Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)

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"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
Phil Collins Against All Odds single cover.jpg
Single by Phil Collins
from the album Against All Odds: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side "The Search"
Released
  • February 1984 (US)
  • 26 March 1984 (UK) [1]
Recorded1983
Genre
Length3:23
Label Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Phil Collins
Producer(s) Arif Mardin
Phil Collins singles chronology
"Like China"
(1983)
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
(1984)
"Easy Lover"
(1984)
Audio sample
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"

"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," but worth the gamble. The single reached 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. [4] "Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)" also topped the charts in Canada, Ireland, and Norway, while peaking at No. 2 in the United Kingdom.

Contents

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, [5] and then again by Steve Brookstein, the first winner of The X Factor , in January 2005. [6]

Phil Collins version

Background, writing and recording

Collins was approached to write the title song to the film Against All Odds while it was still in its preliminary "rough cut form". [7] At the time the soundtrack was being completed, Collins was on tour with Genesis. Director Taylor Hackford flew into Chicago to see one of the band's concerts. Collins watched the movie on a videocassette recorder in his hotel room and agreed to appear on the soundtrack. [8]

Originally titled "How Can You Just Sit There?", the song's music was written by Collins during sessions for his debut solo album Face Value (1981), but it fell by the wayside as it was his least favourite of the several ballads he wrote at the time. [9] [10] Neither was it included on Hello, I Must Be Going! , as many newer songs were written for it. Eventually, Collins presented the demo to Taylor Hackford when approached to write a song for the Against All Odds movie, which he loved. Then Collins penned the lyrics, which were for the film. [10] Due to lack of time available (as he was on tour with Genesis), he had arranger Arif Mardin produce it, and they worked on it over two days. [10] The piano performance is by New York musician Rob Mounsey. Piano, keyboard bass and a string section arranged and conducted by Mardin were recorded at RCA Studios, New York, while Collins recorded vocals and drums in Los Angeles. [11]

On episode 339 of This American Life, "Break Up", Collins relays that the song was inspired and written shortly after the breakup between him and his first wife. In the interview he says that the divorce transformed him from being a musician into also being a lyricist.

The song was first included on a Collins album on the 1998 compilation Hits , and it also appeared on his compilation Love Songs: A Compilation... Old and New (2004). A live performance of the song also appears on the Serious Hits... Live! album. In 2015, Collins released the original demo recording from the Face Value sessions as part of his Take A Look At Me Now project.

Use and association with the film

"Against All Odds" was created explicitly for the movie, [11] although it was based on an earlier unreleased song Collins had written in 1981. Hackford, who previously used a song for the 1982 American drama film An Officer and a Gentleman , planned the same for the neo-noir 1984 film Against All Odds, [11] which is a remake of Out of the Past . When he signed with Atlantic Records, he was provided with a roster of artists, among whom Collins was chosen to render the film's theme song based on the quality of his voice. [11] Hackford said that it was a "textbook case of designing a song to reflect what the film is". [11] The song appears in the movie as background music during the closing credits. [12]

Writing for the soundtrack's review, Allmusic editor Heather Phares claimed that the film is best remembered for the inclusion of Collins' "classic theme song". [13] Phares added that the song "remains not only one of Collins' definitive singles, but one of the 1980s' best love songs". [13] Director Hackford also had the same view, stating that it "decidedly" helped the film: people identified the song with the film and came to watch it. [11] When the single reached the top five, it contributed to the increased box office sales of the movie. [11]

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 , [14] [15] as well as by Collins himself in a Rolling Stone interview. [16]

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. [17] Collins lost to the Stevie Wonder song "I Just Called to Say I Love You".

