Going Back (album)

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Going Back
Studio album by Phil Collins
Released 13 September 2010 (2010-09-13)
Recorded Summer, 2009–June 2010. Phil Collins's studio in Geneva
Label Atlantic
Producer Phil Collins
Phil Collins chronology
Tarzan (Broadway)
Going Back
The Singles
Singles from Going Back
  1. "(Love Is Like a) Heatwave"
    Released: 6 September 2010
  2. "Going Back"
    Released: 3 December 2010
2016 reissue cover
2016 reissue cover with updated photograph
The Essential Going Back cover photograph, as part of Collins' 2016 studio album reissues

Going Back is the eighth solo studio album by English singer-songwriter Phil Collins. It was released on 13 September 2010 in the United Kingdom[1] and 28 September 2010 in the United States,[2] and features covers of '60s Motown and Soul standards. It also was his first full solo release in eight years, Collins having primarily concentrated on soundtracks, compilations, and his extensive touring as a solo artist and with Genesis. It is also the second album to be solely produced by Collins.

Collins has previously recorded and performed covers of Motown songs in his career. Most famously, his cover of "You Can't Hurry Love" reached number one on the UK charts in 1983. In addition, the Motown-esque "Two Hearts", written in collaboration with Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier appeared on the original soundtrack album from Collins' 1988 film Buster, and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "Tears of a Clown" appeared as a B-side on the 2003 single "The Least You Can Do", and a live version of "My Girl" first appeared on the Japanese release Live from the Board in 1995 and later on the 2004 album Love Songs: A Compilation... Old and New. There are two editions of the album; one with 18 tracks and a limited Going Back Ultimate Edition 25-track CD/29-song DVD set.[3] Amazon.com also has an exclusive CD-R 25-track release. iTunes has an enhanced iTunes LP HD format release featuring 26 audio tracks, a music video and other enhanced content. The album was promoted with a series of live shows in the summer of 2010.

Collins indicated in interviews that Going Back would most likely be his final project, and that he was considering retirement from music permanently. This was confirmed in 2011,[4] but 4 years later, in October 2015, Collins announced that he had come out of retirement. A 2-disc reissue of the album entitled The Essential Going Back with an altered track list and live songs was released on 10 June 2016.[5][6]


Collins reported losing his hearing in his right ear in 2000, and in 2003 announced his last solo tour.[7] He called it the "First Final Farewell Tour", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the multiple farewell tours of other popular artists.

Since releasing his seventh solo album Testify in 2002, Collins wrote the music for Brother Bear and a Broadway production of Tarzan. He remarked in several interviews during this time that he was in semi-retirement and even retired from recording music at one stage.[8] Turn It On Again: The Tour with Genesis in 2007 included Collins on drums and vocals, but involved no new music or songwriting.

In September 2009, it was reported that Collins could no longer play drums, due to a recent operation to repair dislocated vertebrae in his neck.[9] However, a statement from Collins on the Genesis band website said, "There isn't any drama regarding my 'disability' and playing drums. Somehow, during the last Genesis tour, I dislocated some vertebrae in my upper neck and that affected my hands. After a successful operation on my neck, my hands still can't function normally. Maybe in a year or so it will change, but for now it is impossible for me to play drums or piano. I am not in any 'distressed' state, stuff happens in life."[10]

Despite these statements of retirement and the effects from his spinal operation, it was reported in October 2009 that Collins was to record a Motown covers album. He told a German newspaper, "I want the songs to sound exactly like the originals", and that the album would feature up to 30 songs.[11]


At the press release, Collins said the idea behind the album was "not to bring anything 'new' to these already great records, but to try to recreate the sounds and feelings that I had when I first heard them. My intention was to make an 'old' record, not a 'new' record".[12]

In the summer of 2009, Daryl Stuermer hinted Collins was in the studio working on an album. He was asked to send a transcript of a Temptations song for the album.

Bob Babbitt, Eddie Willis and Ray Monette were the musicians during recording. The three were a part of the famous The Funk Brothers, session musicians who played on several Motown recordings from 1959 until 1972. The album was recorded in Geneva, Switzerland, under the sound engineering of Yvan Bing.[13] Work began on overdubbing 25 songs for the album on 11 January and finished on 20 January.[14] Collins said of having the Funk Brothers available to play on the album, "To be able to have three of the surviving Funk Brothers play on all the tracks was unbelievable. There was one moment when they were tracking 'Heat Wave' that I experienced a wave of happiness and wonder that this was actually happening to me!".[12]

In January 2010, Chester Thompson said that the album had been completed and would be released some time soon. He also revealed that Collins managed to play the drums on the album despite the adverse effects of his recent spinal operation.[15] Collins confirmed he had to tape drumsticks to his hands to play. Bob Babbitt on his forum stated that the album would be released in September, and confirmed that a filmed showcase would take place in Europe and the US during the summer.[14]

