Take A Look At Phil Collins Now

'80s megastar faces the odds in this week's GRAMMY winners edition of Forgotten Videos
  • Phil Collins in "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)"
January 27, 2012 -- 1:26 pm PST
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos, GRAMMY winners edition. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Our aim is to take you on a little trip down memory lane or help you discover new music, GRAMMY-style.

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

Today, Phil Collins is a retired (or not, more on that later …) father living a quiet life in Switzerland. But back in the day (pretty much the entire decade of the '80s), he was an inescapable presence on radio and MTV (and to some extent at the GRAMMY Awards, given his 27 nominations and eight wins).

How did it all happen? Even Collins can't really explain it. "Nobody was more amazed by my solo success than I was," he told the Daily Mail in 2010. "It took me completely by surprise. Everything I touched turned to gold at that time."

Among Mr. Midas' successes was "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)," a song that was borne out of the sessions for his solo debut, 1981's Face Value, but that he turned into this No. 1 theme for Taylor Hackford's Against All Odds, a love/hate story starring Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges (pre-the Dude and Bad Blake).

In fact, "Against All Odds" — which won the Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male GRAMMY and was also nominated for Song Of The Year — really set the stage for a number of Collins ballads that would follow, including "One More Night" and "Separate Lives (Love Theme From White Nights)," that, along with his deitylike omnipresence, would ultimately lead to critical blowback.

But back to the '80s, a period of nonstop hits for Collins, including "Against All Odds" and its accompanying video, which, like many movie-theme clips of the time, essentially acted as a trailer for the film. In it, a passionate Collins sings intercut with scenes from the movie (a little lovemaking here, some fighting there, a high-speed car chase …).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the video was directed by Hackford (who was paid a cool $20,000 to basically promote his own movie, according to Wikipedia).

Collins' bio is familiar to most. He was a child actor who had a bit role in the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, but gained musical fame after he was selected as the replacement drummer for Genesis. After group leader Peter Gabriel departed in 1974, Genesis turned to Collins as lead vocalist. His first solo album appeared in 1981 and was a bigger success than any previous Genesis record. By the end of the '80s, Collins' outsized level of success had arguably created his downfall, the result of being everywhere all the time and on constant radio rotation.

"In the '80s there was an awful lot of vitriol coming my way," he told the Daily Mail. "Some of the criticism hurt and I would respond by writing letters and telephoning journalists to have it out with them. [In] hindsight I can see that I was oversensitive. But I felt I was being disliked for the wrong reasons, reasons that often had nothing to do with the music. There are still people who hate me for reasons that have nothing to do with the truth."

So that's when Collins decided to retire .… Well, not exactly. In 2011 it was reported Collins' was quitting music due to hearing loss, a dislocated vertebra and nerve damage in his hands, but his rep quickly told People magazine, "He is not, [and] has no intention of, retiring."

Still, his most recent album, 2010's Going Back, a Motown and classic soul covers record, feels a bit like a career coda. Then again, artists such as Michael McDonald and Rod Stewart have stretched such career codas into new careers. Meanwhile, there seems to be a re-evaluation of Collins afoot.

"Recently, I was out with Genesis in New York where we were being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Collins said. "Iggy Pop came over to me to pay his respects and I'm thinking, 'Iggy Pop!? The godfather of punk! This wouldn't have happened 10 years ago.'"

Do you think a Phil Collins comeback is against all odds? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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