The Many Adventures of Phil Collins

Whether you actually like the music of the Genesis drummer-turned-soft rock superstar or not, you’ve got to admit: Phil Collins seems pretty inoffensive. That’s why we were a little surprised when we discovered all of these colorful stories about him.

Phil Collins Trivia

He was almost a Romeo…

At the height of his musical fame in the ’80s, Collins took on a few acting roles, including a recurring role on Miami Vice and starring in the comedies Buster and Porky’s 3: The Revenge. But his career as an actor long predates his career as a professional musician—by a long shot. He played the prime role of the Artful Dodger in the original London stage production of Oliver!, the musical version of Oliver Twist. In 1968, just before he joined Genesis, he auditioned for Franco Zeffirelli’s classic film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but he was edged out for the part by Leonard Whiting.

He co-starred with the Beatles…

Another one of Collins’ early acting roles: He was an extra in the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night. For years, he claimed that he was in the film, but that his part was cut out. Collins had answered a casting call to be in a group of fans screaming for the Beatles. In the mid-’90s, Collins was approached to narrate a Beatles documentary, and he got to see outtakes from the movie. Sure enough, he found himself in the audience for a concert scene. He told Rolling Stone that he “found a guy that looked just like me, sitting completely still. I remember thinking, ‘For crying out loud, will you stop screaming? Let’s listen to the music!'”

How he got into Genesis…

In 1970, he became the drummer in the British progressive rock band Genesis. Like a dozen or so other drummers, he auditioned for the spot at the home of Genesis singer Peter Gabriel. He got there early, so he got to hear all the other drummers try (and fail) to play the audition piece. Collins nailed his audition because he was so familiar with the music by the time it was his turn.