Rapper RZA named "Against All Odds" as his favourite power ballad in an article on such songs in Spin . [18]

The Guardian and American Songwriter both named "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" as Collins' second-best solo song behind "In the Air Tonight". [19] [20]

Commercial performance

"Against All Odds" became Collins' third top-ten single in the UK, peaking at #2 for three weeks in 1984. It was kept from the top spot by Lionel Richie's "Hello" for the first of these three weeks, and Duran Duran's "The Reflex" for the next two. It was ranked 14th in the year-end best-seller chart. In the U.S., it peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in the spring of 1984. [8] Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1984. [21]

Music video

The single's music video was directed by Taylor Hackford, produced by Jeffrey Abelson through Parallax Productions and cinematographed by Daniel Pearl. [22] Hackford was paid US$20,000 (out of a total budget of US$45,000) [23] for a complete Collins clip. The music video was released in February 1984. [11] A No. 1 MTV video for several weeks, MTV ranked it as No. 4 four in its 1984 year-end top 20 video countdown. [24] 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. [23]

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. [25]

Charts

Credits

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark) [56] Gold45,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Italy (FIMI) [57] Gold35,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United Kingdom (BPI) [58] Platinum600,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United States (RIAA) [59] Gold1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Mariah Carey version

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
Against All Odds Mariah Carey.png
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Rainbow
B-side "Crybaby"
Released29 May 2000
Recorded1999
Genre
Length3:25
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Phil Collins
Producer(s)
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Thank God I Found You"
(1999)
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
(2000)
"Crybaby" / "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)"
(2000)

American singer Mariah Carey co-produced her version of the song with James Harris III and Terry Lewis for her seventh studio album Rainbow (1999). It was released on 29 May 2000, as the third single from the album, by Columbia Records. [60] Carey co-produced the single edit of the song with Steve Mac.

Although the song was promoted as part of Rainbow in the United States, it was not released as a commercial or a radio single there. The song peaked at number two in Norway and Poland while reaching the top 20 in numerous European countries.

The music video for Carey's version of the song, directed by Paul Misbehoven, consists of a montage of clips of Carey singing the song from her various Rainbow World Tour stops to cullings from her Homecoming special.

Critical reception

Mariah Carey's cover of "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" received positive reviews. Danyel Smith of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Listeners with an eye on the tabloids could read her close, ringing interpretation of Phil Collins' 1984 hit, "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)," as a postmortem on her bittersweet affair with Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter and a poignant evocation of the couple's shared mixed-race heritage ("You're the only one who really knew me at all")." [61] L.A. Times' Elysa Gardner called this cover "surprisingly faithful, forthright" and "she resists her tendency to over-embellish notes and focuses on what really matters: the melody and lyrics." [62] MTV Asia editor Dara Cook wrote: "Mariah festoons herself in Phil Collins' 1980s melodic garb, appropriately pret a porter with overwrought emotion. She delicately ascends the sparely accompanied first verses—but alas, that damn drum roll soon sounds and the bouffant strings and vocal gymnastics ensue." [63] Rolling Stone's Arion Berger was not happy with the cover selection which he called a "drippy Eighties power-pop hit." [64]

Track listing

  1. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Main Mix)" – 9:09
  2. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Radio Edit)" – 3:37
  3. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Deep Dub)" – 8:12
  4. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Dub)" – 6:56
  1. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" - 3:25
  2. "Crybaby" – 5:19
  3. "Thank God I Found You (Stargate Radio Edit)" – 4:21
  4. "Can't Take That Away (Morales Club Mix Edit)" – 3:57
  1. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (with Westlife) - 3:21
  2. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Mariah Only) - 3:25
  3. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Radio Edit) – 3:37
  4. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Main Mix) – 9:09
  5. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Deep Dub) – 8:12
  6. "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" (Pound Boys Dub) – 6:56

Charts

Release history

Release dates and formats for "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
RegionDateFormat(s)Label(s)Ref.
Various29 May 2000 Columbia
9 October 2020 Legacy

Mariah Carey and Westlife version

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Bibliography

"Against All Odds"
Westlife carey.jpg
Single by Mariah Carey featuring Westlife
from the album Rainbow and Coast to Coast
Released15 September 2000 (2000-09-15)
RecordedDecember 1999–2000
Studio
  • Flyte Tyme (Edina)
  • Capri Digital (Capri)
  • Rokstone
  • Olympic (London)
  • Parc (Orlando)
Genre
Length3:25
Label
Songwriter(s) Phil Collins
Producer(s)
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Crybaby"
(2000)
"Against All Odds"
(2000)
"Loverboy"
(2001)