Anthony Phillips

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Anthony Phillips
Anthony Phillips.jpg
Phillips in 2005
Background information
Also known as
  • Ant
  • The Vicar
  • Vic Stench
Born (1951-12-23) 23 December 1951 (age 69)
OriginChiswick, West London, England
Genres Progressive rock, folk rock, neo-classical, electronic
  • Guitar
  • vocals
  • Keyboards
Years active1967–present
Associated acts Genesis, Camel

Anthony Edwin Phillips (born 23 December 1951) is an English musician, songwriter, producer and singer who gained prominence as the original lead guitarist of the rock band Genesis, from 1967 to 1970. [1] After Phillips recorded From Genesis to Revelation and Trespass with the band, he left in July 1970 and learned to play more instruments, before he began a solo career.


Phillips released his first solo album, The Geese & the Ghost , in 1977. He continues to release solo material, including further solo albums, television and film music, collaborations with several artists, and compilation albums of his recordings.

Early life

Phillips was born on 23 December 1951 in Chiswick, West London. He attended a preparatory school, during which he formed a group and took part in a performance of "My Old Man's a Dustman" in the school hut as the singer, but forgot the words during it and was kicked out. This led to his decision to learn the guitar. [2] He learned enough and soon performed lead guitar to a rendition of "Foot Tapper" by The Shadows in the school lounge. [3] The Shadows were a major influence for Phillips in terms of acoustic guitar. [4] At thirteen Phillips acquired a Stratocaster and wrote the basis of his first song, "Patricia", named after the first girl he liked. Part of the song was recorded later by Genesis on "In Hiding". [4] He was not entirely a self-taught guitar player; he received some tuition in rudimentary chords from classical guitarist David Channon, who became a big source of inspiration for Phillips, and used sheet music to songs by The Beatles that his mother would send him. Phillips then picked up more chord knowledge, and learned to copy "reasonably well". [5] As a teenager, Phillips briefly lived in the United States. [6]

In April 1965, Phillips attended Charterhouse, an independent school in Godalming, Surrey. [7] In the following month, he formed a band with fellow pupils Rivers Jobe, Richard Macphail, Mike Rutherford, and Rob Tyrell, naming themselves Anon. They based their sets on songs by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and recorded one demo, Phillips's song "Pennsylvania Flickhouse". [7] The group disbanded in December 1966. [7]


1967–1974: Genesis and hiatus

In January 1967, after Anon had split up, Phillips and Rutherford became a songwriting unit and started recording several demos. They soon invited Charterhouse pupil Tony Banks, a member of Garden Wall, another disbanded school group, to play keyboards. Banks agreed, and suggested to involve his Garden Wall bandmates, singer Peter Gabriel and drummer Chris Stewart. [7] After the five made a demo tape, it was given to Jonathan King, who signed them to his publishing company and had them record some singles. He soon named the group Genesis, and suggested they record a studio album which became From Genesis to Revelation . Phillips was particularly angry when King added string arrangements to their songs without their knowledge.

In September 1969, the 17-year-old Phillips chose not to pursue a university degree and instead reunite with Gabriel, Banks and Rutherford after they had decided to become a full-time band. [7] [6] However, early in 1970 the constant touring had become wearing on Phillips partly due to the lack of scope for solos in the band's set and the shortage of time to develop new material. To further complicate matters he had developed stage fright which got progressively worse as time went on, and battled with it for three months thinking it was a passing phase. After falling ill with bronchial pneumonia, Phillips was advised by his doctor to quit the band. [8]

In June 1970, Phillips had recovered enough to reunite with his bandmates and record their second album, Trespass . Despite his various problems at the time Phillips enjoyed the recording sessions. After recording finished in July the band resumed touring, though early into the tour Phillips announced his decision to leave. His final gig took place at Haywards Heath on 18 July. [6] Banks and Rutherford later said that the group seriously considered disbanding altogether in the wake of Phillips's departure. Nursery Cryme , the next Genesis album, opens with "The Musical Box" which is based on a piece written by Phillips and Rutherford originally titled "F#" (pronounced "F Sharp").

