Why David Bowie Was Upset Phil Collins’ Fans Liked ‘Let’s Dance’
David Bowie’s songs took a turn for the mainstream with his album Let’s Dance. During an interview, the “Life on Mars?” singer said he regretted making music that appealed to Phil Collins‘ fans. Following his death, Collins revealed his thoughts about Bowie.
The way the world reacted to the albums ‘Let’s Dance,’ ‘Tonight,’ and ‘Never Let Me Down’
During the 1980s, Bowie released a trio of albums that were arguably poppier than his earlier material: Let’s Dance, Tonight, and Never Let Me Down. Let’s Dance was a significant success, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and staying on the chart for 69 weeks. Let’s Dance produced two singles that peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100: the title track and “China Girl.” None of Bowie’s other albums produced multiple top 10 singles in the United States.
Despite this, Tonight and Never Let Me Down were less successful. Tonight peaked at No. 11, while Never Let Me Down peaked at No. 34. Tonight produced one top 10 single (“Blue Jean”) while Never Let Me Down produced none.
What David Bowie thought of ‘Let’s Dance’ and Phil Collins
According to the book Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters with David Bowie, the “Space Oddity” singer didn’t like the aforementioned albums much. “I was something I never wanted to be,” Bowie admitted in a 1997 interview. “I was a well-accepted artist. I had started appealing to people who bought Phil Collins albums.”
Bowie offered qualified praise for Collins. “I like Phil Collins as a bloke, believe me, but he’s not on my turntable 24 hours a day,” Bowie revealed. “I suddenly didn’t know my audience and, worse, I didn’t care about them.”
During a 1996 interview, Bowie also brought up Collins. He said Let’s Dance appealed to Collins’ audience because Bowie wrote it to be popular. Bowie said he regretted writing songs that fans wanted to hear rather than writing songs that he wanted to hear. The singer said guitarist Reeves Gabrels convinced him to stop writing tunes for the masses.
What Phil Collins had to say about David Bowie following his death
Billboard reports Collins released a statement about Bowie following the singer’s death in 2016. “I find it sobering when people of your era start falling off,” Collins said. “I didn’t know he was battling cancer. I don’t think too many people did.”
Collins discussed Bowie’s reception. “Bowie was heralded,” he noted. “Everybody seemed to like David. He was always interesting. He was always doing something that was not inside the box, always reinventing himself. You never knew what to expect and that made him one of a kind … Surprising.”
Collins had some kind things to say about Bowie’s talent — even if Bowie wasn’t Collins’ biggest fan.