January 25 marks the 30th anniversary of one of the biggest albums released in the ‘80s: No Jacket Required by Phil Collins. This album was Collins’ third foray into solo work. It followed Face Value (1981) and Hello, I Must Be Going (1982), both successful albums, but nothing in comparison to the near phenomena that No Jacket Required would be become. Billboard lists this album as 12X platinum with sales reaching over the 12 million mark. This album marked a climatic acceptance of Collins’ music with the American audience. He had obtained recognition and moderate success by being the drummer of the prog rock band Genesis who had a few minor hits, but had yet to achieve the same level of acceptance here as they had in England.
I spent my formative teen years living on a military base in Frankfurt, Germany. I lived there from 1981-1987; I was able to listen to music that was popular in Europe, while enjoying The American Top 40 hosted by Casey Kasem broadcasted every Sunday afternoon on AFN Radio – the only American Radio station I had access to. I was already very familiar with Phil Collins by the time No Jacket Required was released. I owned and loved his first two albums and could not wait to hear his latest. I remember my excitement as I took the U-bahn (subway) home with No Jacket Required under my arm. The cover maintained the theme of the first two album- Phil’s head taking up the entire area; this time is had an eerie orange glow about it.
Any album that sold so many copies had to have a few hits, and No Jacket Required did. The album spawned four top ten hits: One More Night (#1), Sussudio (#1), Don’t Lose My Number (#4), and Take Me Home (#7). NJR literally put Phil Collins everywhere. He was coming off of the success and Oscar nomination for Against All Odds (his first #1 song), but now he hit the stratosphere of pop music. This album received Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal (male) of the year. A few months after the release, Collins became the only artist to perform for Live Aid in both London and Philadelphia.
One thing Collins started to become known for is his sense of humor. This can be seen in this clip from an appearance on David Letterman.
[Via] The Ringo Starr
His sense of humor shines again on the video for Don’t Lose My Number. The video becomes a satire about making music videos.
[Via] Mr. Phil 46
While the sense of humor is clear, Collins gave his listeners a look at a more serious side with the song Turn It Off which features Sting on backing vocals. This song is a preview of his next album But Seriously that contains more songs with a socially conscious theme.
In an interview for a recent documentary on Genesis, keyboardist Tony Banks was asked about Collins’ success away from the band. Banks replied in a genuine manner, “He was our friend and we wanted him to be successful. Just not that successful.” The overwhelming success of No Jacket Required clearly helped Genesis’ next effort, Invisible Touch, which sold six million copies in the United States, making it the most successful Genesis release.