Former Yes singer Jon Anderson could have had a bestselling solo career — if only Phil Collins hadn’t gotten in the way.
That’s the story, at least, that Anderson jokingly told Prog during a recent interview, explaining that the two shared a U.K. label for a brief period in 1981, but their paths quickly went in opposite directions.
"They signed me and old whats-his-name – Phil Collins – in the same month," said Anderson, explaining that while Collins went on to submit his Face Value LP, he embarked on a pair of projects — one about artist Marc Chagall, the other an adaptation of the Daphne Charteris book A True Fairy Tale. After the label heard Anderson’s work, he says they requested he return the advance he’d been paid.
"And then Phil goes to No. 1 for a thousand years," laughed Anderson. "Gosh! I misjudged that situation."
He thought of Collins later in the decade, while touring behind his 1988 album In the City of Angels — a release that hadn’t lived up to commercial expectations anywhere but Canada. "I played a festival in Quebec and it was still being played on the radio," Anderson recalled. "The promoter told me, ‘This was a big album here.’ I said, ‘Really? This is the only place in the world it was then. Basically it was Phil again. Genesis‘ Invisible Touch. Phil’s voice in that period was so perfect for radio. Mine was not so good for radio."
© Ultimate Classic Rock, by Jeff Giles