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Phil Collins - Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) (1984)

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“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” (also titled “Against All Odds”) is a song by English ...

“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” (also titled “Against All Odds”) is a song by English drummer, singer and songwriter Phil Collins. It was recorded for the soundtrack to the 1984 film of the same name. It is a power ballad in which its protagonist implores an ex-lover to “take a look at me now”, knowing that reconciliation is “against all odds” while considering it worth trying. The single reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom behind Hello by Lionel Richie and The Reflex by Duran Duran, while it peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, the first of seven US No. 1’s for Collins in his solo career. “Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)” also topped the charts in Canada, Ireland, and Norway.

The song has been covered by several singers, some versions of which have been successful in both the US and UK markets. The song has twice reached No. 1 in the UK singles chart: the pairing of Mariah Carey and boyband Westlife, in September 2000, and then again by Steve Brookstein, the first winner of The X Factor, in January 2005.

Reception

“Against All Odds” won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1985, was nominated for Song of the Year and for an Academy Award as well as for a Golden Globe both in the Best Original Song categories. At the Academy Awards ceremony, Collins was not invited to sing his song on stage and instead sat in the audience as dancer Ann Reinking gave a mostly lip-synced vocal performance accompanied by a dance routine. Reinking’s performance was poorly received by critics from the Los Angeles Times and People, as well as by Collins himself in a Rolling Stone interview.

When another song Collins performed for a movie, “Separate Lives”, was being nominated for an Academy Award, in interviews about the original snub by the Academy for “Against All Odds”, Collins would jokingly say “the hell with him – I’m going up too”, referring to what he would do if the Stephen Bishop-written song were to win the award. Collins lost to the Stevie Wonder song “I Just Called to Say I Love You”.

Commercial performance

After its release, “Against All Odds” peaked at No. 2 as a single in 1984 and became Collins’ third top-ten single in the UK. In the U.S., it peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in the spring of 1984. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1984.

It is the first of six songs by Collins written specifically for a film soundtrack that would appear on the Hot 100.

Music video

The single’s music video was directed by Taylor Hackford, produced by Jeffrey Abelson through Parallax Productions and cinematographed by Daniel Pearl. Hackford was paid US$20,000 (out of a total budget of US$45,000) for a complete Collins clip. The music video was released in February 1984. A No. 1 MTV video for several weeks, MTV ranked it as No. 4 four in its 1984 year-end top 20 video countdown. Gary LeMel, music supervisor at Columbia, felt the music video on MTV increased Against All Odds’ box office takings by at least US$5 million.

The concept for the video was created by Keith Williams, a Welsh-born writer who had already worked with Abelson on the video for “Dancin’ With Myself” (Billy Idol), and who would go on to also create concepts for “Holding Out for a Hero” (Bonnie Tyler) and “Ghostbusters” (Ray Parker, Jr.) for the same producer as well as “Say You Say Me” (Lionel Richie) from White Nights, which Taylor Hackford also directed.

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