"Did You Know?" - a fan review of Phil Collins' Hello I Must Be Going by Traci Baker.
Did you know that one of Phil Collins' Solo albums has the same name as a Marx Brothers song?
It does, and that is... "Hello, I Must Be Going." The Marx Brothers song appeared in their 1930 classic film, Animal Crackers. But as far as I know, that is where the similarities end.
This "Did You Know" post is all about Phil's second Solo album, Hello, I Must Be Going.
Hello, I Must Be Going was released on November 5, 1982, on Virgin Records in the UK and Ireland, on Atlantic Records in the US, and on the WEA label elsewhere in the world. Just a little more than a year-and-a-half after the release of the ground-breaking Face Value, this follow-up release carried a lot of pressure for Phil. For one, he wasn't sure he would even make a second solo album, but when it was time, would people expect it to be like Face Value? Would it meet with the same success, same critical acclaim? It's the classic sophomore dilemma.
Much like Face Value, this album did draw from Phil's personal life, but then that would become his signature; songs that are directly reflective of what was going on in his heart. He has said "I am someone who writes from the heart, not the head." So no filters, just raw emotion and storytelling.
He looks back on this period and acknowledges the last thing he wanted to do was to make a second "divorce album," but at the time, that was what he was going through, so he really had no other choice. Generally though, there is definitely a little more 'f-you' on this album. Songs like "I Don't Care Anymore," "I Cannot Believe It's True," and "Do You Know, Do You Care," all kind of speak less about pining away for love to return, and more about...you did me wrong and I'm going to tell the world.
This album had a strange trip as far as singles go. Phil acknowledges he wasn't necessarily ready to make a second record, and he wondered if that was also the case for the listening public too. The record company decided that "Thru These Walls," would be the first single. It was released in October 1982 in the UK, just prior to the album release.
Admittedly a song with a slightly odd subject matter, it did not fare well in the charts, reaching only #56 on the UK charts and in the US, Atlantic Records declined to even release it as a single.
The idea for the song came to him, as Phil shared in an interview, while he was on tour. His then wife Jill was with him, he was sound asleep after having performed a show that night, she was woken to the sound of the couple in the hotel room next door being, shall we say, amorous. When she told him the story the next morning, the idea for "Thru These Walls" was born. Back to the single and it's lukewarm reception....Was that fear he had about this sophomore effort failing really coming true?
Come on! This is Phil Collins we are talking about; of course not.
No, the Motown classic, "You Can't Hurry Love," redone masterfully (and aided by the very popular finger-snapping video that features all-Phil, all the time), reached #1 on the UK charts and #10 on the US Charts. The success of this single actually managed to push the album to #2 in the UK, although it remained the only real "hit" from this record.
Over time, other songs became fan-favorites, especially when played live. Songs like "The West Side" and "It Don't Matter to Me," both prominently featuring the Phenix Horns (and spectacular drumming from Phil) became staples of the live shows, as did one of my favorites, "I Don't Care Anymore." Speaking of live shows, something else this album spurred along is the first-ever Phil Collins Solo Concert Tour.
The Hello, I Must Be Going Tour visited Europe and North America just as the album was being released in November 1982 and lasted through February 1983. The live shows featured a fantastic group of players that included the great Chester Thompson on drums, and long-time friend Daryl Stuermer on guitar. In addition, Phil was able to persuade the four men who made up the Phenix Horns (from Earth, Wind & Fire) to tour, giving the shows an added punch of energy, beyond the already incredible powerhouse energy that Phil Collins brought to the stage every time he performed.
As I shared earlier, one of my all-time favorite Phil songs, and the one that opens the album (in a way setting the tone of this record), is the fantastic, "I Don't Care Anymore." This song did well in the US, reaching #39 on the Billboard charts, and giving Phil his very first Grammy nomination (for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male) in 1984.
Many people believe this song is a direct f-you to his first wife, and in his live performances of it, that definitely seems to fit the bill. One of my very favorite live Phil performances EVER is this song fromLive at Perkins Palace in 1982. (Link to it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVS5X5Aw3yQ) I cannot take my eyes off of the screen as he sings this song. It's compelling to the millionth power. I believe every word he is saying there, and I personally think he is really feeling those emotions back then, or he was atthatshow anyway.
Critical reviews of this album were mixed, but then that seems to be the case for much of what Phil did at this point, and beyond, for whatever reason. Generally though, it is acknowledged that this album was a growth in production and transitioned Phil's love of R&B nicely into his work. Critics aside, Phil's music delighted his fans and many of the songs on this record remain fan-favorites today.
Recently, I sat down to re-listened to it in it's entirety. And I found that songs I had once skipped over were the ones I resonated with more. Songs like, "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away," for example. The depth of feeling; despair, anger and love --all at once-- in those words and music. It may be because I am older now, and have more life experience to "get it" - but it gave me more empathy and care for an artist who I already loved. It gave me a new appreciation for him as a human being (vs. just the guy on stage I admired all these years). Thank you Phil Collins for giving us so much of yourself.
I hope you will take the time to re-listen to this fantastic album. It really does hold up.This November it turns 40.
Written by Traci Baker
Writing that last line made me weepy. Where did all those years go? Ah...the familiar pangs of nostalgia.
Hello, I Must Be Going Album Track Listing:
1. "I Don't Care Anymore"
2. "I Cannot Believe It's True"
3. "Like China"
4. "Do You Know, Do You Care?"
5. "You Can't Hurry Love"
6. "It Don't Matter to Me"
7. "Thru These Walls"
8. "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away"
9. "The West Side"
10. "Why Can't It Wait 'Til Morning"
Do you have a favorite song from this album?
I hope this provided you either some new information about Phil and this album, or if not, made you remember something you may have forgotten. All of my "Did You Know" posts are being written and shared to help exemplify why I believe that Phil is so deserving of the recognition by his peers in music - to be nominated and voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. I hope you will join me and sign our petitionhttps://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/740/675/981/and keep participating on this page.