Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin – Separate Lives

First Hit #1: November 30, 1985

Continuing with the theme of 1985, that being romantic dissatisfaction, here’s the breakup duet Separate Lives. This has to be the most bitter big hit I’ve heard in a while, with the line “You have no right to ask me how I feel” providing the big centerpiece for the song. Phil Collins is one of those singers who can really capture barely contained rage, and he’s putting that ability on display front and center in this. Marilyn Martin is there more for texture than anything, but she does play off of Collins quite well, and between the two they have made a song that kind of captures the feel of a bad breakup, a mix of emotions – most of them negative.

That said, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t go as minimal as the introduction, but I guess when you’re working for a soundtrack (White Nights, specifically) in 1985 that’s simply not done.

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One Response to Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin – Separate Lives

  1. RBerman says:

    More of Phil Collins Ascendant, with Marilyn Martin exemplifying all the competent vocalists that surface briefly and then disappear. She sounds like country singer Crystal Gayle, and I’d be interested to hear the tale of how Martin got this gig. Stephen Bishop, author of this song, also wrote the lovely “It Might Be You” for the soundtrack of the Dustin Hoffman comedy “Tootsie.” Lionel Richie’s “Say You Say Me” also was a hit from “White Nights,” but “Separate Lives” has a more coherent lyric and a more interesting, if bombastic, arrangement.

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