|Recorded May–December 1984|
No Jacket Required (1985) 12"ers (1987)
Release date 18 February 1985
Artist Phil Collins
Label Atlantic Records
|Released 18 February 1985 (1985-02-18)|
Studio The Townhouse, London and Old Croft, Surrey
Producer Phil Collins Hugh Padgham
Genres Rock music, Pop music, Pop rock
Awards Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
Similar Phil Collins albums, Rock music albums
No Jacket Required is the third solo studio album by English singer-songwriter Phil Collins. The album was originally released on 18 February 1985 on Virgin (UK and Ireland), Atlantic (US and Canada), and WEA (rest of the world). It features guest backing vocalists, including Helen Terry, Peter Gabriel and Sting. Some of the songs, like "Don't Lose My Number" and "Sussudio", were based around improvisation. Other songs, like "Long Long Way to Go", had a political message. "One More Night", "Sussudio", "Don't Lose My Number", and "Take Me Home" were released as singles, with corresponding music videos. All four singles were top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with "Sussudio" and "One More Night" reaching number one. The three singles that were released in the UK all reached the top 20 on the UK charts.
- Phil collins sussudio
- Production and recording
- Release and commercial performance
- Critical reception
- Influence and legacy
- Live Aid
- Track listing
The album was received favourably by the majority of music critics, although opinions have become more negative in subsequent decades and it has rarely been featured in "Best Albums of the 1980s" lists since. It won three Grammy Awards including for Album of the Year in 1986. Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote that Collins was "quietly revolutionising and expanding the role of the drums in pop record making". Rolling Stone reviewer David Fricke wrote that, "Like his '81 and '82 outings, Face Value and Hello, I Must Be Going!, No Jacket Required is not an album that waits to be liked". Collins' most commercially successful solo album, it peaked at number one in several countries, including the US (where it was at the top of the charts for seven weeks), the UK and Canada. According to the RIAA, the record sold over twelve million copies in the US, and in the UK, the album sold over two million copies, and was certified 6× platinum. It was the second best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, beaten to first place by Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms. Worldwide, the album has sold over 25 million copies.
Many of the songs, including "Take Me Home", and "Long Long Way to Go", have been featured in episodes of Miami Vice and Cold Case, and "The Man with the Horn" was re-written and re-recorded for the episode "Phil the Shill". "We Said Hello Goodbye" was remixed for the film Playing for Keeps.
Following the release of the album Collins embarked on the successful No Jacket Required World Tour. At the end of that tour, Collins performed at both the London and Philadelphia Live Aid concerts on 13 July 1985. During the tour, Collins recorded the song "Separate Lives" with Marilyn Martin for the movie White Nights, which was a number one hit in the US and a top ten hit in the UK. Remixes of six songs from the album were later included on the 12"ers compilation album, released in 1987.
Phil collins sussudio
Production and recording
Some of the songs from the album emerged from Collins' improvisations with a drum machine, including the singles "One More Night" and "Sussudio". Collins started singing "one more night" to an attempt of making a beat similar to The Jacksons, and improvised "sus-sussudio" in another. Collins tried to replace the lyric with another phrase but decided to keep that way, leading to lyrics about a schoolboy crush on a girl at his school. Another song created mostly through improvisation, "Don't Lose My Number", was described by Collins as having been written mostly during the recordings for his first solo album, Face Value. Collins added that he does not fully understand the meaning of the lyrics, described by reviewer Stephen Holden of The New York Times as "vague, sketching the outlines of a melodrama but withholding the full story".
Other songs were written with a more personal message. "Long Long Way to Go" is often considered one of Collins' more popular songs never to be released as a single (although it received considerable airplay), and was at that point in his career his most political song. Former Police lead vocalist Sting provided backing vocals for the song. Sting and Collins first met through Band Aid, and became good friends after performing together in Live Aid. Collins was working on a song, and thought that Sting, having played at Band Aid, would relate to it very easily. Collins asked Sting to help him provide vocals for this song, and Sting accepted.
"Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore" is another song in which Collins was making a personal message. The song was made in response to everyone around him getting a divorce, including his manager, friends and himself years before. Collins later said that he sang this at Charles, Prince of Wales' 40th birthday party, not knowing that the Prince's divorce from his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, would happen a short time later. The Phil Collins Big Band played this live on tour. In later years, Collins performed a re-arranged version of the song as a ballad as part of his Seriously, Live! World Tour, differing considerably from the original up-beat album version.
"Take Me Home" is another song in which the meaning was originally very vague. At first listening, it appears that the song is about going home, but this is not true. Collins has stated that the song lyrics refer to a patient in a mental institution, and that it is very much based on the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Peter Gabriel, Helen Terry, and Sting all provide backing vocals. While recording "Long Long Way to Go", Collins asked Sting to provide backing vocals for this song. The music video (shot during the NJR tour) features Collins in multiple cities around the world, including London, New York City, Tokyo, Moscow, Sydney, Paris, St. Louis, Los Angeles (Hollywood), San Francisco, and Memphis (Graceland). At the end of the music video, Collins arrives home and hears a woman (presumably his wife) from inside the house asking him where he has been. He replies by saying he has been to some of the cities mentioned above. The woman replies "You've been down at the pub, haven't you?", as Collins grins at the camera.
"We Said Hello Goodbye" appeared as a B-side to "Take Me Home" and "Don't Lose My Number" originally, and as an "extra track" on the CD release of the album. Producer Arif Mardin composed the beginning portion of the song. A remix of the song with additional guitars and without an orchestra was released the following year (1986) on the soundtrack for the movie, Playing for Keeps. This remixed version received some radio airplay around the time of the soundtrack's release (which coincided with the No Jacket Required period), though it did not chart. Collins has mused that the song is unfairly classed as a "second class citizen", stating that the song would have been looked at differently if it were added to the album. According to The New York Times reviewer Caryn James, the song is "a straightforward comment on leaving home".
"The Man with the Horn" was originally recorded during sessions for Collins' second solo album Hello, I Must Be Going! in 1982. However, the song was not released until it appeared as the B-side to "Sussudio" in the UK, and as the B-side to "One More Night" in the United States. Collins has said that he has "no emotional attachment" to the song. Music by The Jackson 5 inspired Collins to write the song "I Like the Way", which also did not appear on the album, originally appearing as the B-side to "One More Night" in the UK and "Sussudio" in the US. He called the song "dodgy" and has cited it among his least favourite songs.
The album is named after an incident at The Pump Room restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. Collins, entering the restaurant with former Led Zeppelin lead vocalist Robert Plant, was denied admittance because he did not meet the restaurant's dress code of "jacket required" for dinner while Plant was allowed in. Collins was wearing a jacket and argued about it. The maître d'hôtel argued that the jacket was not "proper". Collins said in an interview with Playboy that he was, at that point, never so mad in his life. After the incident, the singer often appeared on shows such as Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, denouncing the restaurant and telling his story. The management of the restaurant later sent him a complimentary sport coat and an apology letter, stating that he could come to the restaurant wearing whatever he wanted.
Release and commercial performance
No Jacket Required was released on 18 February 1985. The lead singles were "Sussudio" in the UK and "One More Night" in the US. Both songs had music videos that were shot at a London pub owned by Richard Branson, featuring Collins playing both before and after the building closes.
In the first week of March, shortly after Collins won a Grammy for "Against All Odds", the album debuted at the top spot of the UK Albums Chart and 24th in the Billboard 200. It also got to tenth in the German charts and 15th in Canada. By the end of the month, it had climbed to number one in America as well. Collins had become the 15th British artist to top both the album and single Billboard charts, as "One More Night" was leading the Billboard Hot 100 that same week. The same thing was happening in the UK, where Collins' duet with Philip Bailey, "Easy Lover", was the UK Singles Chart number one. No Jacket Required was number one on the US charts for seven weeks, and on the British chart for five.
