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Why Phil Collins played a gig with a pot of paint on his piano

Collins on TV, placed on top of the amplifier beside him is a large pot of paint with white gloss Collins on TV, placed on top of the amplifier beside him is a large pot of paint with white gloss

The mystery behind Phil Collin's bizarre paint-can stage-prop has been revealed, British paper The Daily Mail alleges.

The In The Air Tonight singer used the strange prop in his first solo appearance on British pop show Top of the Pops in 1981. It sat on speaker stack next to his piano: white during In the Air Tonight, swapped out with a red one during I Missed Again, a song about infidelity.  

According to The Daily Mail the paint cans were a coded dig at the singer's estranged wife Andrea Bertorelli, a reference to an affair she had admitted to him not long before the appearance.

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Phil Collins with his first wife Andrea Bertorelli and her four year-old daughter Joely at their home in Surrey in 1976 | Graham Wood

Bertorelli was watching the show at her home, the paper says, when the camera zoomed in on the cans. "It was personal and it was private," she told the paper. "He should have kept it to himself, especially since he didn't take any responsibility. That hurt me more than anything, caused me a lot of pain."

Bertorelli's affair, claims the Mail, was with a man who was decorating the Collins' home at the time - thus the paint can reference

701 3Phil Collins (with Peter Gabriel) on drums with his band Genesis in 1975 | Waring Abbott

It also suggests a line in a Collins song about 'the Cellophane man' was a reference to his suspicions of a second affair between his wife and a Cellophane sales rep.

Collins and Bertorelli met at drama school where she was training as a dancer. However, Collins first love was drumming, and he left school to pursue his ambitions with his band Genesis.

The couple were married in 1975 and divorced in 1980. 

Collins' memoir, Not Dead Yet, will be released in October and may touch on the subject of his wife's infidelity.

© Stuff

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