Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  1810
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  67
Peak:  1 (3 weeks)
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  While Genesis was doing well with their 1983 self-titled album, lead singer Phil Colllins wrote and performed this title song to the upcoming 1984 Taylor Hackford film Against All Odds, starring Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward. The song was initially titled "How Can You Just Sit There?" and was intended as a possible track on Collins' 1981 debut album Face Value. With Arif Mardin producing, Collins adjusted the song and its lyrics to fit the film in and it ended up being played over the closing credits. The power ballad was released as a single and it shot up to #1, becoming Collins' first Pop chart topper. It also got to #1 at Rock and #2 at AC. When awards season came up, this song got several nods. It was nominated for Best Original Song at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes, plus Grammy nods for Song of the Year and Pop Male Vocal. Collins won the latter category. The song was so popular that it is even attributed to boosting the box office receipts of the film, which was not very well reviewed.

ReduxReview:  Here's the one that put Collins over the top as a pop solo artist. He'd already gone Top 10 with a remake ("You Can't Hurry Love") and one with Genesis ("That's All"), but this mega-ballad connected with a far bigger audience. It was just the right song at the right time. It helps that the production and arrangement were top-notch and that Collins sang the hell out of it. I certainly fell for it along with everyone else and I still think it's one of the top power ballads of the decade.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song caused one of the weirdest moments in Oscar history. All the tunes nominated in '84 for Best Original Song were big #1 hits, including this one by Collins. Typically, the original artists are asked to perform their song at the ceremony, but for some inexplicable reason, the producers of the show didn't think Collins was a big enough music star to perform on the show, even though he cleared his schedule to attend the event. Instead, they got someone else to do a performance. Broadway star Ann Reinking was tapped to sing (well, mime) and dance to the song. Collins was forced to sit in the audience and watch. It was bizarre to say the least. The snub and performance certainly didn't go unnoticed by critics pretty much shamed the producers and nixed Reinking's strange interpretation.


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