An Open Letter to Phil Collins: Please Don't Quit

Phil Collins, rock god.
Phil Collins, rock god.

Dear Phil Collins:

I just heard that you're retiring from the music business, mainly because years of drumming caused hearing loss, a dislocated vertebrae, and nerve damage. Seriously? You can't quit, Phil. You're iconic. It's just that no one really realizes how iconic you are.

I don't know why, but for some reason, you and Billy Joel (whom I also love) can have a thousand hit songs and still get no respect. Maybe it's because you never wore leather and even in your 20s you looked more like an accountant than a rocker. Or maybe it's because you tend to write love ballads for the worst movies in the history of cinema (Against All Odds comes to mind first; then there's "Separate Lives" from White Nights, a movie that had Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov playing dancers in Russia, only one of them being successful at the attempt) or that you wrote for Disney (I was one of the seven people who actually watched Tarzan).

But do people remember the good stuff? What about "In the Air Tonight" ? That's one of the most hauntingly memorable drum riffs in music. Or what about that song from Tarzan, "You'll Be in My Heart," which won an Academy Award for best song? 

But most of all, I love your videos. Videos came of age in the '80s, and you embraced the medium. Your videos told a story, and you weren't afraid to be in them -- balding head and all. When other bands were hiring models in fishnets to writhe around on the floor, you were getting into the head of a stray dog, riding in helicopters (see below!) and looking like my crazy uncle Bobby (the one who always drank too much at holiday dinners).

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Phil, I just want you to reconsider. You have fans. I know because I Googled "Phil Collins Fan Club" and actually got some results. Besides, Phil, you're a rock star. So what if you sold out to television and movies? You were just ahead of your time. Look now -- Bono wrote a crappy Broadway musical, the Beatles are selling computers, and freaking Bob Dylan did a Pepsi commercial.

If you're in pain, go take some OxyContin and wash them down with vodka. Hey! maybe then the industry will forget about "Sussudio" and show some respect.


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