After leaving Genesis, Phillips became "a bit of a lost soul" without a solid direction. He recalled listening to Jean Sibelius around the time of his departure and recognised his musical ability was "terribly limited", which encouraged him to become a more proficient musician. [9] In 1974, he became a qualified music teacher and gave lessons to students. [6] By 1977, he was playing classical guitar and piano, and studied orchestration. [9]

1974–present: Solo career

After leaving Genesis, Phillips studied classical music (especially classical guitar) and made recordings in collaboration with Harry Williamson, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins, among others. He played the keyboards on the demos for Peter Gabriel in 1976. His first solo album, The Geese & the Ghost , was issued in 1977.

He released his second album, Wise After the Event , in 1978. This was followed the next year by Sides . Both of these albums were produced by Rupert Hine and were intended to reach a mainstream audience, though neither album was successful in that regard.

In its initial release in the UK, Sides was accompanied by a more experimental album entitled Private Parts & Pieces ; in the US and Canada the two albums were issued separately. Private Parts & Pieces II: Back to the Pavilion followed the next year, and several further sequels were issued in the 1980s and 1990s. [10]

Phillips began writing material with Andrew Latimer of Camel in 1981, and was a featured performer on that band's album, The Single Factor (released in 1982). [11]

Phillips released a mainstream pop album entitled Invisible Men in 1983. He later claimed that this project went "horribly wrong" as a result of commercial pressures, and would subsequently eschew mainstream success in favour of more specialised material. He co-wrote "Tears on the Ballroom Floor" for I Hear Talk by Bucks Fizz. [12]

Since leaving Genesis, Phillips has remained continuously involved in a variety of musical projects, including extensive soundtrack work in England, often for the label Atmosphere, part of the Universal Music Group. In the mid-1990s, he released an album entitled The Living Room Concert, which featured solo acoustic versions of his earlier material. He also provided archival material for the first Genesis box set, Genesis Archive 1967–75 , released in 1998.

Several of his albums feature artwork by Peter Cross.

In 2008, the first Anthony Phillips biography, The Exile, by journalist Mario Giammetti, was published in Italy (Edizioni Segno). Harvest of the Heart, a 5-CD Box Set chronicling Phillips' solo career and collaborations, was released in 2014.


With Genesis

Solo albums


  • Harvest of the Heart (1985)
  • Anthology (1995)
  • Legend (1997, released in Argentina only)
  • Archive Collection Volume I (1998)
  • Legend (1999, different release from above)
  • Soft Vivace (2002)
  • Soundscapes (2003)
  • Archive Collection Volume II (2004)
  • Harvest of the Heart: An Anthology (2014)
  • Private Parts & Pieces I – IV (2015)
  • Private Parts & Pieces V – VIII (2016)
  • Private Parts & Pieces IX – XI (2018)
  • Missing Links I – IV (2020)

Appears on

  • Intergalactic Touring Band Intergalactic Touring Band (1977)
  • Mike Rutherford Smallcreep's Day (1980)
  • Camel The Single Factor (1982)
  • Iva TwydellDuel (1982)
  • Asha (Denis Quinn) – Open Secret (1987)
  • Asha (Denis Quinn) – Mystic Heart (1989)
  • Asha (Denis Quinn) – Amadora (1991)
  • David Thomas & Ronnie Gunn – The Giants Dance (1996)
  • Various Artists – Sport + Leisure (1996)
  • Mother Gong – Battle of the Birds (2004)
  • ProgAID – All Around the World (2004)
  • Robert Foster – Guitar Sketches (2006)
  • Steve Hackett Out of the Tunnel's Mouth (2009)
  • Various Artists – Factual Underscores 2 (2012)
  • Various Artists – The Summer Soundtrack (2013)
  • Al Lethbridge – Inspiring Worlds (2014)
  • Various Artists – Children's Party Themes-Halloween (2014)
  • John HackettAnother Life (2015)
  • Various Artists – My Love Will Get You Home (2015)
  • Ellesmere – "Les Chateaux de la Loire" (2015)
  • The Gift – Why the Sea is Salt (2016)
  • Anna Madsen – Efflorescence (2016)
  • Various Artists – Science and Technology (2017)
  • Various Artists – Harmony For Elephants (2018)
  • Anon (band)Pennsylvania Flickhouse (2019)
  • Algebra – Deconstructing Classics (2019)

Related Research Articles

Genesis (band) English rock band

Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. The band's most commercially successful line-up consists of keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. The 1970s line-up featuring singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett was among the pioneers of progressive rock.

