There he is, Sir Phil…Sorry, just Phil Collins. Don’t worry buddy, you’ll be knighted someday. So that’s a picture of Phil all the way back to 1971. If you are reading is and actually remember 1971 – Congratulations, you must be pretty excited about the internet too. It gets easier to navigate when you’re on it 10 hours a day for the last 15+ years. So this post is about Phil Collins? No, actually it’s not. Well it kind of is. It’s really about file-sharing, music in particular on the internet. A very remedial synopsis of where we started from and where we are now – all strategically poised in the main era’s of Phil’s career as a musician. I was thinking about just posting my 10th grade English report on Genesis, but my writing was better then and it would just be embarrassing to reveal.
PHASE 1/5: Phil, We Hardly Know Ye
Both my mother and father had similar tastes in music and what I can’t complain about much of what they listened to back in the 80’s. Their contemporary favorites had a very AOR orientation like Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carly Simon – I could go on. It was this weird mix of what we know call “Yacht Rock” with artists that had substantial fame in the 70’s and were able to maintain a level of credibility into the next decade. I think there’s no understatement of saying that some artists compromised their integrity to appeal to the (at the time) new MTV generation. Perhaps someday I’ll want to go into greater detail of how my parents’ tastes in music helped shape my own, but yeah… later.
So cut to a 10 year old me where instead of having to ask if I can use their record player and listen to THEIR records (it was high-up and they didn’t like me standing on chairs for help?), I was finally developing a list of personal favorites and couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a copy of Weird Al Yankovic’s Dare to be Stupid or why they didn’t own 8 different “best of” compilations by the Monkees – so gd it – I bought my own copy with my allowance. They had no choice but to listen to Weird Al and the Monkees for a solid 2 straight years. I remember bickering with my mom when at dinner time we’d usually listen to an album, and if it wasn’t something I picked out then the meal tasted like shit. Actually, it probably wasn’t so dramatic, as again – I actually liked what my parents liked.
The ritual of going to the record store increased regularity in visits. I branched out a bit and started to buy records by R.E.M, The Dead Milkmen, and They Might Be Giants – but I wouldn’t always buy whatever they had on the shelves – I was still frugal and only wanted certain releases. I’d be making mix-tapes, countless, of stuff I owned and stuff my parents own. That was my music library and it felt pretty substantial until my high school years.