"Sussudio" was the first track to be released as a single in the UK, and the second to be released in the US. In the UK the song reached number 12 on the UK charts. In the US, the song entered frequent rotation on MTV in May, and by 6 July, both the single and the album had reached number one on their respective US Billboard charts. "One More Night" was Collins' second US number-one single, following "Against All Odds", and was his fourth single to reach the top ten in the UK, peaking at number four on the singles chart. Its B-side in the UK was "I Like the Way", while the US version featured "The Man with the Horn".
Meanwhile, "Don't Lose My Number", a single that Collins only released in the US, peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 charts during late September 1985, and the B-side of the single was "We Said Hello Goodbye". Collins had difficulty conceptualising a plot for the corresponding music video. He decided to create a gag video based on this difficulty. In the video, he talks to clients and directors, all giving him crazy conceptual ideas. Collins parodies several other videos, including those by Michael Jackson, David Lee Roth, Elton John, The Cars, and The Police. The singer also filmed parodies of Mad Max, western films, and samurai movies.
"Take Me Home", the final single released from the album, is often considered to be one of Collins' most well known songs, and has been a part of all of his tours since The No Jacket Required World Tour. It reached number seven on the US Billboard charts, and number 19 on the UK charts. The song was not slated for a single release, but the label decided to do so after it became an airplay hit on several US radio stations who decided to play the track. "Take Me Home" also got a video where Collins sung in various locations around the world.
One song from the album would not reach chart success until it was released later. "Who Said I Would" was not released as a single from this album. However, a live version was released as a single from the Serious Hits... Live! album in the US, reaching number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. A music video of the original version was filmed, for the No Jacket Required home video. It featured Collins playing the song in a concert. Some of the songs that were not released as singles still charted on Billboard charts. "Inside Out" went to number nine on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. "The Man with the Horn", though not released as a single (nor was it included on the album), charted at number 38 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.
No Jacket Required remains Collins' highest selling album, having sold over 12 million copies as of 2001 in the US, where it was certified diamond status. Twenty years after its release, No Jacket Required remains among the 50 highest selling albums in the US. In the UK, the album was certified 6× platinum, selling over 1.8 million copies. It has also sold over 20 million copies worldwide. A video produced by Atlantic Video in 1986 was also released, and included the four original music videos of the four released singles, and a live performance of "Who Said I Would". Alternate versions of six songs from No Jacket Required were included on the remix album 12"ers, released in January 1988.
The album was re-released and remastered by Steve Hoffman for the Audio Fidelity label in 2011. It was reissued as a deluxe edition on CD, vinyl and digital on 15 April 2016, including a new second disc with bonus tracks.
The reception for the album was mostly positive. Geoff Orens of AllMusic, in a review written years after the album's release, said that while some of the songs are "dated", the album contains "standout tracks". He describes "Long Long Way to Go" as "one of Collins' most effective ballads", and "Take Me Home" as "pulsating". Orens went on to say "It's not a completely satisfying recording, but it is the best example of one of the most dominating and influential styles of the 1980s." Lori E. Pike of the Los Angeles Times gave the album a grade of an A-, saying that "Collins' recipe of tense vocals spiced with saucy horns and splashy electro-jitterbugging synthesisers often leaves little room for real feeling to squeeze through. When he slows down and lets his smoldering moodiness take over, the effect is magical."
Stephen Holden of The New York Times said that the album was "refreshing", and that Collins was "adept" at setting a suspenseful or menacing mood. Holden described "Only You Know and I Know" as an "angry love song" that had some sampling of "Motown" style music mixed in. "In 'One More Night', Mr. Collins's recent number-one hit, a ticking snare drum injects a whisper of lurking fear into a song that suggests a sweeter, tenderer reprise of 'Against All Odds' ", says Holden. Holden concluded by saying "On the surface, No Jacket Required, is an album bursting with soulful hooks and bright peppy tunes. But beneath its shiny exterior, Mr. Collins's drums and his voice carry on a disjunctive, enigmatic dialogue between heart and mind, obsession and repression."
