Face Value (album)
|Studio album by Phil Collins|
|Released||13 February 1981|
|Recorded||June 1980–January 1981|
The Town House|
The Village Recorder
(Los Angeles, California)
|Phil Collins chronology|
|Singles from Face Value|
2016 reissue cover
Face Value is the first solo studio album by English drummer and singer-songwriter Phil Collins. It was released on 13 February 1981 on Virgin Records internationally and on Atlantic Records in North America. After his first wife filed for divorce in 1979, Collins began to write songs during a break in activity from his band Genesis with much of the material concerning his personal life. The album was recorded from mid-1980 to early 1981 with Collins and Hugh Padgham as producers. Additional musicians include the Phenix Horns, Alphonso Johnson and Eric Clapton.
Face Value was an instant commercial success and reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart for three weeks and No. 7 on the US Billboard 200. It has since sold over 5 million copies in the US and over 1.5 million in the UK. The album received widespread praise from critics. Its lead single "In the Air Tonight", released in January 1981, reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and became known for its drum arrangement and use of gated reverb. In January 2016, Face Value was reissued with bonus tracks and new photography in the style of the original but featuring a present-day Collins.
Background and writing
By 1978, Collins had been a member of English progressive rock band Genesis for almost eight years. After spending the first five as their drummer, he reluctantly accepted the role of frontman of the group in 1975 following the departure of their original singer Peter Gabriel. The band's nine-month world tour to promote ...And Then There Were Three... (1978) became problematic for Collins's wife Andrea who complained that he was not at home enough and that should he commit to the full tour, she would not be there when he returns. Collins, however, maintained that the band were on the cusp of international breakthrough and the tour would pay dividends for the future. However, at the end of the tour, Andrea decided to take their two children to her parents in Vancouver, Canada. In an attempt to save his marriage, Collins moved to Vancouver, but it failed and returned to England in April 1979 with Andrea having agreed to return with the children.
With Genesis members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford working on their solo albums through 1979, Collins used some of his spare time to write songs. In 1979, he had told Modern Drummer, "One ambition is to do my own album which will have a lot of variety. I write songy stuff, as well as some from the Brand X area. I’m also hip to what [Brian] Eno does — those kind of soundtracks which I've always been interested in — two or three minutes of just mood." In his home in Shalford, Surrey, named Old Croft, Collins set up a synthesiser, piano, Roland CR-78 drum machine, and an 8-track tape machine in his bedroom, and recorded a collection of demos with backing tracks and early lyrics. He was not concerned with the quality of the recordings as what may have lacked in the recordings would have been salvaged with the emotion in the songs. There were numerous times where Collins stopped recording earlier than planned as the ideas were not working in the studio, leaving him to resume the following day. Collins based the majority of Face Value on the divorce he had endured, and used a solo album as an outlet for his feelings.
During the conception of the album, Collins had forged a close friendship with John Martyn and contributed towards Grace and Danger (1980), which contained a similar narrative relating to divorce and relationship breakdown. Some of Collins' material that he had written was performed by Genesis on Duke (1980), including "Misunderstanding", the arrangement of which remained unchanged. He had played "In the Air Tonight" and "If Leaving Me is Easy" to the group, but they were left out as Collins said they were "too simple for the band".
Early album titles included Interiors and Exposure. To release the album, Collins signed a solo contract with Virgin Records for UK distribution. He did so to "leave the nest" and to ensure he could maintain full creative control over the music. Collins also felt that releasing the album on Charisma Records, the same label as Genesis, would have harmed its success due to the preconceived notions people have about bands and labels. Collins thought a new label would benefit the casual listener and appeal to a wider audience.
Recording sessions for Face Value took place at the Town House in London between late winter of 1979 and early January 1981. The demos recorded onto 8-track were transferred onto 24-track. According to Classic Albums, in what was then considered a controversial move at the time, Collins, who grew up listening to American R&B as a child in Chiswick, decided to incorporate an R&B horn section, hiring the Phenix Horns, who played backup for Earth, Wind & Fire. Collins had asked a contact who knew the group if they were interested in playing, and upon their agreement their leader Tom Tom met with Collins who asked him to sing the sections where the horns were to be placed into a tape recorder. The group recorded their parts the following day.
Collins produced the album himself with assistance from Hugh Padgham. Initially he considered George Clinton, Maurice White, or Phil Ramone until he realised that he merely wanted someone to endorse his own ideas. Assistant recording engineer Nick Launay was hired after Collins was impressed with his work with Public Image Limited. Collins was dissatisfied with initial test cuts of the album, describing them like a Queen album, "big, British and upfront". He then listened to several black albums including ones by The Jacksons and a collection of soul artists in his own collection, and noticed a common link with technician Mike Reece who worked at a Los Angeles mastering lab. Reece prepared a cut which Collins was satisfied with.
