This was a #1 UK and US hit for Phil Collins in 1988. His version was used in the movie Buster
, where Collins plays the title role of Buster Edwards. Collins put together the soundtrack using various '60s songs, since that's when the movie was set (he enlisted Motown hitmaker Lamont Dozier to co-write "Two Hearts
," another US #1 hit used in the film). According to Toni Wine, "Separate Lives
" composer Stephen Bishop wanted to record a cover and brought a demo to his pal Collins, hoping he would produce it. Instead, Collins convinced Bishop to let him record it for the movie.
A child actor, Collins was wary about taking a movie role after becoming famous as a musician, and he made sure the song didn't appear until the end of the film so musical perceptions wouldn't taint his performance. The film was a box office flop, but Collins stood by it, saying it was an excellent film.