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Face Value

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Editors’ Notes

Face Value, Phil Collins’ 1981 solo debut, wasn't predicted to be the massive crossover smash that it eventually became. Having spent the duration of the '70s as the drummer and singer in Genesis, Collins spent late 1979 nursing the wounds of a nasty divorce in the confines of his English mansion. Using the then-brand-new Prophet-5 synthesizer and a Roland CR-78 drum machine, Collins channeled his vindictiveness and despair into a new set of demos that he never thought would become an album. But when his record label got wind of the music, Collins was persuaded to develop those demos into what became Face Value. With its minimalistic electronics and brooding atmosphere, “In the Air Tonight” set the album's tone. Amazingly, it also became its breakout single—surely among the most menacing songs to became a pop hit. Notwithstanding a few avant-garde–tinged moments (like the beautiful Steve Reich homage “Droned”), the rest of the album is as much a work of R&B as rock ‘n’ roll. Among the standouts are “This Must Be Love,” “I Missed Again,” and “I’m Not Moving.”

Customer Reviews


This reminds me of my dad he loved Phil Collins and everyone from Genesis. I really have grown to like them since I lost him in Sept.

Fill dirt not needed

"...this winter looks like it's gonna be another bad one..." cries Mr. Collins in "The Roof Is Leaking." Living in Chicago, yeah, that's a given. This album has it all. These songs touch every feeling/emotion possible. Fear, love, more fear, more love, failure and so on. And when there are no lyrics to take you there, the instrumentals take you there. Forget everything. Don't think about Brand X, don't think about Genesis. Just enjoy it for what it is. A great musician who released his best album at his first go. Couple this with Robert Fripp's "Exposure" and you are where you need to be. Heaven.


Phil outdid himself as a solo artist, and this opening effort was absolutely phenomenal. His rework of the Genesis standard 'Behind the Lines' is the hint at his funky, horn-based R&B explorations to come. The whole record is a cry of pain over his divorce and personal life, but it rings true with passion, great musicianship and just plain talent. A must have for any Phil Collins fan. If you are a Genesis snob, stick to the Peter Gabriel days,but if you like PC and his work, this is one to get.


Born: January 30, 1951 in Chiswick, London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Phil Collins' ascent to the status of one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the '80s and beyond was probably as much of a surprise to him as it was to many others. Balding and diminutive, Collins was almost 30 years old when his first solo single, "In the Air Tonight," became a number two hit in his native U.K. (the...
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