The simple style of music on Face Value was reasoned by Collins as his fondness of Weather Report's simple melodies and for black music. Collins controversially included drum programming rather than just live drum instrumentation despite his reputation as a drummer. Collins said he wanted to experiment with different sounds and was inspired by the work of his former bandmate Peter Gabriel, who had used drum programming on his last album. Collins was part of these sessions. Many of the songs' arrangements were done by Collins and session arranger Tom Tom 84. He incorporated Indian-styled violins, played by L. Shankar, for additional textures.
The last recording session for Face Value was in January 1981, prior to the release of the first single, "In the Air Tonight". Atlantic CEO Ahmet Ertegun advised Collins to perform drums during the verses and opening of the song, whereas the album version does not feature live drumming until the bridge. Several songs on the album feature an autobiographical view into Collins' life at the time, mainly to the anger he felt at his impending divorce. Rumours about "In the Air Tonight" being similarly autobiographical were widely circulated in America; in fact, the lyrics were ad-libbed and have no actual meaning. "You Know What I Mean" (a song that was used on Frida's Something's Going On album) and "If Leaving Me Is Easy" are solemn ballads that talk of heartbreak. "I Missed Again" also had a solemn tone but was revised as a peppier song while still focusing on the theme of heartbreak. The jazzy ballad "This Must Be Love" focuses on Collins' then new romance at the time with Jill Tavelman, who would be his second wife (and second divorce).
The album features songs of different genres. While technically a rock and pop offering, the basis of many of the tracks lies in R&B with light funk influences, especially in "I'm Not Moving", for which Collins sang his backgrounds with a vocoder. "Droned" and "Hand in Hand" are progressive rock instrumentals, with the first featuring an exotic African sound, while "Hand in Hand" features jazz elements, a black children's choir from Los Angeles humming the music, and improvisational instrumentation by Collins and the Phenix Horns. "The Roof Is Leaking" has Delta blues and country elements. "Behind the Lines" was originally recorded by Genesis on Duke album as a progressive rock number. Collins worked up a horn-driven R&B/funk-inspired arrangement after speeding up the tape on the Genesis version and thinking that the sped-up version sounded like a Michael Jackson song. The cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" includes instruments and vocals playing in reverse while Collins provided multi-layered background vocals and sparse drumming. After the song ends, Collins can be heard quietly singing "Over the Rainbow" in reference to the recent murder of John Lennon; this final song is unlisted on most releases of the album (the original US cassette version being an exception), and would be the only time Collins used a hidden track on one of his own releases.
Three songs that Collins wrote during the Face Value sessions were ultimately omitted: "Misunderstanding", "How Can You Just Sit There" (which evolved into his 1984 single "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"), and what would become "Don't Lose My Number", which wouldn't appear until Collins' third album No Jacket Required in 1985.
Collins regarded Face Value as a highly personal project, which gave rise to the iconic cover art with Collins' face in extreme close-up, originally intended to symbolise the listener "getting into his head"; the reverse side of the sleeve shows the rear of his head, although the CD version of the album placed this image on the insert card instead. To emphasise the personal nature of the album, Collins' also hand wrote all of the liner and sleeve notes, even down to the legal statements on the outer circumference of the centre label of the disc itself. Both of the main visual elements of Face Value — the facial close-up, and the handwritten notes — would became a motif of Collins' subsequent albums until 1996's Dance into the Light. Rather than write "Phil Collins" in the liner notes, Collins wrote "Me".
Released on 13 February 1981, Face Value became an immediate success, reaching No. 1 in the UK, Canada, and other European countries, while peaking in the top ten in the U.S. "In the Air Tonight" became the album's biggest hit, reaching No. 2 in the UK, No. 1 in three other countries, and becoming a top twenty hit in the U.S. Other songs such as "I Missed Again" found modest success reaching No. 14 in the UK and No. 19 in the U.S., while the third single, "If Leaving Me Is Easy", reached No. 17 in the UK but was not released in America. Sales of the album reached five million in the U.S. and went five-times platinum in the UK and ten-times platinum in Canada. No solo tour was produced from this album.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|Rolling Stone (DE)|||
Face Value was released to critical acclaim. AllMusic's William Ruhlmann rated Face Value four-and-a-half out of five stars. He stated: "Collins proves himself a passionate singer (and distinctive drummer) with a gift for both deeply felt ballads and snarling rockers." Steve Pond of Rolling Stone rated it three out of five stars. He explained that "[Collins] keeps the fluid vocal tone he's lately developed in Genesis, yet ignores the group's high-blown conceits in favor of some basic pop and R&B lessons". He also called the album "pop music about personal turmoil". However, he stated that "the singer's broken heart is too clearly on his sleeve, and musical missteps abound".
