I don’t have a lot to say about “Don’t Lose My Number”. It was the third single from No Jacket Required, which was his biggest album. He won an Album of the Year Grammy for it. I didn’t actually see it happen; I listened to my mom and stepdad watch it from my room where I was supposed to be asleep. I distinctly heard my mom criticize Phil for wearing a suit with dirty sneakers.
Anyway, “Don’t Lose My Number” came out right at the tail end of summer ‘85, peaked in the top five of the pop charts, and is an awesome song which should’ve had an awesome big-budget spy flick video, but instead Phil decided to spoof on a bunch of other videos (and movies) to show how adorable he was. And there is no understating how adorable early ‘80s Phil Collins was. Goofy, hairy, sort of an every guy type who had a propensity to take photos while wearing very short shorts. Or without a shirt. Woof.
So I should probably share the story of how I happened to meet Phil Collins. As a result of the success of Tarzan, Disney asked Phil to do the soundtrack for another kids movie, Brother Bear. As part of the promotional cycle around the soundtrack album, Phil did a live VH-1 special that I’m not sure even aired. I was working as a buyer for a music store chain at the time, and my boss emailed me one morning with the invite to the special, asking me if I wanted to go. At the time, we’d only been working together about six months, and I’m not totally sure Brian (whose own tastes ran more towards what you’d expect from a music snob born in the late fifties) knew the depths of my love of ‘80s pop culture. He didn’t think I would say “yes”. You bet your ass I said “yes.”
The show was great. No one seemed especially interested in the Brother Bear tunes, but you best believe people were interested in the greatest hits. “Sussudio” had the asses wiggling. I don’t think he sang “Don’t Lose My Number”, though. Anyway, after the show, Phil did a Q&A and then (to my surprise), there was a meet ‘n greet. We lined up in the hallway, and everyone got about 30 seconds with Phil to shake his hand, maybe take a picture if someone was in possession of a camera (this was before camera phones). Again, Brian wanted to leave. There was no way in hell I was missing the opportunity to shake Phil Collins’ hand. I’ve never been so nervous to meet a celebrity in my life. Actually, I’m generally not nervous meeting famous people. I’ve been doing what I do for a long time. I’ve met Prince. I’ve met Springsteen twice. But Phil had me shook. I don’t even remember what I said. I shook his hand, mumbled something and broke the fuck out, floating on Cloud 9 the whole time.
Truthfully, the thing I remember most from that interaction was that he wasn’t as short as I thought he would’ve been. He’s maybe 5’7”? So about an inch shorter than me.
And there you have it, folks. I don’t have much to say about “Don’t Lose My Number”, but I do apparently have quite a bit to say about Phil Collins himself.