Phil Collins has travelled the world many times over but few countries influenced his life as much as Canada.
Both romantically and musically he’s left his mark on several of the country’s biggest cities and many of those connections are revisited in "Not Dead Yet," a new memoir that recounts his days as the drummer-turned-singer of Genesis and a segue into a solo career that spawned countless chart hits.
Here are five surprising Canadian connections the singer highlights in "Not Dead Yet":
Quebec helped Genesis break North America
"The French Canadians love us," Collins recalls in his book. "I think of them as the beatnik crowd, enthralled by our artiness." The singer says it was two shows in Quebec that helped Genesis gain the kind of fan support it needed to get attention in the United States.
Canadian border guards stripped Collins to his skivvies
After mistakenly forgetting a marijuana spliff in his wallet, the singer found himself in the crosshairs of security at the Peace Bridge in Niagara Falls. "As I stand there with my Y-fronts round my knees in the interrogation room, I have one thought: ‘I’m not making it home for Christmas,'" he writes. Collins says Canadian customs officers were "among the toughest" for bands in the mid-1970s.
Vancouver marked the start of his first marriage
When Genesis rolled into British Columbia for their 1974 tour, the stop gave Collins an opportunity to reignite a relationship with Andrea Bertorelli, his childhood sweetheart. Her family had moved overseas when she was 18 and Collins hoped to seek her affection while in town. "She’s ragingly sexy, which is why she was good at breaking hearts," Collins says. Love struck and the two married, leading to the birth of son Simon and Collins deciding to adopt Bertorelli’s daughter Joely, who’s now a Canadian actress and producer.
Collins sidelined Genesis to live in Vancouver
With his marriage to Bertorelli on the rocks, Collins asked his bandmates for some time off to try to make amends. He moved to Canada’s West Coast in January 1979, buying a home in the hopes of wooing back his wife. "None of it — the expat-living, the house-buying, the wife-wooing — makes any difference," he says. Four months later, he’s back in the U.K. with an uncertain future and his bandmates working on solo projects.
Genesis debuted Collins as frontman in London, Ont.
Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis unexpectedly pushed Collins into the spotlight. His first show as lead singer was in London, Ont., and Collins admits he was ill-prepared for the daunting task of delivering clever stage banter. Most of those ideas were frantically scribbled down on the ride from Toronto to the London arena, which he says resulted in some awkward moments on the stage. "I spend almost the entire show hiding behind the microphone stand," he says.
© news1130, by David Friend
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