Performer: Phil Collins
Songwriter: Phil Collins
Original Release: No Jacket Required
Definitive Version: None
It’s well-known that little brothers and sisters can be pains in the butt, but what’s lesser known is that big brothers can be, too. I posit that theory based on the fact that my sister came thisclose to strangling me over this song.
In July 1985, Jin, Scott and I went down to Houston to visit my uncle Jack and his family. As an (unfortunate) rule, we almost never spent time with my mom’s side of the family. Part of that had to do with locale—they always lived far away—and part of that had to do with convenience. Dad’s side of the family had a summer compound in Michigan (much more on that later), so time together was automatically built in to the equation.
Not so much on my mom’s side of the family. Some of that had to do with the fact that mom didn’t have any money to fly us anywhere and never went anywhere herself. So, any vacation opportunities with mom’s side were few and very far between—and coveted.
In 1985, we visited for a week, and a few adventures were had (foreshadowing). Jack’s oldest daughter, Jenny, now was old enough to drive, so she was chauffeur. No Jacket Required had just hit the streets, and I had latched onto this song. And I latched onto the rewind and replay button on Jenny’s car cassette player. I don’t specifically recall this happening, but my sister insists to this day that I must have rewound and played this song like 12 times in a row. “I wanted to hear the whole album,” she recounted years later, “but all we heard was Billy” (meaning this song).
I’m certain that that was an exaggeration—you know how little sisters can be—but in the unlikely event that it did actually happen there’s only one thing to say now, with the perspective that only many years of acquired wisdom can provide:
Neener, neener, neener.