Review: Not Dead Yet: The Memoir by Phil Collins

Not Dead Yet: The MemoirNot Dead Yet: The Memoir by Phil Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My love for Phil Collins and his music comes from my mother who raised me with some great classic rock influences. We had a good stereo installation at home and she always used to play music. It was never quiet in our house, and that’s probably why I love music so much in general. One of her favourites was, and still is, Phil Collins (like him, she’s not dead yet :P). A love we shared for quite some time. When I found out Phil had written a memoir, I was anxious to get my hands on it. I mean, I knew quite a bit about him, but to actually read everything from his perspective, and from the heart was a wonderful experience.

I don’t want to spoil the contents of this book too much, so I’ll try to write this review avoiding it as much as I can. Phil Collins has been drumming since he was a kid, and the fact that he wanted to be an artist so badly, and persevered makes his story so unbelievably heart warming. Forget self-help books, I think giving this a good read will make you realise that if you really want something all you have to do is fight for it, hard. It’s certainly inspired me to chase after my dreams more.

It’s easy for us “mere mortals” to look up to icons such as Phil Collins. It was near impossible to not know him in the eighties, I mean, he was all over the place. With, or without Genesis. What most of us didn’t see was his private life, and how hard it was to be away from his family when he was constantly touring, working on new albums, or producing them for friends, and peers. It was definitely not an easy life, and the consequences to some of his choices left his family in tatters.

What I really liked about this book is how honest and open-hearted Phil is. He really speaks to the reader as if you were a good friend. There’s no hiding of his feelings, or being smug about things, or he does so jokingly. He’s a very down to earth kind of guy, and that’s exactly why I’ve grown even fonder of him over the course of reading this book.

I took my time reading this, because I felt a need to listen to all of the albums he mentioned in most of the chapters. It really gave me an idea of what his life was like in that era, and knowing the reason why he wrote certain songs only increased their power when I listened to them.

I was quite shocked towards the end, because, let’s face it, Phil was out of the picture at some point. I always wondered where he had gone, but I suppose I was a bit too young to be that interested in his personal life. Reading about the rise, and as it seems with every person, fall of this man was heart wrenching. I guess that’s really what makes Phil Collins Phil Collins. He’s human, just like the rest of us, and he’s not afraid to show it in this book. He’s done a lot of great things, and he’s done a lot of bad things.

I guess I’m one of the readers who, after finishing this great book, only has more respect for him. His life wasn’t easy, but he made it work somehow, and he’s left a great legacy that only few of us can hope to equal, or surpass. It has inspired, and touched me. Thanks Phil, for writing this!

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