Traci Baker is the driving force behind the campaign, #getphilvotedin, a multipronged effort to raise awareness, and encourage the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee to nominate Phil Collins (for his significant contribution to music as a solo artist) on their next ballot. She hopes the campaign will help influence members of the voting body, because getting nominated is just the first step, getting voted in is the goal. I asked Traci to share with us her motivation for this campaign.
The response most people give when hearing about the effort is, I can’t believe he’s not already in!? Well, he is, and he isn’t. Phil Collins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHOF) as a member of the band Genesis in 2010, but his significant contribution to music as a solo artist that began with his groundbreaking album, Face Value, has not yet been recognized —something many people find unbelievable.
Considering that Phil Collins was the top-selling male artist for much of the 1980s and is noted for being one of only three people who sold more than 100M records as both a solo artist and part of band (Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are the other two in this elite club), it’s hard to believe he wasn’t inducted years ago. So that, and a few personal reasons, are why I launched this effort last April.
After losing my 58-year-old husband to colon cancer last year, I turned to music, the therapy that has always been there for me. A lifelong concert fanatic, I ended up at 11 shows on The Last Domino? Tour in the UK and US, met many new friends, and even got to meet and visit with some members of Genesis, their band, and crew. Among the many new friends, I found some that will be lifelong, and found support and comfort in other fans who’d known what it was like to lose a spouse.
As the tour came to a close with the final three dates at London’s O2 Arena in March 2022, I planned to meet up with lots of those new friends from all around the world. The band’s most devoted fans were descending upon London from all over the world, as these were to be the last Genesis shows ever. With good luck, lots of tenacity and definitely some of my husband’s stardust, I managed to be front row center for most of the shows on the tour, so no doubt, I became a familiar face to the guys on stage.
Much to my delight, I managed to get the attention of Phil Collins a few times; so, when he finished singing the Genesis classic “I Know What I Like (In your Wardrobe)” that last night in London (March 26, 2022), I planned for, and hoped to catch his eye one last time. The song has been a staple in their live set for almost 50 years now, and features Phil‘s famous Tambourine Dance. Having attended so many shows on the tour, I knew this was the last time he would use the tambourine in the show. Using a sign featuring a photo I took at a previous show, with “Phil, May I have Your Tambourine?” in large bright yellow letters, luck (and stardust) was once again mine. Just a few seconds after holding up the sign, a smiling Phil reached for the red instrument he’d used that whole tour, and with a twinkle in his eye and the precision toss of a master, gifted me a piece of music history.
After learning the story of a long-time Phil fan, Kathy Steffen, who battled breast cancer and, facing her own mortality, donated her lifelong collection of Phil memorabilia to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I had to know more. We became close, dear friends. Her donation is part of the official archive, The Kathy Steffen Collection. So inspired by her donation, I vowed to leave my newly acquired piece of history to the Rock Hall in my will. For now, the Tambourine is carefully displayed and I anxiously check the mail, hoping to hear from Phil with a letter authenticating his gift that made me the happiest Genesis fan in the world. And not to worry, the instrument is fiercely guarded by Musical Brick’s 1982 Phil Mini-figurine; shirtless and tambourine-wielding, the 1982 Phil is on full-time protective duty, vowing to take no prisoners!
People closest to me have wondered how I would cope after the Genesis tour ended? Was all that travel and excitement my way of running away from the grief of losing my husband? Probably. But I think it’s all meant to be. The new friendships I made, the kinship of like-minded music-lovers and, truly, the joy of all the music has made a difference. With the concerts having ended, I have found that working on the #getphilvotedin campaign has given me something new to look forward to.
I was very moved by the groundswell of love and affection toward Phil from fans I met personally on both continents and around the world via Facebook fan sites during the Genesis tour. Having been beaten up by the media in the 90s, after his huge success in the 80s, having his personal life dissected and privacy invaded, at some point Phil Collins was tired of being Phil Collins. Having dropped out of the music world for some time, with ups and downs, his return in 2016 with his Memoir, Not Dead Yet, world tour of the same name, and the recent Genesis Tour, that feel-good energy was back. Even the media was being kind, something, Phil Collins couldn’t always count on the last twenty years. I think the fact that he’s been overlooked for inclusion in the Rock Hall may be a result of those down years. But his time is coming, and I believe it is now, it’s time to #getphilvotedin. He is certainly more than deserving.
With an active Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter feeds, a website, a podcast site, YouTube Channel and a petition site, the #getphilvotedin campaign is a big effort. The campaign is focused, and everything associated with it is done in a serious, professional way, so that if at any time a member of the RRHOF Nominating Committee or a member of Phil’s team reads anything, they will see this is not just a silly fan page. My “Did You Know” articles, that take an aspect of Phil’s career, and showcase it as one of many examples why he should be nominated and inducted as a solo artist, are among the things I am most proud of. The articles all take a journalistic, yet conversational approach to highlighting/sharing information readers may not have known before. I created a #getphilvotedin logo for the campaign, and I am gifting podcast guests with exclusive campaign-logoed hats—maybe one day one of those will be in the Hall of Fame, a rare Phil Collins collectible (wink)!
I have not approached Phil or his management about the campaign yet. I know that most people who know him would say it’s not something he would campaign for personally. I do know someone who had written Phil about the idea several years ago. His response? Ever the gracious, kind man, he said of course he would be honored if he was nominated and inducted.
I’m not sure if I was, or am, running from the grief. What I do know is that what I am doing is helping me conquer it. And somewhere in the back of my mind, and in the whole of my heart, I hope that maybe Phil is watching from the sidelines, and that this is giving him something to look forward to, too.
#getphilvotedin social media, podcast and petition:
Musical Brick Mini-figurine, 1982 Phil, shirtless and tambourine wielding, guards the Tambourine Phil Collins gifted me at the last Genesis show ever on March 26, 2022. In the background is a burgundy tie that Phil designed for the Gilda Foundation Charity effort. It is very rare. The pattern is Phil’s signature “doodle” face. A set list copy is below, with autographs from the band. Other items are guitar pics form various tours, 1990 vintage backstage passes, one signed, from Irvine Meadows in California and a signed Face Value LP cover.
Musical Brick Mini-figurine, 1975 Phil, drumsticks in hands, holds court over the incredible, single show-used drumstick from the 1978 Genesis tour, And Then There Were Three. Notice the signature tape and rubber banding on this piece of music history. Meanwhile, Musical Brick Mini-figurine, 1980 Phil is hanging with Roland the bisexual drum machine wondering what all the fuss is about…’who needs a drumstick!?’ says Roland. At the very bottom of this photo, you can see an original tie from the 1985 Phil Collins Hot Tub Club Tour. The tie is said to be from one of the band, and been worn on the tour. It’s definitely been heavily worn. Very cool piece!
Musical Brick Mini-figurine, 1976 Phil, tambourine in hand, is checking out this vintage Phil drumstick, while thinking about climbing into that Musical Brick Drums Flight Case. In the background is an autographed Phil-photo for a leukemia campaign he supported in the 90s. And a framed double heart featuring the lyrics to “Follow You, Follow Me,” a gift from a family member after my husband passed away last year. It was one of our songs.