Tony Banks (musician) British musician and multi-instrumentalist

Anthony George Banks is an English musician, songwriter and film composer primarily known as the keyboardist and founding member of the rock band Genesis. Banks is also a prolific solo artist, releasing six solo albums that range through progressive rock, pop, and classical music.

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Stephen Richard Hackett is an English musician, songwriter, singer, and producer who gained prominence as the lead guitarist of the progressive rock band Genesis from 1971 to 1977. Hackett contributed to six Genesis studio albums, three live albums, seven singles and one EP before he left to pursue a solo career. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

Mike Rutherford English guitarist, bassist, songwriter, and singer

Michael John Cloete Crawford Rutherford is an English guitarist, bassist, songwriter, and singer who co-founded the rock band Genesis in 1967. Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks are the group's two continuous members.

<i>Trespass</i> (album) 1970 studio album by Genesis

Trespass is the second studio album by the English rock band Genesis. It was released in October 1970 on Charisma Records, and is their last album with guitarist Anthony Phillips and their only one with drummer John Mayhew.

<i>Nursery Cryme</i> 1971 studio album by Genesis

Nursery Cryme is the third studio album by the English rock band Genesis, released in November 1971 on Charisma Records. It was their first to feature drummer/vocalist Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett. The album received a mixed response from critics and was not initially a commercial success; it did not enter the UK chart until 1974, when it reached its peak at No. 39. However, the album was successful in Continental Europe, particularly Italy. At approximately 39 minutes long, it is the shortest studio album by the band to date.

<i>...And Then There Were Three...</i> 1978 studio album by Genesis

...And Then There Were Three... is the ninth studio album by the English rock band Genesis. It was released in March 1978 by Charisma Records and is their first recorded as a trio of singer/drummer Phil Collins, keyboardist Tony Banks, and bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford following the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett. The album marked a change in the band's sound, mixing elements of their progressive rock roots with shorter material, and Collins contributing to more of the group's songwriting.

Daryl Stuermer

Daryl Mark Stuermer is an American musician, songwriter, and producer best known for playing the guitar and bass for Genesis during live shows, and lead guitar for Phil Collins during most solo tours and albums. He has also released nine solo albums, and tours with his Daryl Stuermer Band.

<i>From Genesis to Revelation</i> 1969 studio album by Genesis

From Genesis to Revelation is the debut studio album by English rock band Genesis, released on 7 March 1969 on Decca Records. The album originated from a collection of demos recorded in 1967 while the members of Genesis were pupils of Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey. It caught the attention of Jonathan King who named the group, organised deals with his publishing company and Decca, and studio time at Regent Sound Studios to record a series of singles and a full album. A string section arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade was added later on some songs. By the time Genesis had finished recording, John Silver had replaced original drummer Chris Stewart.

<i>Genesis Archive 1967–75</i> 1998 box set by Genesis

Genesis Archive 1967–75 is a box set by the English progressive rock band Genesis, released in June 1998 on Virgin Records in the United Kingdom and by Atlantic Records in the United States. After the release of their studio album Calling All Stations in 1997, the band assembled recordings from their history for release which involved the participation of former members Peter Gabriel, Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett, and Phil Collins. The set includes previously unreleased studio, live, and demo tracks, some of which include re-recorded vocal and guitar parts from Gabriel and Hackett, respectively.

<i>1984</i> (Anthony Phillips album) 1981 studio album by Anthony Phillips

1984 is the sixth studio album by English musician and composer Anthony Phillips, released in June 1981 on RCA Records. The album marks a change in musical style for Phillips as it is synthesiser-oriented compared to most of his previous albums which focused on more folk and acoustic music. After the music had been recorded, Phillips named the album after George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

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<i>The Geese & the Ghost</i> 1977 studio album by Anthony Phillips

The Geese & the Ghost is the first studio album by English musician and songwriter Anthony Phillips, released in March 1977 on Hit & Run Music in the United Kingdom and Passport Records in the United States. It was originally intended to be an album by Phillips and his former Genesis bandmate Mike Rutherford, but Rutherford's difficulty in devoting time to the project ended the idea. The album reached number 191 on the Billboard 200.

