The Reason and The Song That Made Phil Collins Leave Genesis

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Phil Collins, renowned as both the frontman of Genesis and a successful solo artist, made the difficult decision to part ways with his bandmates in 1996. The departure was not marred by conflict, but rather a growing divergence in musical direction. Collins’ exit from Genesis was catalyzed, in part, by his dissatisfaction with certain songs released by the band. One particular track, ‘Burning Rope’ from 1978, played a significant role in his contemplation of leaving Genesis long before his solo career reached its pinnacle.

For over 15 years, Collins managed a successful dual career as a member of Genesis and a solo artist. However, by the mid-1990s, his solo success had skyrocketed, allowing him to sell out stadiums independently. Balancing these two ventures eventually prompted Collins to share his decision with his bandmates – he needed to prioritize his individual musical vision.

The Influence of Band Dynamics on Musical Direction

Following the departure of Peter Gabriel, Collins took on a more prominent role within Genesis, but the band’s decisions remained democratic, with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks contributing significantly to their musical direction. Throughout the years, there were songs released by Genesis that Collins did not particularly resonate with, causing some discontent.

The Thorn in the Side: ‘Burning Rope’

One of the songs that Collins held in low regard was ‘Burning Rope,’ released in 1978. It was only performed live by the band during that year before being permanently shelved for future tours. The exclusion of the song from their live sets spoke volumes about Collins’ opinion of it and hints at his growing dissatisfaction within Genesis.

While Collins did not leave Genesis immediately after ‘Burning Rope’s release, his subsequent comments on the track indicate that it played a pivotal role in his eventual departure. These sentiments were expressed even before his solo career reached its zenith. Despite his loyalty to his bandmates, Collins knew that he could no longer continue with Genesis.

Collins’ Candid Thoughts: ‘Supper’s Ready’ vs. ‘Burning Rope’

In a 1997 interview with Modern Drummer shortly after leaving Genesis, Collins was asked about various songs from his career. When discussing the Genesis classic ‘Supper’s Ready,’ he praised it as one of his all-time favorites and reminisced about the joy he experienced performing it live. However, his tone drastically changed when the conversation shifted to ‘Burning Rope.’ Collins candidly expressed his distaste, calling it a “period piece” and highlighting its incompatibility with the evolving music landscape of the twentieth century.

The Final Straw: Collins’ Explanation of ‘Burning Rope’

Delving further into his feelings about ‘Burning Rope,’ Collins elaborated on his dissatisfaction with the track. He described it as a song that compelled him to leave Genesis, acknowledging that his drummer’s fill attempts were driven by a desire to inject interest into material he did not resonate with. Collins’ discontent with the song ultimately reflected his broader disillusionment with the band’s direction.