5 Artists Produced by Phil Collins During His Unstoppable ‘80s Run

Phil Collins is highly regarded for his work as a solo artist and as the lead singer and drummer for Genesis—perhaps more highly regarded now than in his 1980s heyday. Those were not the only things that made him an ‘80s icon. He also showed up on other artists’ albums as a drummer or vocalist as well as on the small and big screens as an actor.

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One of the less appreciated aspects of Collins’ body of work are his production credits. He produced or co-produced each of his eight solo albums, and along with his bandmates, co-produced every Genesis album from Foxtrot (1972) through We Can’t Dance (1991).

Collins also produced parts or the entirety of albums for the five following artists. Each of the albums referenced below made a dent on the Billboard 200 during the ‘80s, and each contained at least one notable chart hit. The songs and albums that Collins produced for other artists aren’t merely line items on an already-padded résumé. They are also an extension of Collins’ sound, as they typically feature his singing, playing, and trademark sounds (including, of course, quintessentially ‘80s gated drums).

Eric Clapton

Collins produced a pair of albums for Clapton in the ‘80s. The first of these, Behind the Sun (1985), was initially rejected by Warner Bros. because the label felt the album lacked hit singles. At the label’s behest, Clapton worked with producers Ted Templeman and Lenny Waronker on three tracks written by Jerry Lynn Williams. Two of them, “Forever Man” and “See What Love Can Do,” were the first two singles to be released from Behind the Sun. The only one of the eight Collins-produced tracks to be issued as a single was “She’s Waiting.” While it didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100 like its two predecessors, it received ample airplay on AOR stations, making it to No. 11 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Collins went on to co-produce Clapton’s next studio album, August (1986), with Clapton and Tom Dowd. The only track Collins didn’t produce was “It’s in the Way that You Use It,” which was written and recorded specifically for the soundtrack to the film The Color of Money. “It’s in the Way that You Use It” was the album’s most successful track on the charts, topping the Mainstream Rock rankings, while the Tina Turner duet “Tearing Us Apart” peaked at No. 5 on the same chart.


The former ABBA vocalist was a fan of Collins’ solo debut Face Value, and a year after that album’s 1981 release, Collins was producing Frida’s first English-language solo album. In addition to his work in the control room, Collins contributed drums, percussion, and vocals to Something’s Going On. Frida also inherited several of the studio musicians who graced Collins’ solo albums, namely guitarist Daryl Stuermer, bassist Mo Foster, keyboardist J. Peter Robinson, and Earth, Wind & Fire’s The Phenix Horns.

One thing Collins didn’t contribute to Something’s Going On was new compositions. An all-star team of composers, including Bryan Ferry, Giorgio Moroder, Stephen Bishop, Rod Argent, and Roxette’s Per Gessle, wrote or co-wrote tracks that would appear on the album. While the hit single “I Know There’s Something Going On” sounds like vintage Collins, it was actually written by Argent’s former bandmate Russ Ballard. The lone Collins composition was Frida’s cover of his ballad “You Know What I Mean” from Face Value.

Philip Bailey

One of Collins’ best-known hits is his duet with Bailey, “Easy Lover,” but his collaboration with the Earth, Wind & Fire vocalist/percussionist went far beyond that beloved single. Collins was the sole producer of Bailey’s 1984 Chinese Wall album, which included “Easy Lover,” and he contributed drums, keyboards, and vocals as well. (He also co-wrote “Easy Lover” with Bailey and bassist Nathan East.) As with his work with Frida, Collins brought frequent collaborators with him to record Chinese Wall, including Stuermer, East, and, of course, The Phenix Horns.

Chinese Wall was Bailey’s third album and his only one to receive Gold certification. Though less well-known than “Easy Lover,” the album spawned a second Billboard Hot 100 single, “Walking on the Chinese Wall,” which rose to No. 46.

Adam Ant

The former Adam and the Ants frontman co-produced eight of the 10 tracks from his second solo album Strip (1983) with Richard James Burgess and Ants guitarist Marco Pirroni. Collins and Hugh Padgham (who co-produced several of Collins’ and Genesis’ albums) produced the remaining two tracks, which happened to be the album’s singles. Collins also played drums and percussion on those songs—the title track and “Puss ‘n Boots.”

“Strip” became Ant’s third Hot 100 single, just missing out on the Top 40 with a peak of No. 42. The song would also create the occasion for another collaboration involving Collins and Frida, as the latter provided the vocals for a spoken-word section.

Howard Jones

Jones’ biggest hit, “No One Is to Blame,” was initially a deep cut on his 1985 album Dream Into Action. However, after the Top 20 success of “Things Can Only Get Better” and “Life in One Day,” Jones rerecorded “No One Is to Blame.” Instead of using Rupert Hine, who produced Dream Into Action, Jones worked with Collins and Padgham to rework the track. The song retained its spare ambiance, particularly in the first verse, where Jones’ vocals and electric piano dominate the mix. Collins’ drums and backing vocals eventually make their way into the song and liven up the sound.

The new version of “No One Is to Blame” was released as a single in March 1986, and it became Jones’ highest-charting single, reaching No. 4 on the Hot 100. This rendition of the song would be included as a bonus track on Jones’ 1986 album One to One.

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