Phil Collins Dishes On His Paul McCartney Feud, And The One Reason He Would Have Ditched Genesis

Legendary musician and former Genesis frontman Phil Collins is coming out of retirement for one more tour, and as he makes the rounds, Phil is opening up about his long career. Even before he toppled the charts as a solo artist, Phil made headlines as the Genesis frontman, beginning with Peter Gabriel’s departure from the band on August 15, 1975. Now, Collins is revealing that he might have left Genesis in a lurch, abandoning the band that inevitably launched his career, if just one specific opportunity had presented itself.

Collins also opens up about a long running feud with Paul McCartney of The Beatles. Some people can just rub a person the wrong way, and as Phil tells it, that’s just what happened, when Collins met his one-time idol.

Phil Collins Hero Worship Of The Beatles Was Destroyed By Paul McCartney

When it comes to musicians, past legends often influence future hit makers and such was the case with Phil Collins and The Beatles, until the former Genesis lead singer met one of those Beatles in person. The historic encounter happened in 2002 at Buckingham Palace, where Collins was playing a party.

“McCartney came up with Heather Mills and I had a first edition of The Beatles, by Hunter Davies, and I said, ‘Hey, Paul, do you mind signing this for me?’” recalls Mr. Collins. “And he said, ‘Oh, Heather, our little Phil’s a bit of a Beatles fan.’ And I thought, ‘You f—, you f—.’ Never forgot it.”

Phil went on to explain that McCartney tends to speak down to fans and fellow musicians.

“He has this thing when he’s talking to you, where he makes you feel [like], ‘I know this must be hard for you because I’m a Beatle. I’m Paul McCartney and it must be very hard for you to actually be holding a conversation with me.’”

Genesis Might Have Lost Phil Collins

While Paul McCartney might have rubbed him the wrong way and left him disillusioned, Phil Collins is a legend in his own right, yet one branch of his early career might have sent him on an entirely different course. Collins would have left Genesis, had the opportunity to work with The Who presented itself. This isn’t just a daydream shared by Phil. He says he had given this option serious thought, following the 1978 death of The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon.

“Absolutely would have joined The Who,” Phil Collins revealed in an online chat with fans. “I would have left Genesis to join The Who.”

While Phil’s dream of joining The Who did not materialize, that band did go on without Moon. Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle enlisted help from The Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones. Together, the new The Who line up continued to dish out hits and tour until their split in 1983.

In 1996, The Who reunited and are still together, performing for fans on a long-running tour, though the line up has changed in the intervening years. John Entwistle passed away and Ringo Starr’s son Zak Starkey now plays drums in place of Jones.

Would Phil Collins still entertain the thought of signing on with The Who? He says no. The former Genesis singer says he admires Starkey on drums, adding that he feels Starkey has some of the passion of Keith Moon. Phil also says that he feels he couldn’t play drums as well now as he has in the past.

“The hand has got better over the years, but there’s still a long way to go,” Collins revealed. “I’ve got six months to sort something out, so I will be attempting to play something.”

[Featured Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]