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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


  • Tom Scruttock
    Tom Scruttock Thursday, 13 August 2020 00:34 Comment Link Report

    According to The Daily Mail? 2016?? Everybody in the world has known that story forever.

  • Penelope Netz
    Penelope Netz Saturday, 23 March 2019 18:02 Comment Link Report

    Phil, are you still playing? How is your Neuropathy, Dropfoot? I'm a musician too. I was diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis from alcohol abuse. I seem to have kicked it through withdrawal and working out more and excercise that I did as a professional dancer in Scottish and Bellydance. The doctored are shocked at my recovery. Wanted me to have surgery on my leg. I said no. They misdiagnosed to further finding that I was told to get a canr. They were shocked at my recovery. I still have numbness in both feet and carpal tunnel in my hands, but I will not do surgery. I can still play guitar and keys. I had a band called EMPATHY and want to play out again at 64. I used to play and sing Genisus and other Prog Rock groups along with mostly originals. Would like to know about your health and why you and Rutherford aren't playing with Hackett. And Gabriel. I am not concerned with your relationship publicity at all. I wish you much health and happiness. Hope you aren't on canes anymore. You can do it
    I did. Still something I can deal with.

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