Home Music Music Lists

Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Phil Collins Songs

Your picks include ‘In the Air Tonight,’ ‘Against All Odds’ and ‘Easy Lover’

Phil Collins

Frans Schellekens/Redferns

Phil Collins recently told the press that he's writing new songs and contemplating a return to the road, possibly with Genesis. He was the hardest-working man of the 1980s, but with the exception of the Genesis reunion tour of 2007, he's largely been retired for the past decade.

"I think he got himself into a bit of a hole and that's great news he's coming out of it," Peter Gabriel recently told Rolling Stone. "It doesn't have to involve work, but if it does, that's a great indicator." We asked our readers to select their favorite Phil Collins solo songs. Click through to see the results. 


Play video

2. ‘Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)’

The soundtrack to the 1984 Jeff Bridges movie Against All Odds is like a mini Genesis reunion. Peter Gabriel contributed the track "Walk Through the Fire" and Mike Rutherford's solo song "Making a Big Mistake" also appears. However, very few people remember either of those songs since they were completely overshadowed by Phil Collins' powerful title track.

The song began in 1981 as a demo called "How Can You Just Sit There?" Phil fleshed it out after watching a rough cut of Against All Odds. It's used all throughout the movie, and peaked at Number Two on the Hot 100. It was nominated for an Oscar, but lost out to Stevie Wonder's "The Woman in Red." Oscar producers wouldn't even let Phil sing the song because they were unfamiliar with his tune, forcing him to sit in the audience and watch Ann Reinking tackle it. The song has since been covered by Mariah Carey and countless others. 

Play video

1. ‘In the Air Tonight’

The haunting "In the Air Tonight" is Phil Collins' first solo hit. Despite all the success he's had since, it remains the most famous work of his entire career. "That's going to be on my headstone," Collins said earlier this month. "He came. He wrote 'In the Air Tonight.' He. . . died."

The lyrics have been analyzed for decades and are the source of a persistent urban legend that Collins saw a man refuse to save another man from drowning, but the truth is significantly more boring. They simply came to Phil one day at his house while he was messing around with an early drum machine. The anger evident in the song is loosely directed at his ex-wife, but there's no grand story behind it. Collins swears he offered the song to Genesis, but the rest of the guys claim to have no memory of this. Whatever the truth, he released it on his own and it became a global sensation. Every few years, another soundtrack or commercial introduces it to a whole new audience. 

Show Comments