“Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins

What is the meaning of the song Don’t Lose My Number by Phil Collins?

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Phil Collins's Don't Lose My Number at Lyrics.org.
Don't Lose My Number by Phil Collins.

Meaning of “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins.

 Don’t Lose My Number is a song written by English singer and songwriter Phil Collins. The song appeared as a single on Collins’ 1985 multimillion selling third studio album No Jacket Required. The song, which according to Collins was purely based around improvisation, is about a man who goes by the name Billy, whom the singer (in this case Collins) has lost touch with and is trying to find. The singer hopes that his friend Billy (Billie), who is apparently on the run from something, hasn’t lost his number since there is no way he can find him.

According to Collins, since the lyrics of Don’t Lose My Number were improvised, he still doesn’t really comprehend what they are trying to say or what they exactly mean.

Facts about the song “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins

  • The song was written by Phil Collins. According to Collins, he wrote the majority of the song while working on his debut solo album Face Value, which came out in 1981.
  • The song was officially released on May 30th, 1985 in a number of countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia. But strangely enough, it was never released in the United Kingdom.
  • Collins produced “Don’t Lose My Number” along with legendary music producer Hugh Padgham.
  • The song reached No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
  • Collins played several instruments on the song, including the drums and keyboards.
  • The song’s music video is known for parodying a number of famous music videos from artists such as Elton John, Michael Jackson, The Cars and The Police. In addition to parodying several music videos, the song also parodied a number of movies, most notably the 1981 hit post-apocalyptic action film Mad Max 2 starring Mel Gibson.
  • Longtime Phil Collins collaborators Daryl Stuermer and Leland Sklar played guitars and bass respectively on the song.
  • In Australia, the title under which the song was released was “Billie Don’t Lose My Number”.


23 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Always thought it was about acquiring a drug plug and when he cant find him it makes him fiend for drugs and go through withdrawal

  2. catscradle says:

    I always think of Billy Budd.

  3. will d says:

    I associated this that someone was always by my side, even though I now go by William, When I was a kid, Billy was my moniker. I always found a measure of affirmation from this song. Needless to say, seeing that Collins improvised and it means nothing leaves me dejected.

  4. Scott says:

    Given Phil’s obsession with Texas history and the old West, I always believed this to be a spoof on the gunslinger, “Billy The Kid,” who was always on the run.

  5. Jamsy Brakesogoski says:

    For years I thought this song was for the movie The Legend of Billie Jean. It fits the movie well with a girl trying to not be found…meh.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is exactly what brought me here … As a kid, I always thought this song was “supposed” to be the theme song for “The Legend of Billie Jean” but for some reason wasn’t and used “Invincible” instead … Although both songs have a similar vibe, I actually think the lyrics of “Billy” fit the movie even better …

    • CodenameGarcia says:

      Me three.

  6. Rob says:

    A pure work of art I have always defined as something the viewer/listener means to herself. Artists who are aloof about song meanings I think do know but being artists they won’t tell you.

  7. Silerstar says:

    Could have been about teenager running away from home.

  8. Anonymous says:

    or maybe Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t Lose That Number. Geez, pretty transparent

  9. Anonymous says:

    Its so unfair but beautiful. That is just extra-talented imagination oozing out of his pores.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Phil seems to claim a lot of his songs are improvised and thus don’t mean anything. I think it’s his way of saying he doesn’t want to talk about his creative process

  11. Natalia Biancotti says:

    I, like a previous comment, thought it had to do with the legendary Billy the kid!

  12. Ally says:

    I thought it was to do with billy milligan. The guy with the multiple personalities on the run from police for crimes he didnt remember committing. Now I know lol.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i always thought this song was about a kid with psychic powers or some kind of other supernatural powers. thought he was on the run from the police/fbi.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was about Billy Ocean.

  15. Patrick Bateman says:

    Do you like Phil Collins? I’ve was a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn’t understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where, uh, Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent.

    In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, Collins performs better as a solo artist than within the confines of the group. His solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. His third studio album, No Jacket Required, hits a new peak of professionalism.

    Take the lyrics to Don’t Lose My Number. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of data storage well before the term entered the public lexicon. The song is extremely uplifting. The lyrics are as positive, affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock.

  16. Tx1111Anonymous says:

    geez I always thought the song was about a best friend in trouble…

  17. Rick Fletcher says:

    The song is about one of Phil’s underage girlfriends, Billie, running away to get an abortion.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thought he meant singer Billy Eilish.

  1. April 7, 2017

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