<i>Wise After the Event</i> 1978 studio album by Anthony Phillips

Wise After the Event is the second studio album by English musician and composer Anthony Phillips, released in May 1978 on Arista Records in the United Kingdom and in June 1978 on Passport Records in the United States. After promoting his previous album The Geese & the Ghost (1977), Phillips began to prepare material for a new album. It remains his only album that features himself on lead vocals on each track.

<i>Smallcreeps Day</i> (album) 1980 studio album by Mike Rutherford

Smallcreep's Day is the first studio album by English guitarist and songwriter Mike Rutherford, released in February 1980 on Charisma Records. It was recorded in 1979 during a period of inactivity from his rock band Genesis, during which Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks recorded their first solo albums. The 24-minute title track is based on the 1965 novel Smallcreep's Day by Peter Currell Brown which tells the story of Mr. Smallcreep and the journey of self-discovery he takes through the assembly line of the factory he has worked in for forty years.

<i>Private Parts & Pieces</i> 1978 studio album by Anthony Phillips

Private Parts & Pieces is the third studio album by English musician and composer Anthony Phillips. It was released in November 1978 by Passport Records in the United States, and in April 1979 by Arista Records in the United Kingdom. Unlike his previous two releases, the album is a collection of demos, out-takes, and previously unreleased material rather than an explicit attempt at a commercial album.

<i>Private Parts & Pieces II: Back to the Pavilion</i> 1980 studio album by Anthony Phillips

Private Parts & Pieces II: Back to the Pavilion is the fifth studio album by English musician and composer Anthony Phillips, released in April 1980 on Passport Records in the United States and Canada. It is the second instalment in his Private Parts & Pieces album series of previously recorded pieces that had been parts of or intended for other projects. Back to the Pavilion includes tracks recorded for Wise After the Event (1978), music during his time as a member of Genesis, and those commissioned as part of an aborted project to set Macbeth to music. It features musical contributions from Andy McCulloch and his former Genesis bandmate Mike Rutherford.

<i>Invisible Men</i> 1983 studio album by Anthony Phillips

Invisible Men is the eighth studio album by English multi-instrumentalist and composer Anthony Phillips. It was released in October 1983 by Passport Records in the United States and in April 1984 by Street Tunes in the United Kingdom. After he released his Private Parts & Pieces III: Antiques, the third instalment in his generic album series, Phillips started work on his next full studio album. Phillips was pressured by his US label Passport Records to deliver more radio friendly songs, and produced Invisible Men as a collaborative effort with musician and songwriter Richard Scott.

<i>Private Parts and Pieces III: Antiques</i> 1982 studio album by Anthony Phillips

Private Parts & Pieces III: Antiques is the seventh studio album by English multi-instrumentalist and composer Anthony Phillips. It was released in March 1982 by Passport Records in the United States and in October 1982 by RCA International in the United Kingdom as the third instalment to his Private Parts & Pieces album series. After releasing his full studio album 1984 (1981), Phillips entered a collaboration with Argentine musician Enrique Berro Garcia who he first met in 1978.

"The Musical Box" is a song by English progressive rock band Genesis, which was originally released on their third studio album Nursery Cryme in 1971. The song is written in the key of F# major. This song is the longest song on the album at 10 minutes long.


  1. Eder, Bruce. "Biography: Anthony Phillips". Allmusic . Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  2. Cherry Red Interview 2014, 03:36–04:16.
  3. Cherry Red Interview 2014, 04:23–04:50.
  4. 1 2 Negrin, Dave (22 May 2008). "Taking tn the Wildlife: An Interview with Anthony Phillips". World of Genesis. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  5. Cherry Red Interview 2014, 05:22–06:54.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "The Geese and The Ghost Press Kit". Passport Records. 1977. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Frame 1983, p. 23.
  8. Cherry Red Interview 2014, 34:06–37:37.
  9. 1 2 Hedges, Dan (26 March 1977). "It's that candour moment..." Sounds. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  10. "ANTHONY PHILLIPS discography and reviews". Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  11. "Interview: Anthony Phillips (solo, Genesis)". Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  12. Parkyn, Geoff (Winter 1984–1985). "News contd. Page I". Genesis Information. No. 34. pp. 14, 15. Retrieved 13 October 2018.