Second Spin: Phil Collins, No Jacket Required

Categories: Second Spin

Artist: Phil Collins

Album: No Jacket Required

From: Vintage Vinyl

Year: 1985

Label: Atlantic Records

What it sounds like: The 80's Dance Pop Special: A smooth synthesizer groove, with an order of keyboards, drum machines, and horns on the side.

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Best Track: "Sussudio." Even though this song isn't on the Flashdance soundtrack, it makes me want to put on some goofy legwarmers and kick out an aerobics routine. Where the vast majority of artists from this era try out the synthesizer/keybord/horn section soup and fail miserably, Collins seems to have the recipe down to a science.

I've always wondered though, what the hell kind of a word is sussudio? The song is clearly about a boyhood crush, but Sussudio isn't the name of his girl. He just implores us to "say the word" and stutters out some catchy gibberish.

According to Song Facts, it really is just a made up word. Collins told VH1 in 1997: "I set up this drum-machine pad, and I got some chords, and I started to sing into the microphone, and this word came out, which was "sus-sussudio."

Also, Collins has admitted it sounds just like the Prince song "1999."

Worst Track: "One More Night." The album's introspective slow jam wallows in self-pity. It's all about a guy who's too afraid to tell the girl he's after that he's after her, so he always wants "one more night" to get the job done.

Check the lyrics: "I've been sitting here so long/wasting time, just staring at the phone/and I was wondering, should I should call you?"

There's also this gem: "Like a river to the sea/I will always be with you/and if you sail away/I will follow you."

It's minimalist, as far as the '80s go, relying mostly on a shaker, a crisp drum machine and echoing keyboards. It ends with a saxophone solo so smooth that I can't believe it's not butter.

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Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Phil Collins designed it himself (apparently he wanted to look all creepy and sweaty) with photography by George Ashworth.

The Facts: Philip David Charles Collins got his start as a child actor and singer, appearing as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver! In 1964. He also had a cameo in the Beatles' flick, A Hard Day's Night, as well as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

He'd had a number of musical projects under his belt, including the unfortunately named art rock group Flaming Youth, when Genesis came looking for a replacement drummer. When original front man Peter Gabriel quit the band in 1975, they auditioned 400 singers before settling on Colllins. 

He went solo in 1981 and had a hit with "In the Air Tonight." Today, he has record sales of over 150 million as a solo artist and is the only singer to sell 100 million records as a solo artist and another 100 million with a band.

No Jacket Required is his most successful album, producing three number one songs and a Grammy for album of the year.  It features backup vocals from Sting and Peter Gabriel.

He returned to acting later, starring in Frauds in 1993, and getting a cameo in Hook. His Wikipedia page says he was going to play the bad guy in Speed until Dennis Hopper was cast in the role.

Info from: All Music, and the Official Phil Collins site.


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9 comments
Fab
Fab

While I'd totally agree with Doug T about Phil's drumming excellence and album title, I would have to say that I've never heard of that Japanese girl story, and I've been around almost as long as Phil has. lol Phil has been around forever, it seems, and he's played with so many great musicians, it's hard to keep track. In fact, I used to do an online radio show called "Six Degrees of Phil" which allowed me to play pretty much anyone! Great review-it's nice to see that Phil isn't forgotten. :D

DougT
DougT

The album title came from the Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago. When he went there for dinner, he was told that they had a "jacket required" policy. He split. And his album was "no jacket required".

"Sussido" was from a Japanese girl who couldn't pronounce "studio".

Most people don't realize what an incredible drummer Collins was. Just listen to the live material from "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" that was released on their Archives box set. Or Genesis' first tour after Gabriel left the band, where he and Bill Bruford (!) play drums...

Anonymous
Anonymous

Just for the record - the "ripped van winkle" bass player is the AMAZING Leyland Sklar. He has played for Steely Dan, Clapton, Genesis, etc. Check the liner notes from many 80's top albums and the man is there!

Geoff
Geoff

I just came across this amazing site that's everything Genesis...called Genesis Ultimate Fan Page...it's brilliant, check it out!

Shawn
Shawn

I was always impressed someone with such awful balding spots would put his head so prominently on an album cover.

Clayton
Clayton

I'm almost positive that bass player also plays in Toto and I'm certain I've referred to him as "ripped van winkle" on other occasions.

Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski

i must respectfully disagree with the hate on "one more night." out of phil's gooey ballad oeuvre, that's one of the best.

Christian
Christian

I always wondered if he had to pay Steely Dan royalties for ripping off "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" on "Don't Lose My Number." Ditto for stealing Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" chorus on "I Wish it Would Rain."

jeff
jeff

That bass line is practically "Get Innocuous!"

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