Monday, March 16, 2015

No Jacket Required - Phil Collins 1985

Guilty pleasure edition!  If you've been paying attention I've made mention numerous times about artists from what is now known as the "Classic Rock" era, (Or Disco, or progressive, or 60's & 70's depending on where your tastes may settle.) and how they moved toward mainstream pop in the 80's.  Frankly, Phil Collins probably did this best.  Collins joined the Progressive, and highly experimental band, Genesis back in 1970 as a drummer and it wasn't until '74 when Peter Gabriel left Genesis that he became the lead singer.  This set into motion a bunch of things. most notably the transition of Genesis from a Progressive band into more of a commercial machine that carried them through the 90's and to a degree into this day.  Genesis however is a whole different story, as is Collins' himself.  Ignoring his cult status in music, he's famously behind so many artists creations through the 80's and 90's you should be wondering why he isn't a bigger star.  Much more on this much later through the year, but remember that when I bring him up in discussing Clapton, Steely Dan, and Robert Plant.

30 years ago in the winter 1985 Collins released No Jacket Required.  It rose to prominence and subsequently ruled the spring of '85 till another gem interrupted it's success only to return to the number one spot for a few weeks till Prince ultimately took on 1985 like he owned it.  (Again, more on his greatness later.)  No Jacket Required is also one of the biggest selling albums of all time, coming in with over 25 million copies sold.  Thankfully not even modern pop singers can pull that off.  It also means that you or your parents probably definitely owned this album on vinyl.  (High Five!)

No Jacket required won 3 Grammy's that year including Album of the year beating out Dire Straits, Sting, Whitney Houston and USA For Africa's We Are The World.  (Side note, Sade won best new artist that year.) Considering that it took a couple of singles to drop from this album before people started taking it seriously, its shocking that it charted almost exactly when USA Africa released We are The world.

Now, here's where things get interesting with this album...  Sussudio is released in February, the album gains traction from it almost instantly.  It rockets No Jacket Required to the number one spot in early March.  It stays there for a month until We Are The World is released, which was easily one of the biggest selling singles of all time.  If Collins didn't release the power pop ballad One More Night, We Are The World would have probably reached and stayed at number 1 a lot sooner for a lot longer.  This effect gave rise to Pop music getting over itself meaning that no matter how good something may or may not be, by virtue of the fact that something more catchy suddenly exists, it becomes even more popular.  This trend has existed since radio was invented, however it wasn't until the 80's pop movement that it became the norm.  We Are The World held the number 1 position for 3 weeks, (only), then Don't Lose My Number was released as a single.  Suddenly nobody cared that for a period in time every major artist banded together for what was considered then to be the single most unifying cause 2nd only to the Cold War, suffering in Africa.

A few weeks later Take Me Home was released. It was another in a series of soft rock/pop songs that set the stage for Mister-Mister, Tears For Fears, and Spandau Ballet.  All things considered, this album was critical to the eventual success for many artists looking to experiment with new sounds including the Glam Rockers which later evolved into Hair Metal.  (Power Ballads anyone?)  

Going platinum 12 times would normally classify an artist as not necessarily being a cult followed hero, but for whatever reason, Phil Collins remains a guilty pleasure for a lot of people from that era.  Don't lie.  If you're over the age of 30, and can resist rocking out to Don't Lose My Number, you're just not human.  

Other songs to note here, my favorite personally, Inside Out and Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore.  If you can find this album, and you can, get it.  I think you would actually end up spending more on the download than you ever would on the vinyl and as usual you need to own this on vinyl.  If for no other reason than the fact that it's a living part of history and the nostalgia is strong with this one.

Next week, something new(er) from the west coast.

No comments:

Post a Comment