Writing for Ultimate Classic Rock in 2013, Will Levith described the album as a "now-classic" which "featured one of the dopest ’80s songs too: 'In the Air Tonight', which just about everybody has played air drums to one time or another". However, he described the cover of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" as "absolutely atrocious" and queried: "Why Collins thought it was necessary to lay such a giant turd on an otherwise awesome album is beyond us." In 2016, Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian described Face Value as "an intriguing debut, wandering between art-rock and soulful MOR... Face Value's most potent quality was its emotional transparency. Like the pensive portrait on the cover, the songs addressed the listener with unflinching directness."
Nigel F from Scunthorpe Telegraph gave the 2016 reissue a brief, but very positive review, praising Collins' hits such as "In the Air Tonight" and claiming the reworked material "sounds as fresh as ever". He also praised the additional content of the reissue as well, giving the album a 10/10 score in the end. Writing for Dorset Echo Joanna Davis gave the reissue a positive review, praising how "In the Air Tonight" sounds crystal-clear in the new surround sound and claiming most tracks stand the test of time, although some, like "If Leaving Me Is Easy," "belong in the forgotten land of 80s ballads preceded by a saxophone introduction". Icon Fetch reviewer, Tony Peters, was hugely positive about the album, acclaiming it as "not only his finest work, it’s also an incredible piece of catharsis following the breakup of a relationship" and praising the overall diversity of the music and concluding that it is one of the greatest albums of the decade.
All tracks written by Phil Collins, except where noted.
|1.||"In the Air Tonight"||5:34|
|2.||"This Must Be Love"||3:55|
|3.||"Behind the Lines"||lyrics by Mike Rutherford; music by Tony Banks, Collins and Rutherford||3:53|
|4.||"The Roof Is Leaking"||3:16|
|6.||"Hand in Hand"||5:20|
|7.||"I Missed Again"||3:41|
|8.||"You Know What I Mean"||2:33|
|9.||"Thunder and Lightning"||4:12|
|10.||"I'm Not Moving"||2:33|
|11.||"If Leaving Me Is Easy"||4:54|
|12.||"Tomorrow Never Knows"||John Lennon, Paul McCartney||4:15|
|13.||"Over the Rainbow" (unlisted track, except on cassette release WEA 1981)||lyrics by E.Y. Harburg; music by Harold Arlen||0:31|
- Several original vinyl copies have "Play Loud" etched into the album's inner groove where the matrix number is typically found. This may be because the record's baked-in volume is relatively low compared to others'.
- The album was re-released and remastered by Steve Hoffman for the Audio Fidelity label in 2010.
- A 2-disc remastered version of Face Value was released on 29 January 2016 and contains live songs and demos.
|Extra Values bonus disc (Disc two of 2016 deluxe edition)|
|1.||"Misunderstanding" (live 2004)||4:42|
|2.||"If Leaving Me Is Easy" (live 1985)||7:23|
|3.||"In the Air Tonight" (live 1997)||7:51|
|4.||"Behind the Lines" (live 1985)||3:39|
|5.||"The Roof Is Leaking" (demo 1980)||3:12|
|6.||"Hand in Hand" (live 1997)||9:47|
|7.||"I Missed Again" (live 2004)||4:22|
|8.||"...And So to F..." (live 1982)||6:22|
|9.||"This Must Be Love" (demo 1980)||3:44|
|10.||"Please Don't Ask" (demo 1980)||4:01|
|11.||"Misunderstanding" (demo 1980)||2:53|
|12.||"Against All Odds" (demo 1980)||2:58|
There were many songs which were omitted from the album including:
- "Please Don't Break My Heart" [demo released in mp3 through website in 2011]
- "How Can You Sit There? (Against All Odds)" [released on 'Face Value' Reissue Bonus CD in 2016]
- "Misunderstanding" [released on Face Value Reissue Bonus CD in 2016]
- "Please Don't Ask" [released on Face Value Reissue Bonus CD in 2016]
- Phil Collins – vocals, drums (1, 3, 6, 7, 9–12), Roland VP-330 vocoder (1, 6, 10), Roland CR-78 drum machine (1, 6, 12), Prophet-5 synthesizer (1, 2, 5–7, 10–12), Fender Rhodes (1, 2, 9, 11), percussion (2, 10), piano (4–8, 10), handclaps (5, 9), congas (5), marimba (6), acoustic guitar (13)
- Daryl Stuermer – guitars (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12), banjo (4), 12-string guitar (5)
- John Giblin – bass guitar (1, 9, 10, 12)
- L. Shankar – violin (1, 5, 7, 12), tamboura (5), "voice drums" (5)
- Alphonso Johnson – bass (2, 3, 6, 7, 11)
- J. Peter Robinson – Prophet-5 (3)
- Joe Partridge – slide guitar (4)
- Stephen Bishop – background vocals (2)
- Eric Clapton – guitar (4, 11)
- Arif Mardin – string arrangements (8, 11)
- EWF Horns –
- Music preparation – Maurice Spears
- Other background vocals on tracks 6 and 12 by several children choirs in Los Angeles
- Strings on tracks 8 and 11 conducted by Martyn Ford
- Violins – Gavyn Wright (leader), Bill Benhem, Bruce Dukov, David Woodcock, Liz Edwards, Irvine Arditti, Ken Sillitoe, Peter Oxen and Richard Studt
- Viola – Roger Best, Brian Hawkins and Simon Whistler
- Cello – Tony Pleeth, Clive Anstee and Nigel Warren-Green
- Double bass – Chris Lawrence
- Phil Collins – producer
- Hugh Padgham – assistant producer. engineer
- Nick Launay – assistant engineer (London)
- Karen Siegel – assistant engineer (Los Angeles)
- Trevor Key – photography
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.|
|NL Top 100
|NL Top 40
|1981||"In the Air Tonight"||2||19||2||2||3||6||1||2||1||1||1||2||4||7||1||1|
|"I Missed Again"||14||19||8||6||88||35||23||28||—||—||—||12||—||—||—||—|
|"If Leaving Me Is Easy"||17||—||—||—||—||—||61||—||—||—||—||25||—||—||—||—|
|"Behind the Lines"||—||—||58||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Thunder and Lightning"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1988–89||"In the Air Tonight ('88 Remix)"||4||—||—||—||47||—||3||17||23||4||20||6||—||—||—||2|
|2007–08||"In the Air Tonight" (re-release)||14||—||—||—||—||1||—||—||—||—||—||32||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.|
|Australia (ARIA)||4× Platinum||280,000^|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Platinum||50,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Diamond||1,000,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Platinum||600,000*|
|Germany (BVMI)||7× Gold||1,750,000^|
|Netherlands (NVPI)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||2× Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||5× Platinum||1,542,095|
|United States (RIAA)||5× Platinum||5,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Galluccci, Michael (9 February 2016). "35 Years Ago: Phil Collins Releases His First Solo Album, 'Face Value,' About His Crumbling Marriage". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Lynskey, Dorian (11 February 2016). "Phil Collins returns: 'I got letters from nurses saying, "That's it, I'm not buying your records"'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
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- Fielder, Hugh (27 October 1979). "The return of... Getting it together in the Country". Sounds. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 151.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 154.
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- Australian chart peaks:
- "Face Value", "In the Air Tonight" and "I Missed Again" (Kent Music Report) peaks: Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 71. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "In the Air Tonight ('88 Remix)" (ARIA Chart) peak: "australian-charts.com > Discography Phil Collins". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- "charts.org.nz – Discography Phil Collins". charts.org.nz Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Chartverfolgung / Collins, Phil / Longplay". musicline.de PhonoNet. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- "Austrian Charts > Phil Collins". austriancharts.at Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
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- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959-2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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- "Swiss Charts > Phil Collins". swisscharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
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- "Chartvefolgung / Collins, Phil / Single". musicline.de PhonoNet. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "dutchcharts.nl > Phil Collins". dutchcharts.nl Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Dutch Top 40 > Phil Collins" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 29 April 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Les Charts > Phil Collins". lescharts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Irish Charts > Phil Collins". irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos:año a año, 1959-2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Austrian album certifications – Phil Collins – Face Value" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 5 November 2012. Enter Phil Collins in the field Interpret. Enter Face Value in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen.
- "Canadian album certifications – Phil Collins – Face Value". Music Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
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- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Phil Collins; 'Face Value')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Dutch album certifications – Phil Collins – Face Value" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 5 October 2012. Enter Face Value in the "Artiest of titel" box.
- "Spanish album certifications – Phil Collins – Face Value" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 5 November 2012. Select album under "Chart", enter the certification year in the field "Year". Select the certification month in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts".
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Phil Collins; 'Face Value')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- Jones, Alan (5 February 2016). "Official Charts Analysis: Bowie scores consecutive No.1 albums". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved 7 February 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
- "American album certifications – Phil Collins – Face Value". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 5 November 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.