for his work with Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra.

“I wanted to play in a big band ever since I heard Buddy Rich’s ‘West Side Story’ medley. Buddy along with Basie drummer Harold Jones, are two of my all-time favorites. The way they played with that energy and technique. (That) was a real inspiration for me,” Phil Collins told Modern Drummer in 1997.

Jones has also toured and recorded with several other legendary musicians like Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King and Ray Charles.

In his biography book “Not Dead Yet”, Collins said that Buddy Rich’s “Swinging New Big Band” album was his “gateway drug to a wonderful new world”. He credited that record to make him go and discover many other incredible jazz musicians. One of them being Harold Jones.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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