Born 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica, Collins began his career as a drummer, moving to keyboards in the mid-1960s. In the late 1960s, he performed with the Invincibles band (whose members also included Lloyd Parks, Sly Dunbar and Ranchie McLean. He played on The Maytals' "Pressure Drop" and "Sweet and Dandy".  After working with Lee "Scratch" Perry, Collins was part of the duo Dave and Ansel Collins along with Dave Barker, with whom he had a number one hit in the United Kingdom in 1971 with "Double Barrel". His keyboard playing exemplified the Skinhead reggae style. Collins is also a producer and has released solo records, including single sides "Cock Robin", "Atlantic One", "Stalag" and "Nuclear Weapon" between 1969 and 1971, as well as a handful of later albums. He was a member of 1970s Channel One studio band The Revolutionaries, as well as the Impact All Stars and Sugar Minott's Black Roots Players, performing on many of the classic songs of the roots reggae era (album 1979 Black Roots). He was also part of Jimmy Cliff's backing band, Oneness, in the 1970s. He continued to record during the 1980s, mainly as a session musician, and released a solo album in 1986.
He also worked with backing bands such as Lynn Taitt and the Jets (including the reggae producer Joe Gibbs). In the 1970s, he was the regular member of the backing band The Aggrovators and the band Soul Syndicate. In 1978 he was the member of the band The Gladiators (1978 album Proverbial Reggae). He played keyboards on the several albums of the various musicians: albums of the dub musician Scientist Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires and Scientist in the Kingdom of Dub (1981), album of Rico Rodriguez Man from Wareika (1977), album of Lincoln Thompson Natural Wild (1980), album of Augustus Pablo This Is Augustus Pablo (1974), albums of Black Uhuru Sinsemilla (1980) and Chill Out (1982), albums of Jimmy Cliff Give Thanx (1978), album of King Tubby and Prince Jammy His Majesty's Dub (1976), Cliff Hanger (1985) and Humanitarian (1999), album of The Royals Pick Up the Pieces (1977), album of Mighty Diamonds Right Time (1976), album of Gregory Isaacs Cool Ruler (1978), album of Prince Far I Health and Strength (1998), but also on the albums of the musicians like Serge Gainsbourg (Aux armes et ctera, 1979). Mid-1970s, reggae Culture began working with some of the premier musicians of the day including Ansel Collins, Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Cedric Brooks and the ever-present percussionist Sticky. Collins worked with the guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith and with the deejay Errol Scorcher on a series off recordings including "Mosquitoes", which was also a hit.