To say, as one BBC documentary did back in 2000, that “critics sneer at Phil Collins” is to be guilty of a massive understatement. For as long as I can remember, critics have loathed Phil Collins and most of his fellow musicians haven’t had much good to say either. Who can forget Noel Gallagher imploring the British public to vote for Labour because “if you don’t and the Tories get in, Phil Collins is threatening to come back and live here. And let’s face it, none of us want that.” And, of course, in American Psycho, Patrick Bateman vigorously defended Phil Collins as a musical genius and both hookers and audiences laughed.
It’s easy to understand how the fatigue with Phil Collins set in. In the 80s through the mid 90s, he was everywhere. His songs were hits but many of them sounded so similar that they were difficult to keep straight. Music critics love authenticity and that was often what Phil Collins seemed to be lacking.
Still, you can’t deny that the man sold a lot of records. Critics and hipsters may not have liked him but, for a while there, everyone else couldn’t wait to hear the latest from Phil Collins. For me, Phil Collins’s music will always be a guilty pleasure. He’s easy to mock but his music epitomizes an era and still holds up better than something from Michael Bolton.
This cover of The Mindbenders’s A Groovy Kind of Love appeared in the movie Buster, which was an attempt to turn Phil Collins in a film star. The movie took place in the 60s and the soundtrack is full of music from that era. This was one of two songs that Collins recorded for the film’s soundtrack. The other was Two Hearts, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
The video is one of the many videos that find Phil Collins sitting in a dark room and singing. While singing, he watches scenes from Buster. The film did well in the UK and less well in the States. Some critics complained that the film glorified crime (it was about the real-life Great Train Robbery), which led to Prince Charles and Princess Diana canceling plans to attend the film’s London premiere. Collins later stated that he was the one who told Charles that he should stay home in order to save him from any embarrassment. Telling royalty to stay away from your movie for their own good is classic Phil Collins.