Speaking at the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, where Genesis were inductees, Collins said of the album: "You know, I mean, I started it for fun, really, and just chose all the Motown songs, the darker songs that I liked, the lesser known ones. And I ended up with about 40 of them and finished, I’ve actually finished about 29 of them".[16]

Until early 2010, the album was going to be called 18 Good Reasons with the album cover stylised to recall the Motown era. But the chance discovery of a photograph of 13-year-old Collins playing drums in the Getty Images library caused a change in direction, resulting in the album being called Going Back.[17] In an interview on Today in September 2010, Collins noted he actually had to pay for use of the picture of himself as the cover image. However, the 2016 reissue of the album will use an entirely new cover photograph featuring present-day Collins instead of recreating or reusing the original cover.

Promotion and singles[edit]

On 10 April 2010 the Phil Collins website was back up and running in anticipation of the album.[18] The site was previously shut down in 2008. The first release of the recordings, "Too Many Fish in the Sea" was given free to new users who signed up to the relaunched website. The title track, "Going Back" started to receive airplay in May and was streamed online on Collins's website soon after.

Collins decided to perform a series of live shows in the summer to promote Going Back. "Up Close & Personal: Phil Collins Plays 60's Motown & Soul" was exclusively devoted to the music from the new album and were not part of an upcoming world tour. The first of these shows were announced on 14 April, to take place at New York's Roseland Ballroom for three nights from 23 to 25 June. Two nights in Philadelphia were then added to the list. On 29 April, it was confirmed that Collins was to be part of the opening night of 2010 Montreux Jazz Festival. Two days later, it was announced that Collins would perform a one-off show in London on 28 June 2010. This show was broadcast live on ITV1 18 September 2010.

Date Venue/Title City Country
20 June Electric Factory Philadelphia United States
21 June Electric Factory Philadelphia United States
23 June Roseland Ballroom New York United States
24 June Roseland Ballroom New York United States
25 June Roseland Ballroom New York United States
28 June Phil Collins...For One Night Only London England
1 July Montreux Jazz Festival Montreux Switzerland

Collins was supported by an 18-piece band for the brief six show tour. The band included Funk Brothers bassist Bob Babbitt, guitarists Eddie Willis & Ray Monette, Genesis touring musicians Daryl Stuermer on guitar and drummer Chester Thompson, a five-piece horn section, six back-up singers (Amy Keys, Lamont Van Hooke, Lynne Fiddmont-Linsey, Connie Jackson-Comegys, Terron Brooks and Bill Cantos), percussionist/vocalist Leslie Smith and keyboardist Brad Cole.

Andy Greene, of Rolling Stone, wrote of the final show in New York: "It's very hard not to come off like a glorified wedding band when you play a two-hour concert comprised entirely of Motown and soul covers, but last night in New York, Phil Collins pulled it off".[19]

Towards of the last show of the brief tour at Montreux, record producer Quincy Jones appeared on stage to praise Collins as sounding as if he was from the "south side of Chicago", while Montreux festival founder Claude Nobs said: "He was magnificent. There was a lot of emotion and sincerity. And it's only the beginning of the festival."[20] Collins admitted himself that performing these songs was terrifying; "Numbers like 'Dancing in the Street' are among the greatest singles ever made, but doing them live was terrifying."[21]

Both "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave" and the title track "Going Back" were confirmed as single releases from the album. On 31 July 2010, Atlantic Records unveiled the music video to support "(Love Is Like a) Heatwave".[22] On 24 August 2010, a music video for "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" was released on Phil Collins's official YouTube Channel, confirming it as the next single to be released from the album.[23]

On 2 May 2010 the Mail on Sunday gave away a promo CD 'A Little Bit of Something for the Weekend' featuring 12 previously released tracks, and advertising the forthcoming 'Going Back' release. [24]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 53/100[25]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[26]
BBC (favourable)[27]
Los Angeles Times (favourable)[28]
Mojo 3/5 stars[29]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[30]
Record Collector 1/5 stars[31]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[32]
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (favourable)[33]
Yahoo! Music 3/10 stars[34]

Initial reception to the album was mixed, as Metacritic gave it a score of 53 out of 100.[25] David Sheppard of BBC Music said "So faithfully have Collins and his confreres recreated the Sound of Young America – shimmering tambourines drowning out drums, bass compressed to a fat, distorted throb – that it's hard not to be swept along".[27] The album was also featured as BBC Radio 2's "Album of the Week" on 4 September 2010.[35]

