Philip Bailey and Phil Collins – Easy Lover
Phil Collins and Philip Bailey, which is like saying the voices of Genesis and Earth Wind and Fire!
Philip Bailey was well known as the lead singer of Earth Wind and Fire, and during 1984 he had worked on the realization of his first solo album, Chinese Wall. The producer of this album was a well-known character, Phil Collins, who actually was also a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, because he had played not only the drums, but in this case also the keyboards. Anyway, Phil could play everything, he was a great singer, a great drummer … could he not also be a great producer?
At the end of the recording phase, an episode happened that Phil Collins himself told in different ways. If we want to listen to the more emotional version, let’s say that towards the end of the recordings Philip Bailey asked a personal favor to Phil Collins. Dear Phil, we worked on the album, but we haven’t written a song together yet: would you let me do a song with you? And so it seems that they started to improvise some chords, then to put some music in between, and then to throw some words in, it seems that the first version of the chorus was “Choosy Lovers”, and in short, in the space of a few hours this great song, Easy Lover, was born. In order not to forget everything, they record it directly that night. And a great song comes out.
Then there is a slightly more rational version: at the end of the recordings Philip Bailey and Phil Collins, along with bassist Nathan East, realized they didn’t have a strong enough song to release as a single. Bailey was a delicate singer, a true vocalist, and he didn’t have a song that would make people dance. And so the three musicians sat down to write a song a little more catching for your people, and more or less at this point the version coincides with the previous one: in one night the song was born.
In any case, Easy Lover is the song that was missing from Chinese Wall, that outstanding piece that supports the sales of the entire album, and finally on November 20, 1984 the single comes out in the United States, while it will be released in Europe about three months later, in February 1985-
There was also another aspect to consider for the song: Philip Bailey’s fans had not appreciated his turn towards more pop music, almost more in the traditions of Caucasians rather than African Americans. With Easy Lover, Collins and Bailey managed to find the right compromise that appealed to the fan groups of both. Phil Collins interestingly called it beige music, as it was not in fact black music, but neither was it white music.
The text is neither complicated nor busy, and it tells in a simple way about this girl that the protagonist is falling in love with, even knowing that he will soon be destroyed by this story.
The video is also pretty straightforward, showing various moments of Phil and Philip’s work right during the making of the video. Phil Collins jokes about this, in the words that precede the beginning of the song: we are in a video where we say that we made a video on how to make a video, in practice. The video is absolutely light-hearted and fun, and Phil Collins will also creates this kind of atmosphere in the video of Invisible Touch with his friends Genesis.
In short, perhaps Easy lover is a song born a little by chance, even if we know that in the 80s nothing happened by chance. In any case, a fantastic song was born that night. Who knows if Phil Collins and Philip Bailey imagined that people would still be talking of that 80s night, even beyond the threshold of 2020!