I could make a million jokes here but the fact is, up to the early 80s when Phil became more concerned with crafting pop songs and becoming ubiquitous, he was one of rock’s top drummers. His playing on 70s prog rock staple albums Trick of the Tail, Seconds Out and Three Sides Live raised the bar for prog rock drumming.
And his unique drum sound, which leaned heavily on openly tuned toms played reallllly loudly and no cymbals, was very identifiable in the 80s. The most obvious examples being In The Air Tonight and I Don’t Care Anymore (and Intruder and Biko from Peter Gabriel’s third solo album if you are into PG). I heard that atrocious Frieda song “I Know There’s Something Going On” the other day and it’s mostly Phil’s big drum sound powering that song to the top. And as Dr John pointed out, he’s on Robert Plant’s first two solo albums as well. And he sounds great.
But here is the Phil I will miss – the heavily bearded, long haired hippie Phil, trying to prove he could front Genesis after Peter Gabriel split, who would race back to the leftie drum set after the last verse was sung, to do a double drum solo with Chester Thompson.
Of course, I have been missing THAT Phil since 1980. This is what I am talking about: