1981’s Face Value album got Phil Collins’ solo career off to a spectacular start, and the Genesis drummer/singer’s rise to stardom continued with the following two solo albums, now reissued as deluxe editions. Released in the same year as Genesis self-titled album, Hello, I Must Be Going! (1983) is almost a carbon copy of Face Value with its mixture of approachable rock, pop and soul. The opening and powerful track “I Don’t Care Anymore” could be considered the sequel to “In the Air Tonight,” but more hard-hitting accompanied by an explosive performance by Collins on the both the vocals and the drums. Meanwhile, Hello contains some upbeat brassy pop songs in “I Cannot Believe It’s True” and “It Don’t Matter to Me,” another compelling moody rocker in “Do You Know, Do You Care,” and the quirky yet subdued “Thru These Walls.” As always, Collins delivers another tuneful pop ballad, this time “Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away,” a year removed from his biggest one “Against All Odds.” The album’s biggest hit was his remake of the Supremes’ classic “You Can’t Hurry Love,” a wonderful tribute to the Motown sound—it would become Collins’ first-ever American Top 10 hit. This new edition of Hello, I Must Be Going! contains live performances and demos of the albums’ songs including heartfelt renditions of Curtis Mayfield’s “It’s Alright” and “People Get Ready.”
Given his steady climb to popularity as one of the defining stars of the ’80s, it was only a matter of time that Collins would hit the critical and commercial jackpot. No Jacket Required (1985) was the musician’s Thriller—a smash album whose mostly synthesizer-driven songs that made him an ubiquitous presence on radio and the charts. It’s hard not to be swept up by its four hits singles: the catchy “Sussudio” (which certainly echoes Prince’s “1999”), the tension-filled rocker Don’t Lose My Number”, the serene balladry of “One More Night,” and what could be considered one of the man’s signature songs “Take Me Home” (which features the backing vocals of Sting and Collins’ former Genesis band mate Peter Gabriel). Even the non-singles tracks make the dynamic sounding No Jacket Required an almost flawless album: from the haunting social commentary of “Long Long Way to Go,” the swinging funk of “Who Said I Would,” and the driving “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore.” No Jacket Required set a standard in Collins’ career (it won a Grammy for Album of the Year) that would prove difficult to eclipse. Some of the album’s songs, including “One More Night” and “Take Me Home,” are reprised in their demo versions on the second disc of the reissue of No Jacket Required, along with live renditions of those album tracks and “Easy Lover,” which was a hit duet for Collins and Earth Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey.