Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)

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"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
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)
31 March 1984[1] (UK)
Format 7" single
12" single
CD single
Digital download
Reel single
Recorded 1983
Genre Pop[2]
Length 3:23
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Phil Collins
Producer(s) Arif Mardin
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Phil Collins singles chronology
"Like China"
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
"Easy Lover"
Music sample
24 second sample of "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (also simply titled "Against All Odds") is a song by English drummer and singer-songwriter Phil Collins, 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, while it reached number two in the United Kingdom, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, the first for Collins.

The song has been covered by several singers, some versions of which have been successful in both the US and UK markets. One of the most notable versions was the pairing of Mariah Carey and boyband Westlife, whose single peaked at number one in the United Kingdom in September 2000.[3]

Phil Collins original version[edit]

Background and writing[edit]

Collins was approached to write the title song to the film Against All Odds while it was still in its "rough cut form".[4] At the time the soundtrack was being completed, Collins was on tour as the lead vocalist/drummer with British group Genesis. Director Taylor Hackford flew in to Chicago to catch 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.[5]

Originally titled "How Can You Just Sit There?", the song was initially from the sessions for Collins' debut solo album Face Value (1981), and it was one of about a dozen written for his first wife, who had left him.[6] Collins wrote the entire song, while arranger Arif Mardin produced it.[5] The strings and piano tracks were recorded in New York to accommodate the tour, while Collins did the vocals and drums in Los Angeles.[7]

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.

Use and association with the film[edit]

"Against All Odds" was created explicitly for the movie.[7] 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,[7] 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.[7] Hackford said that it was a "textbook case of designing a song to reflect what the film is".[7] The song appears in the movie as background music during the closing credits.[8]

Writing for the soundtrack's review, Allmusic editor Heather Phares claimed that the movie is best remembered for the inclusion of Collins' "classic theme song".[9] Phares added that the song "remains not only one of Collins' definitive singles, but one of the 1980s' best love songs".[9] 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.[7] When the single went top five, it contributed to the increased box office sales of the movie.[7]


"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. Collins was not invited to sing his song on stage, and sat in the audience as Ann Reinking performed it.

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

Commercial performance[edit]

After its release, "Against All Odds" peaked at number two as a single in 1984 and became Collins' third top-ten single in the United Kingdom. In the United States, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in the spring of 1984.[5] Billboard ranked it at the No. 5 song for 1984.[11]

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

Music video[edit]

The single's music video was directed by Taylor Hackford, produced by Jeffrey Abelson through Parallax Productions and cinematographed by Daniel Pearl.[12] Hackford was paid US$20,000 (out of a total budget of US$45,000)[13] for a complete Collins clip. The music video was released along with the single during the last week of February 1984.[7] A number one MTV video for several weeks, MTV ranked it as number four in its 1984 year-end top 20 video countdown.[14] 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.[13]

The music video is an early example of a highly conceptual approach to creating hybrid movie/music-videos that producer Abelson pioneered. Echoing the love triangle theme of the film, Collins is seen performing in front of a wall of rainwater that is alternately lit red, blue, and green—each colour representing one of the three main characters in the film. It is this colour schematic that is used as an organic segue to and from character-specific scenes in the movie. The final scene pulls back from Collins to reveal him standing in the middle of a water-filled triangle formed from neon tubes in the same three colours—completing the visual concept as the three main characters are superimposed around the neon triangle's three sides.

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.[citation needed]


Chart (1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 3
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[15] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[16] 4
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[17] 5
France (SNEP)[18] 20
Germany (Media Control Charts)[19] 9
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Italy (FIMI)[20] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[21] 10
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 3
Norway (VG-lista)[23] 1
Polish Singles Chart[24] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 3
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 4
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 3
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 1


Mariah Carey version[edit]

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Rainbow
Released 3 June 2000
Length 3:25
Label Columbia
Producer(s) Mariah Carey, James Harris III, Terry Lewis
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Crybaby"/"Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)"
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
Alternative cover
Mexican cover

American singer Mariah Carey co-produced her version of the song with James Harris III and Terry Lewis for her sixth studio album Rainbow. Carey co-produced the single edit of the song with Steve Mac.

Although the song was promoted as part of Carey's Rainbow in the United States, it was not released as a commercial or radio single there. It was initially released in some markets in early 2000. This was also the last single with her then label Columbia. The song reached top twenty in several countries. The highest peak of the song was number two in Norway.

The video for the Carey 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[edit]

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)."[27] 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."[28] 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."[29] Rolling Stone's Arion Berger was not happy with the cover selection which he called a "drippy Eighties power-pop hit."[30]

Track listings[edit]

European CD single
  1. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
  2. "Crybaby" (featuring Snoop Dogg)
European CD maxi-single
  1. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
  2. "Crybaby" (featuring Snoop Dogg)
  3. "Thank God I Found You" (Stargate Radio Edit featuring Joe & 98°)
  4. "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" (Morales Club Mix Edit)
Japanese CD single
  1. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (featuring Westlife)
  2. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (album version)
  3. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (Pound Boys Radio Edit)
  4. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (instrumental)


Chart (2000) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[31] 26
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[32] 15
Canada (RPM)[33] 22
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[34] 20
France (SNEP)[35] 18
Germany (Media Control Charts)[36] 29
Italy (FIMI)[37] 17
Norway (VG-lista)[38] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 20

Mariah Carey and Westlife version[edit]

"Against All Odds"
Single by Mariah Carey and Westlife
from the album Coast to Coast
Released 18 September 2000
Recorded Flyte Tyme Studios, Edina, MA & Capri Digital Studios, Capri, Italy & Rokstone Studios, London, England & Parc Studios, Orlando, FL & Olympic Studios, London, England July 1999—2000
Length 3:25
Label BMG, Columbia
Writer(s) Phil Collins
Producer(s) Mariah Carey, Steve Mac
Certification Silver (UK)
Westlife singles chronology
"Fool Again"
"Against All Odds"
"My Love"
Music sample
20 second sample of Mariah Carey and Westlife's "Against All Odds"

Carey released a second version featured the Irish group Westlife. The song was released as first single of the band's second album Coast to Coast. The song was released in September 2000, a few months after Carey's solo version. Carey did not re-record her vocals for the duet; however, the instrumental track was reproduced with a more organic sound complete with violins.

The single was more successful than the original in the UK and Ireland where it peaked at number one, giving Westlife their sixth consecutive number one.[40] It also gave Carey her second number 1 single in the UK. The song has sold 375,000 copies in the total in the UK.[41] The music video shows Carey and Westlife recording the song and exploring the island of Capri by boat. The UK version of the single includes a limited edition Enhanced CD with video, poster and Westlife-only version and CD with Westlife video interview and picture sleeves.[42]

Tours performed at[edit]

The Face To Face Tour (2006)

Track listing[edit]

  • United Kingdom
  1. "Against All Odds" - 3:21
  2. "Against All Odds" (Pound Boys Main Mix) – 9:09
  3. "Against All Odds" (Mariah Carey Solo Version) – 3:21
  4. "Westlife Interview" – 4:00
  1. "Against All Odds" – 3:21
  2. "Against All Odds" (Westlife Solo Version) – 3:21
  3. "Against All Odds" (Pound Boys Dub) – 6:48
  4. "Against All Odds" (Video) – 3:21
  1. "Against All Odds" – 3:21
  2. "Against All Odds" (Pound Boys Radio Edit) – 3:48
  • Japan
  1. "Against All Odds" – 3:21
  2. "Against All Odds" (Pound Boys Radio Edit) – 3:48
  3. "Against All Odds" (Mariah Carey Solo Version) – 3:39
  4. "Against All Odds" (Instrumental) – 3:21

Steve Brookstein version[edit]

"Against All Odds"
Single by Steve Brookstein
from the album Heart and Soul
Released 20 December 2004
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2004
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:12
Label Sony BMG
Steve Brookstein singles chronology
"Against All Odds"
"Fighting Butterflies"

English singer and The X Factor winner Steve Brookstein included "Against All Odds" on his debut studio album, Heart and Soul. It was released as his debut single on 20 December 2004 by Sony BMG. The single charted at number one in the United Kingdom and at number 11 in Ireland. It sold 127,701 copies in its first week in the UK, making it the lowest-selling X Factor winner's single to date.[53] It has sold less than half the copies of Leon Jackson and Little Mix, a third of Joe McElderry's, a quarter of Matt Cardle's, and a fifth of those of Shayne Ward, James Arthur, Leona Lewis, and Alexandra Burke. The next fewest sales from a Winner's song was Sam Bailey selling 149k, 26k more than Brookstein.


In 2004, Brookstein won the televised UK talent competition The X Factor, and recorded a cover of the Phil Collins 1984 hit "Against All Odds" as his debut single. It entered the UK Singles Chart at number two behind "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid 20, and then climbed to number one where it stayed for one week from 2 January 2005 to 8 January 2005 and was replaced by Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock." "Against All Odds" was later included on Brookstein's debut album Heart and Soul.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Against All Odds" – 3:17
  2. "Smile" (X Factor Performance) – 1:55
  3. "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (X Factor Performance) – 2:00


Chart (2004–05) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[54] 11
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[55] 1

Other covers[edit]

  • The Shadows did an instrumental of the song in 1986 on their album Moonlight Shadows.