Rolling Stone reviewer David Fricke said "Phil Collins' sudden transformation from the balding bantam drummer for a prosperous British art-rock group into a mainstream pop heartthrob might seem one of the Eighties' most improbable success stories. But judging from the sly craft and warm, low-key humour of his solo records and his successful productions for Philip Bailey and Frida, Collins' newfound fame was inevitable." Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times originally disliked the song "One More Night", but later praised the song, saying that "Collins' soulful but polite vocal style is also capable of capturing the pain of going through yet one more night without her." The Dallas Morning News writer Lennox Samuels said that "No Jacket Required (Atlantic) is what fans have come to expect from Phil Collins—lots of horns and syncopation, heavy rhythm."
Even those who were not normally fans of Collins' work liked the album. Michael R. Smith of The Daily Vault wrote "Anomaly or not, it is indeed the album that Phil deserves to be remembered for." Stephen Williams of Newsday said that the album was "loaded with musical hooks and textured arrangements... it also lacks the tense edge that was part of Collins' work with Genesis." Keegan Hamilton of the Riverfront Times said that the album was "The 80's Dance Pop Special: A smooth synthesiser groove, with an order of keyboards, drum machines, and horns on the side," adding that "Sussudio" was the best track on the album, saying that it's "catchy gibberish." Hamilton says that "One More Night" was the worst song on the album, saying that "The album's introspective slow jam wallows in self-pity."
On the negative side, Marty Racine of the Houston Chronicle said that "I Don't Wanna Know" and "Take Me Home" were the only songs to "rise above the crowd", and that Collins focused too much on his singing and less on his drumming, "which can be captivating". Racine also added that the album makes the listener feel a little "cold", but admired that the singer was "playing the game as well as anyone". Writing an article in defence of Collins in 2010, Gary Mills of The Quietus described the album as "determined dross" which Collins did not deserve to have his career judged by. In 2013, music critic Tom Service of The Guardian was similarly scathing, saying the album had not stood the test of time and was "unlistenable to today", singling out "Sussudio" for particular criticism, arguing: "the production, the drum machine, the inane sincerity of the lyrics; there's no colder or more superficial sound in popular music, precisely because it takes itself so seriously." He also compared it unfavourably with the enduring appeal of Collins's 1980s contemporaries such as the Human League and—in particular—the Pet Shop Boys, saying the latter were "geniuses by comparison".
At the 28th Annual Grammy Awards, Collins was nominated in five categories. The album won the award for Album of the Year, and Collins won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. Collins shared the Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) award with co-producer of the album, Hugh Padgham. In 1986 the album received two American Music Award nominations for Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. At the Brit Awards in 1986 the album received two awards for Best British Album and British Male Artist, while Producer Hugh Padgham was nominated for Best British Producer. At the Brit Awards in 2010, the album was one of ten nominees for Brits Album of 30 Years in a poll of BBC Radio 2 listeners; the winner was (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Collins's frequent critics Oasis.
Influence and legacy
"Sussudio" is one of Collins' most famous songs and is referenced in many different media, including books, stand-up comedy acts and television shows. He has said that this is the song people most often sing to him when they spot him on the street. In the book and film adaptation of American Psycho, the main character (Patrick Bateman) briefly discusses it, amongst other work by Collins. The synthesizer riff was heavily criticised for sounding too much like Prince's 1982 song "1999", a similarity that Collins does not deny, citing that he is a big fan of Prince's work.
