Phil Collins' status as one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the '80s and beyond was probably as much a surprise to him as it was to many others. Balding and diminutive, the Genesis drummer-turned-vocalist 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 song was a Top 20 hit in the U.S.). Between 1984 and 1990, Collins had a string of 13 straight U.S. Top Ten hits. Collins made his debut solo album, Face Value, in 1981, which turned out to be a bigger hit than any Genesis album. It concentrated on Collins' voice, often in stark, haunting contexts such as the piano-and-drum dirge "In the Air Tonight," which sounded like something from John Lennon's debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. During the '80s, Collins was enormously successful in balancing his continuing solo work with his membership in Genesis.
In 1992, Genesis released We Can't Dance and began an extensive tour. Upon its completion, Collins released Both Sides in 1993, and the record became his first album not to produce a major hit single or go multi-platinum. In 1995, he announced that he was leaving Genesis permanently. The following year, he released Dance Into the Light. Although the album didn't chart highly, its subsequent supporting tour was a success. The Hits collection followed in 1998, and a year later Collins made his first big-band record, Hot Night in Paris. The song cycle Testify arrived in 2002, and his next studio-recorded solo release was 2010's Going Back, which saw him revisiting the Motown hits that so influenced him, and featured three of the surviving Funk Brothers -- guitarists Eddie Willis and Ray Monette, and bassist Bob Babbitt.