HomeBiographyPhil Collins: The Masterful Drummer Silenced

Phil Collins: The Masterful Drummer Silenced

The thunderous boom of Phil Collins’ iconic drum fills helped catapult Genesis to stardom in the 1980s with larger-than-life hits like “Invisible Touch” and “Land of Confusion”. His dynamic style established Collins as one of the world’s most talented percussionists over his 50-year career. But after decades behind the kit, mounting health issues have tragically forced the legendary stickman to permanently put down his drumsticks.  

Collins first injured his back during Genesis’ 2007 reunion tour after years off the road. and now Phil Collins Suffering Health Issues & No Longer Able to Play Drums. The grueling physical strain of playing 2-hour concerts exacerbated spinal damage near his C5/C6 vertebrae initially caused by years of intense drumming. Multiple ensuing surgeries aimed to alleviate nerve impingement, but instead left Collins with partial paralysis and limited mobility.

Now at age 71 and no longer able to play his beloved drums after gallant attempts to overcome debilitating back and nerve issues plus partial deafness, the iconic musician was forced into a difficult but necessary retirement from live drumming this year. 

The Slow Decline of Collins’ Health

Phil Collins’ spinal troubles trace back to the harm sustained jarring his vertebrae night after night on tour over many years crouched in poor posture behind a drum kit designed for right-handed players despite his left-hand dominance.  

Botched cervical fusion surgery in 2009 left bone fragments in his spinal cord area requiring a 2016 corrective procedure. Unfortunately, the second surgery resulted in Collins suffering nerve damage and further mobility limitations affecting his hands and feet.  

Pre-existing hearing loss problems compounded matters, traced back to his childhood and early drumming career being subjected to extremely loud concert volumes that slowly robbed his ability to discern high-frequency sounds. Collins coped for years playing drums by memorizing visual cues from bandmates versus relying solely on aural timing.  

But the severe back nerve trauma became the final nail in the coffin, as the legendary drummer could no longer withstand the endurance necessary to perform live. Each attempt slowly chipped away at his physical capabilities until finally forcing his hand to retire.  

Passing the Torch to His Son

Rather than withdraw creatively, Phil Collins has passed the drum torch to his talented 18-year-old son Nic. Having started playing at age five, Nic grew up on tour with his father and is uniquely positioned to authentically recreate his drum style.  

This father-son duo first shared the stage in 2017 for a run of Collins’ solo shows aptly titled “Not Dead Yet”. Although the elder Collins was still determined to play some songs each night, he realized his limitations and began working with Nic to back him on other tunes when fatigue set in.  

Now as the featured drummer for Genesis’ 2022 reunion tour, Nic helps carry on his father’s musical legacy. Critics praise how faithfully he plays in the same explosive manner, thanks to learning at the hands of a master during years of traveling together.  


By coming to terms with health struggles often beyond one’s control, the legendary Phil Collins sets an example of aging gracefully into retirement. He walks away from drumming with pride in his lifetime of iconic contributions to music history, rather than lamenting the creeping physical limitations requiring him to hang up his sticks.


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