Phil Collins: No Jacket Required

review collins x1 cong

This was a massive album back in the 80s: the third solo studio album by drummer Collins, it sold 10 million copies in the US, 1.8 million in the UK and 20 million worldwide. No wonder Phil has such nice houses. It won the Grammy for album of the year in 1985. It bit like ELO, if you were alive when this came out, you know every tune and most of the lyrics so it’s hard to review objectively.

In many ways it’s the most eighties of eighties albums, all that drum machine, brass and bright production but it doesn’t sound dated because the tunes are so good. In comparison, we loved Robert Plant’s solo debut Pictures at Eleven (Collins drums for six of the album’s eight songs) back in 1982 but that sounds very dated now.

No Jacket Required opens with Sussudio, which we always thought was an odd Collins song, though it was a hit and we like it. Only You Know And I Know opens with a more typical Collins drum sound and is a radio-friendly driving tune, as is I Don’t Wanna Know. Drum-machine loving Don’t Lose My Number opens what was side two on the original vinyl.

Long Long Way To Go is the first of the slow songs, and instantly familiar no matter how long since you last heard it. Sting does backing vocals. Also on this album is One More Night, another classic Collins slow tune.

Even towards the end, Collins keeps up the quality: Inside Out is a strong tune, and closer Take Me Home is one of the standouts, about going home or living in a mental home, we seem to remember. Who Said I Would has about the most 80s sax solo it’s possible to have.

Another album that shows what a brilliant songwriter and musician Collins is. Quite where his PR went all wrong is a mystery. This is out now, remastered and with a bonus CD of live songs. The live CD is weaker, though not as bad as some of the earlier releases.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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