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November 20, 2002

Phil Collins gets back on track

From: Toronto Star, Canada
Nov. 20, 2002

The bubbly new CD, Testify, is vintage Phil But hearing loss means producing days over


MONTREAL—No racket is required for singer Phil Collins. Due to hearing loss caused by a viral infection, Collins won't be touring to support his new recording. But Collins, who won a Grammy in 1985 for the top pop album No Jacket Required might be on the road to success once again.

Despite a new wave of interest prompted by his work on the Tarzan soundtrack, Collins said he doesn't have any sales expectations for his first studio album in six years.

For Collins, the creaky ride to the top started again courtesy of "You'll Be In My Heart" — the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning theme for Disney's 1999 hit, Tarzan.

But health and family will keep that uphill ride slow for a while. Collins, in Montreal this week to promote Testify, his recently released CD, said the new album stands with Face Value (1981) and Both Sides (1993) as some of his best work.

But Collins, 51, a ubiquitous superstar in the 1980s, clearly doesn't expect to burn up the charts or score huge critical points this time. "Anything that happens with this record is the unexpected," Collins said. "I don't fit in with the music business any more," he said in a disarmingly cheerful tone.

Testify is vintage Phil, sure to delight fans of golden-era discs like Hello, I Must Be Going! (1982). Its bubbly songs and ballads, with a generous helping of synthesizers and programming, could easily pass for 1980s recordings.

There won't be a tour to bring the new material to the public. A viral infection two years ago claimed some of the hearing in his left ear. "I've been advised (touring) could be a little dangerous, by four or five doctors," he said.

Occasional shows are not out of the question. Nor does the hearing problem affect his recording schedule. "I don't use headphones in the studio anyway. I work with speakers and I sing into a microphone. I wouldn't trust myself to mix something, though. My days of producing other people are gone."

A stage version of Tarzan and two Disney flicks, Tarzan 2 and Brother Bear, for which Collins wrote both songs and score, are in the works, he said.

Collins has children from previous marriages ranging in age from 13 to 30, but he cited his 19-month-old son, Nicholas, from his third marriage, as another reason to stick close to home.

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