No Jacket Required

To put it honestly and simply Phil Collins is one of the most talented and gifted musicians the modern world has ever seen. As a singer, songwriter, drummer, and music producer Phil Collins has put forth a body of work that makes people gape in awe and marvel at his sheer intensity, passion, and hard work. Starting as the drummer for the art-rock band Genesis he excelled as a percussionist and after the departure of lead singer Peter Gabriel he took over the vocal duties. Genesis went on to be even more successful and produced albums and singles that were both big commercial hits and critically acclaimed. Phil Collins was right there along with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks and made Genesis massively popular. In February 1981 Phil Collins began his solo career with his debut album Face Value and has followed it up with seven more wildly successful albums. Collins hit the top position of music charts in practically every English following country and has more hit singles than anybody else in the 1980s and 1990s. Collins balanced his work with both Genesis and his mega-successful solo career and has proved himself as one of the most prodigious and hard-working musicians the modern pop-rock era has ever seen.

Hitting the Recording Studios with a Fresh Outlook

In 1984 Phil Collins began work on his third solo album and started writing songs for it. He took inspiration from his political and social beliefs and also from his feelings about his personal life and put them into words and music. He spoke to his friends and colleagues like Peter Gabriel, Sting, and Helen Terry and they worked with him on some specific songs on his album still in production. Having made serious music most of his life Collins deliberately worked to give his new album an up-tempo sound and give it a dance vibe as well. He tried different techniques like using a drum machine, vocal improvisations, and taking tips from other musicians like The Jacksons, and gave his album a fresh and innovative edge. He titled his new album No Jacket Required and the album hit record stores on February 18, 1985, and within weeks it was clear to everyone that this solo album by Phil Collins was big and would only get bigger. It was selling faster than any other album that was in the market and selling more as well.

An Honest Expression of a Man’s Romantic Sentiments

 

“Sussudio” was the first single and its catchy and fun appeal propelled it to the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart within weeks of its release. Collins let it rip with his vocals and the video of him belting out “Sussudio” in a nightclub remains one of the iconic images of MTV from the 1980s. In the video, later that evening Collins sits down quietly and sings the haunting “One More Night” which is a plaintive plea to his lover to give him another last opportunity to make things right. Ego is pushed aside on this song and a regretful lover’s realization that this could be the last chance he has at reclaiming his happiness comes through clearly.

Apart from the up-tempo “Don’t Lose My Number” most songs on No Jacket Required are about romantic relationships and matters of the heart. They explore different emotions that people feel when they are in the midst of a volatile relationship and passion becomes too strong to control. Anger and denial come out strongly on tracks like “I Don’t Wanna Know” and “Who Said I Would” as Collins conveys the mixed feelings that a man goes through when his relationship is fragile and cracking. Cynicism is at the core of “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” as Collins wonders what happened to old-fashioned love when a man and woman got together and it was for keeps. Collins is also sad that relationships simply don’t last as long as they used to in yesteryears and is pessimistic about the future.

“Take Me Home” is one of Collins’ most loved songs and a million guys have melted their paramour’s heart by playing it and convincing them to take things further. Collins lets his desire out and makes it clear that tonight he would do anything to spend it with his lover and he is simply not going to give up. Collins teamed up with Sting and created the most political song of his career at that point with “Long Long Way to Go.” He sings about the unimaginable pain and suffering that people are drowning in all around him and says that it all means something only if you care to listen. That’s why Collins sings “Turn it off if you want to/ Switch it off, it will go away/ Turn it off if you want to/ Switch it off or look away.”

“Only You Know and I Know” and “Inside Out” round off an album that speaks about deep and complex feelings in man-woman relationships and what the heart wants to say. No Jacket Required has 10 songs and together they chronicle an adult man’s emotional state and trauma when his relationships are visibly fraying.

Unshackling Himself to Become a Global Pop Star

 

No Jacket Required is the most successful album of Phil Collins’s career and has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and it’s still selling. It yielded four top-ten singles in the Billboard singles chart including two number 1 singles and is one of the most successful pop- rock albums ever released. No Jacket Required was a big winner at the 1986 Grammy Awards winning three trophies including Album of the Year and made Phil Collins a bona fide global pop superstar. It established Collins as the go-to singer if anybody wanted mature and heartfelt songs about emotions and feelings that men struggle to understand and convey. Over the years No Jacket Required has become a standard and many of its songs have been used in TV shows, movies, stand-up comedy acts, and other musicians have sampled them and been inspired by them to create their music. No Jacket Required is a landmark album from a singer who has given more quality music to the world than almost anybody else!

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