Pop culture[edit]


The song also features heavily in the first act of the This American Life episode 'Break Up'. The segment featured an interview with Collins, as well as narration from a woman who listened to the song to get over a break-up and vowed to write her own break-up song.[64]

See also[edit]


Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Eler, Alicia (13 August 2013). "Artist uses Phil Collins, Skype to construct online personae". Salon. 
  3. ^ Stark, David (16 November 2002). "Collin's Writing Yields Hits For Many". Billboard: 38. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Morris, Chris (6 December 1986). "Early Music-Film Ties Best". Billboard. 
  5. ^ a b c Hogan, Ed. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Tobler, John. "The Progressive Reign of Genesis". Billboard Magazine. 7 March 1987.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Denisoff 1991, p. 406.
  8. ^ Denisoff 1991, p. 408.
  9. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Against All Odds [Original Soundtrack]". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Williams, Stephen (4 October 1985). "A Phil Collins Special And `Miami Vice' on Record". Newsday. 
  11. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1984
  12. ^ Daniel Pearl. "Resumé". Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Denisoff, R. Serge; Romanowski, William D. (1990). "Synergy in 1980s Film and Music: Formula for Success or Industry Mythology?". Film History 4 (3): 257–276, here p. 259. 
  14. ^ "Remember back when MTV used to be cool?". Platypus Comix. Archived from the original on 1 September 2006. Retrieved 18 August 2006. 
  15. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  16. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  18. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (in French). Les classement single.
  19. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Phill Collins > Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) –" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  20. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: C". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Phill Collins search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  22. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". VG-lista.
  24. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 
  25. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". Singles Top 60.
  26. ^ " – Phill Collins – Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  27. ^ "Rainbow Review | Music Reviews and News". 1999-11-12. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  28. ^ Gardner, Elysa (1999-10-31). "Record Rack - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  29. ^ "Mariah Carey - Rainbow | Reviews | CD | MTV Asia". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  30. ^ "Rainbow | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. 1999-11-25. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  31. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  32. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  33. ^ "Canadian Singles Chart". 3 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  34. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  35. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds" (in French). Les classement single.
  36. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Mariah Carey > Against All Odds (take A Look –" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  37. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds". Top Digital Download.
  38. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds". VG-lista.
  39. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Against All Odds". Swiss Singles Chart.
  40. ^ Bronson, Fred (18 November 2000). "Found The 'Love' Of A Westlife Time". Billboard: 124. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  41. ^ Mariah Carey official top 20 best-selling singles in the UK MTV. retrieved: 3 May 2010.
  42. ^ "Westlife Against All Odds UK DOUBLE CD SINGLE SET (166322)". 22 September 2000. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  43. ^ " – Mariah feat. Westlife – Against All Odds". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  44. ^ " – Mariah feat. Westlife – Against All Odds" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  45. ^ " – Mariah feat. Westlife – Against All Odds" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  46. ^ " – Mariah feat. Westlife – Against All Odds". Tracklisten.
  47. ^ Billboard - Google Books. 2000-10-21. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  48. ^ " – Mariah feat. Westlife – Against All Odds" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  49. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group. "Irish Singles Chart". Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  50. ^ "Japanese Singles Chart". Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  51. ^ " – Mariah feat. Westlife – Against All Odds". Singles Top 60.
  52. ^ "September 2000/ Archive Chart: 30 September 2000" UK Singles Chart.
  53. ^ Plunkett, John (19 December 2011). "X Factor: Little Mix have lowest-selling winner's single since 2004". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  54. ^ "Chart Track: Week 52, 2004". Irish Singles Chart.
  55. ^ "Steve Brookstein: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
  56. ^ Huhn, Mary; Shen, Maxine (19 September 2006). "They've Got It Covered". New York Post. Retrieved 27 November 2006. [dead link]
  57. ^ "A Passionate Life overview". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  58. ^ "The Movies". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  59. ^ "Stage and Screen". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  60. ^ "Seasons of Love". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  61. ^ "Glee Cast – MP3 downloads". Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  62. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 21, 2013). "Glee Recap: The Guilty Pleasure Principle". TVLine. PMC. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  63. ^ Collar, Matt. "Under the Influence - Straight No Chaser". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-11-02. 
  64. ^ "339: Break-Up". 24 August 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 


Preceded by
"Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Phil Collins version)
21 April 1984 – 11 May 1984 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Hello" by Lionel Richie
Preceded by
"Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" by Modjo
UK number-one single (Mariah Carey featuring Westlife version)
24 September 2000 – 8 October 2000
Succeeded by
"Black Coffee" by All Saints
Preceded by
"Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" by Modjo
Irish IRMA number-one single
25 September 2000 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Beautiful Day" by U2
Preceded by
The X Factor winner's single (Steve Brookstein version)
Succeeded by
"That's My Goal" by Shayne Ward
Preceded by
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid 20
UK number-one single (Steve Brookstein version)
2 January 2005
Succeeded by
"Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley