Philip David Charles Collins (born January 30, 1951 in Chiswick, London) is an English rock and pop musician. He is best known as the lead singer and drummer of progressive rock group Genesis and as a Grammy and Academy Award-winning solo artist.
In total, Collins sang the lead vocals on eight American chart-toppers between 1984 and 1989; seven as a solo artist and one with Genesis. His singles, often dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy "In the Air Tonight", to the dance pop of "Sussudio", to the political statements of his most successful song, "Another Day in Paradise". His international popularity transformed Genesis from a progressive rock group to a regular on the pop charts and an early MTV mainstay.
Collins' professional career began as a drummer, first with obscure rock group Flaming Youth and then more famously with Genesis. In Genesis, Collins originally supplied only backing vocals for front man Peter Gabriel; it would not be until Gabriel's departure in 1975 that he became the group's lead singer. As the decade closed, Genesis' first international hit, "Follow You, Follow Me", demonstrated a drastic change from the band's early years. His concurrent solo career, heavily influenced by his personal life, brought both him and Genesis commercial success. According to Atlantic Records, Collins' total worldwide sales as a solo artist, as of 2002, were over 100 million. 
Early life and career
Collins received a toy drum kit for Christmas when he was five. Later, his uncle made him a makeshift one that he used regularly, and he became better. As Collins grew they were followed by more complete sets bought by his parents. He practiced by playing alongside the television and radio, and never learned to read and write conventional musical notation; instead, he uses a system he devised himself.
Collins looked for every opportunity to perform. His professional training began at fourteen when he entered Barbara Speake Stage School.  He began a career as a child actor and model, and won his first major role as The Artful Dodger in a London production of Oliver!. He appeared as an extra on The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, as part of a crowd scene.  He also auditioned for the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (1968).
Despite the beginnings of an acting career, Collins continued to gravitate toward music. While attending "Chiswick Community School" he formed a band called The Real Thing and later joined The Freehold. With the latter group, he wrote his first song titled "Lying Crying Dying".
Collins' first record deal came as drummer for Flaming Youth, who released a single album, Ark 2 (1969). A concept album inspired by the recent media attention surrounding the moon landing, Ark 2 failed to make much commercial success despite positive critical reviews. Melody Maker featured the album as "Pop Album of the Month", describing it as "adult music beautifully played with nice tight harmonies".  The album's main single, "From Now On", failed on the radio. After a year of touring, band tensions and the lack of commercial success dissolved the group.
Number One singles