Martin Townsend of the Daily Express stated "You have to take your hat off to Phil Collins. Expressing the refreshingly modest desire to make an “old-sounding” album of cover versions the 59-year-old singer zips through a selection of mostly-Motown classics like Jimmy Mack and Uptight with the verve energy and wit of a man reborn."[36]

Jack Foley of IndieLondon gave it 3 out of 5 stars, adding "The resulting album is as heartfelt and faithfully recreated as you might expect from an artist of Collins’ calibre …"[37] Donald Gibson of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said that "Going Back is an homage, plain and simple, with which Collins honors the songwriters, musicians, and vocalists who inspired him to pursue his own musical path as a young man."[33]

Graeme Thomson of Uncut was not so impressed, giving the album 2 stars out of 5 and stating "You can't fault the raw material, but Collins brings nothing new to these songs. If you have an overpowering desire to hear him gamely plough through renditions of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and "Uptight", step aboard. For anyone else, Going Back is a heartfelt but pointless exercise in ersatz soul."[38] Terry Staunton of Record Collector was even more negative, defining the album as a set "of 60s soul covers of baffling irrelevance" and wondering, "what possible use could anyone have for weedy-voiced faded Xeroxes of songs readily available in their wondrously uplifting original form?"[31]

Ross Bennett of Mojo gave the album 3 stars out of 5 and wrote: "all are faithful reproductions of the originals. The likes of "Uptight", "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" and "Jimmy Mack" capture the exuberance of those '60s sides, but the slower ballads – particularly "Blame It on the Sun" and a desperately cloying "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" – are plain dreary."[29]

Legendary Motown songwriter and producer Lamont Dozier hailed Going Back; "Recording an album of Motown covers can be tricky, but I have to say this album has exceeded my expectations. Phil Collins has truly given us the real thing vocally, instrumentally, and production-wise... It's spectacular, making it impossible to pick a favorite because they're all masterfully done."[39]

Going Back debuted at No. 1 in the Dutch Albums Chart for the week ending 18 September 2010.[40]

Going Back reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart for the week ending 23 September 2010.[41] It was his first UK No. 1 in 12 years (...Hits) and his first UK No. 1 in 17 years (Both Sides) counting only albums with new material.

Original track listing[edit]

Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" Norman Whitfield, Edward Holland, Jr. 2:32
2. "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:53
3. "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy, Henry Cosby 3:03
4. "Some of Your Lovin'" Gerry Goffin, Carole King 3:19
5. "In My Lonely Room" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:25
6. "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me for a Little While)" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:59
7. "Blame It on the Sun" Wonder, Syreeta Wright 3:27
8. "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" Whitfield, Barrett Strong 6:44
9. "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" Wonder, Wright 2:59
10. "Standing in the Shadows of Love" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:42
11. "Do I Love You" Peter Anders, Phil Spector, Vincent Poncia Jr. 2:50
12. "Jimmy Mack" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:56
13. "Something About You" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:47
14. "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:40
15. "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" Ivy Jo Hunter, Wonder 2:48
16. "Going to a Go-Go" Warren Moore, William Robinson, Jr., Robert Rogers, Marvin Tarplin 2:49
17. "Talkin About My Baby" Curtis Mayfield 2:47
18. "Going Back" Goffin, King 4:36
Total length: 57:16

iTunes has a digital download deluxe version in the "iTunes LP" HD format which contains 26 (of the 29) audio songs plus the music video for "(Love Is Like a) Heatwave". The "iTunes LP" HD format contains complete song lyrics and a digital photo gallery.

Ultimate edition
DVD bonus tracks

In addition to the expanded 25-track CD, the DVD contains the complete Going Back session recordings – all 29 tracks which can be transferred to a PC as either WAV or mp3 (320kbit/s) files.

DVD bonus tracks

All 29 tracks can be played with a different replica 7" vinyl record sleeve presented for each track.

DVD video materials

  • Going Back ... The Home Movie – 87 minute documentary narrated by Phil Collins
  • A Conversation With Phil Collins – 22 minute documentary includes on-camera Phil Collins interview plus behind-the-scenes and additional interviews with other participants.
  • "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave" – music video
  • "Going Back" – music video

A retailer-exclusive version of Going Back was offered at Best Buy in the U.S. This included an additional DVD containing a 30-minute interview with Collins.[42] The DVD was packaged with the CD in a 2-disc jewel case, and was the only version of the album with a bonus disc being sold at U.S. retail stores.

Collins recorded two of the extra tracks found on the "Ultimate Edition" DVD. "Tears of a Clown" was recorded as a B-side in 2002. In addition, he recorded "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" as a duet with The Manhattan Transfer on their 1995 album Tonin'. Both tracks were newly recorded for Going Back.