Three songs recorded during the No Jacket Required sessions aired on episodes of the television show Miami Vice. "Take Me Home" appeared in "The Prodigal Son", the premiere of the second season. "Long Long Way to Go" was played in the closing scene of the Season 2 finale "Sons and Lovers", during the funeral for Ricardo Tubbs' girlfriend and son. "The Man with the Horn" was re-written for an episode of Vice in which Collins guest-starred as a con-artist who got in trouble with cocaine distributors. The re-written version was titled "Life Is a Rat Race".
"Take Me Home" was the closing theme song for the World Wrestling Federation's television show, Saturday Night's Main Event for several years in the late 1980s. In 2003, the hip-hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony based their song "Home" on this single. That version of the song featured the original song's chorus, and hit number 19 on the UK charts.
In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Phil Collins said No Jacket Required is among his least favourite albums.
The album was followed by a concert tour in 1985 named The No Jacket Required World Tour. For the tour, Collins retained his usual cast of musicians, including Chester Thompson, Leland Sklar and Daryl Stuermer. The band was nicknamed the "Hot Tub Club". A television special was recorded in Dallas and aired on HBO, titled "No Jacket Required... Sold Out". Another television special was recorded for Cinemax for a show titled "Album Flash", taped in London, England at the Royal Albert Hall.
Reception for the tour was positive as well. Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune said that "After hearing and observing Collins' eminently satisfying and frequently spectacular two-hour performance, one is left not with a series of niggling questions about his popularity but rather with renewed admiration for the forcefulness of well-crafted songs played in a straightforward manner."
In interviews during the tour, it was remarked by interviewers that the singer appeared similar to actors Bob Hoskins and Danny DeVito. Collins joked that all three of them could play the Three Bears from the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears. DeVito heard the idea, and contacted Collins and Hoskins about making a film. Collins researched bears, and a script was planned. Kim Basinger reportedly wished to play the role of "Goldilocks". However, problems arose (mostly involving the script), and all three actors abandoned the film.
While on the No Jacket Required tour, Collins recorded a song for the movie White Nights, titled "Separate Lives". The song, which was written by Collins' friend Stephen Bishop, was a duet that Collins performed with Marilyn Martin. In the US, the song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it reached number four on the UK charts.
The No Jacket Required World Tour ended with Collins performing at both the Wembley Stadium and JFK Stadium Live Aid concerts. Collins claims that it all happened by accident, and that both he and Power Station were going to attend both Live Aid shows as well, but "they all chickened out." "By default, I was the only one who did it," he later claimed. Bob Geldof, the organiser of Live Aid, originally asked Collins to be part of Geldof's first charity effort, Band Aid. Collins played the drums and performed backing vocals for Band Aid's UK number one hit in 1984, "Do They Know It's Christmas?".
Collins first performed with Sting at Wembley, and together they performed "In the Air Tonight", "Against All Odds", "Long Long Way to Go" and "Every Breath You Take", accompanied by saxophonist Branford Marsalis. After Collins finished performing, he flew on Concorde to the Live Aid show in Philadelphia. On the plane, he met Cher, and convinced her to be a part of the event. Once there he met Robert Plant, who had asked him if he would perform with him, Jimmy Page and Tony Thompson in a Led Zeppelin "reunion" of sorts. He first played drums on "Layla", "White Room" and "She's Waiting" for friend Eric Clapton. Then, Collins performed "Against All Odds" and "In the Air Tonight", and finished the night playing drums for Led Zeppelin's aforementioned act. The band has claimed that the performance was unspectacular, and critics place the blame on Collins. However, Collins says that "I would pledge to my dying day that it wasn't me," and that Thompson was racing through some of the performance. Collins later remarked, "... I remember in the middle of the thing, I actually thought, How do I get out of here?" Stephen Williams of Newsday commented that Collins' performance of "In the Air Tonight" in Philadelphia "was one of the more moving moments of the day". Live Aid raised $69 million in its effort. Collins later recalled the event as "extraordinary".
All tracks written by Phil Collins, except where noted.
Adapted from Phil Collins' official website.
2Only You Know and I Know4:21
3Long Long Way to Go4:23