Last year, Phil Collins officially announced he was coming out of retirement after a lengthy hiatus from both recording and touring. Ostensibly, his retirement was spurred by a desire to see his children more, and his un-retirement was inspired by their coming of age and wanting to see him perform. Of course, he also delved into other reasons, including his recent divorce and a drinking problem that is now under control. Regardless, fans met the news with joyous reactions, and haters started petitions to keep him gone.
The former Genesis front man isn't going anywhere, though, for better or worse. This Friday, Rhino Records kicks off its retrospective campaign called "Take a Look at Me Now," named for the immortal chorus to his classic '80s hit "Against All Odds," by reissuing Collins's entire catalog in pairs. The first two albums will be his 1981 solo debut, Face Value, and his first post-Genesis solo record from 1993, Both Sides. The second reissues, due on February 26, will be 1982's sophomore effort Hello, I Must Be Going and Both Sides' 1996 follow-up Dance Into the Light.
All the reissues will contain some serious bonus material for the biggest Phil fanatics, released as two-disc sets that include rare live tracks and demos on the second CD. Each album will also feature remastered sound. Most of these B-sides were previously only available on cassette or vinyl singles, so it will be a huge treat for fans who may never have been able to get their hands on the rarities.
I do have to take issue with the bonus material in one respect. however. While these hard-to-find B-sides will be great to hear in the best audio quality for the first time, I know a lot of material is still being left on the cutting-room floor here. Phil recorded many demos around the time of each of these records that have never been released. How cool would it be to hear his original solo take on the Genesis hit "Misunderstanding," rather than the live version included here?
Another track that should have been included is "Life Is a Rat Race." This song was recorded exclusively for Miami Vice and has never been issued in any form outside of its use on that show. For a comprehensive reissue like this, a song that has never been released in any form would be the perfect inclusion, yet for some reason Phil saw fit to leave it out, along with many other unreleased tracks that are sure to exist in his vault.
Perhaps we'll finally hear those on some other release someday. In the meantime, these reissues are a real gift for diehard Phil Collins fans — yes, we exist — and will definitely be money well spent.
Phil Collins will host a Q&A session on his official Facebook page today at 11:30 a.m. Central time.