2016 track listing[edit]

The album was reissued as The Essential Going Back on 10 June 2016 with fewer tracks than the original release and a bonus disc with live recordings.[43][44]

The Essential Going Back – disc 1
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Going Back" Goffin, King 4:36
2. "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" Whitfield, Holland Jr. 2:32
3. "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:53
4. "Some of Your Lovin'" Goffin, King 3:19
5. "Going to a Go-Go" Moore, Robinson Jr., Rogers, Tarplin 2:49
6. "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" Whitfield, Strong 6:44
7. "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" Hunter, Wonder 2:48
8. "Something About You" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:47
9. "Talkin About My Baby" Mayfield 2:47
10. "Do I Love You" Anders, Spector, Poncia Jr. 2:50
11. "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" Wonder, Wright 2:59
12. "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me for a Little While)" Holland-Dozier-Holland 2:59
13. "Too Many Fish in the Sea" Whitfield, Holland 2:31
14. "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" Wonder, Moy, Cosby 3:03
Total length: 45:37
The Essential Going Back – disc 2
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (live) Wonder, Lee Garrett, Wright, Lula Mae Hardaway 1:16
2. "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (live) Whitfield, Holland 2:40
3. "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" (live) Whitfield, Holland 2:41
4. "Dancing in the Street" (live) Hunter, Stevenson, Gaye 2:43
5. "(Love Is Like A) Heatwave" (live) Holland-Dozier-Holland 3:20
6. "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" (live) Whitfield, Strong 7:27
7. "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" (live) Wonder, Wright 2:57
8. "Talkin About My Baby" (live) Mayfield 3:11
9. "Do I Love You" (live) Anders, Spector, Poncia Jr. 3:12
10. "Ain't That Peculiar" (live) Robinson, Tarplin, White 3:30
11. "Too Many Fish in the Sea" (live) Whitfield, Holland 2:50
12. "You Really Got a Hold on Me" (live) Robinson 3:45
13. "Something About You" (live) Holland-Dozier-Holland 3:20
14. "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" (live) Wonder, Moy, Cosby 4:17
15. "My Girl" (live) Robinson, White 3:44
16. "Going Back" (live) Goffin, King 5:08


  • Phil Collins – vocals, backing vocals (1, 4, 7, 8, 10–13, 15–18), drums (1–8, 10–18), percussion (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10–18), keyboards (1, 2, 3, 11, 14, 17, 18), acoustic piano (4, 5), bass (4, 9, 11, 14), glockenspiel (5), electric piano (8), harp (8), handclaps (8), stomps (12), guitars (14), organ (16), fingersnaps (18)
  • Ray Monette – guitar (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17), wah-wah guitar on "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"
  • Eddie Willis – guitar (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15–18)
  • Bob Babbitt – bass (1, 2, 3, 5–8, 10, 12, 13, 15–18)
  • Ronnie Caryl – acoustic guitar on "Blame It on the Sun" & "Do I Love You"
  • Connie Jackson-Comegys – backing vocals (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14)
  • Lynne Fiddmont-Linsey – backing vocals (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14)
  • Jason Rebello – vibes (5, 13), acoustic piano (6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16), electric piano (7)
  • John Aram – trombone (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17), assisted handclaps (8), assisted fingersnaps (18), horn arrangements & transcriptions
  • Guy Barker – trumpet (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17), trumpet solo on "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"
  • Tom Rees-Roberts – trumpet (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17)
  • Phil Todd – baritone saxophone (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17), baritone sax solo (2, 5, 6), flute (9), piccolo (10)
  • Graeme Blevins – tenor saxophone (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17), tenor sax solo on "Something About You" & " Going to a Go-Go"
  • Celeste-Marie Roy – bassoon on "Standing in the Shadows of Love"
  • Steve Jones – assisted fingersnaps (18), assisted handclaps (8)
  • Nicholas & Matthew Collins – assisted handclaps (8), assisted fingersnaps (18), stomps (12), additional backing vocals on "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"
  • Scott Stroman – string arrangements & transcriptions, conductor
  • Menhuin Academy – strings


  • Produced by Phil Collins
  • Engineered by Yvan Bing
  • Assistant Engineers – Thoraya Binzagar and Thierry Chaunay
  • Mixed by Yvan Bing and Phil Collins
  • Mixed at Dinemec Studio
  • Mastered by Kevin Reeves at Universal Mastering Studios-East
  • Artwork – Mike Hosey

Charts and sales[edit]

Preceded by
Science & Faith by The Script
UK Albums Chart number-one album
26 September 2010
Succeeded by
Science & Faith by The Script



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  75. ^ "British album certifications – Phil Collins – Going Back". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Going Back in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search