Philip David Charles Collins was born in Chiswick, Hounslow, on 30 January 1951, the son of Winifred, a theatrical agent, and Greville Collins, an insurance agent. He was given a toy drum kit for Christmas when he was five. Later, his uncle made him a makeshift one that he used regularly.
As Collins grew older, these were followed by more complete sets bought by his parents. He practised by playing to music on the TV and radio, but never learned to read and write conventional musical notation; instead, he used a system he devised himself. According to Barbara Speake, founder of the eponymous stage school which he would later attend, Collins always had a rare ear for music: “Phil was always special; aged five he entered a Butlins talent contest singing Davy Crockett, but he stopped the orchestra halfway through to tell them they were in the wrong key.”.
As a teenager, Collins went to learn drum rudiments. Collins would recall: “Rudiments I found very, very helpful – much more helpful than anything else because they’re used all the time. In any kind of funk or jazz drumming, the rudiments are always there.” However, Collins regretted that he never mastered musical notation, saying: “I never really came to grips with the music. I should have stuck with it. I’ve always felt that if I could hum it, I could play it. For me, that was good enough, but that attitude is bad.“.
I Don’t Care Anymore
The West Side
I Missed Again
I’m Not Moving