In a departure from the major badass attitude of Face Value and Hello, I Must Be Going, our dear Phil shifted gears and completely switched up his musical style for Against All Odds.
This piano driven ballad, which still featured Phil’s signature drum sound, was originally penned and recorded as part of his debut album Face Value. Not quite happy with this song he originally titled, How Can You Just Sit There, Phil decided to put it to rest for a while. Then, while on tour with Genesis in 1983, Phil was approached by Taylor Hackford to write & record a song for his upcoming film Against All Odds. After watching the finished film on video tape, Phil knew that How You Can Just Sit There would be a perfect fit for this film (with a few modifications of course). He went ahead and rewrote the lyrics specifically for the film, and renamed it Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now).
As the song steadily climbed up the Billboard music charts, it became a major selling point for the movie and received an Oscar nomination in 1984 for Best Music, Original Song. Despite the Oscar nod in the form of this nomination, Phil was snubbed outright by the Academy. While all of the other artists were asked to perform their nominated songs at the awards show, sadly Phil was not (clearly the Academy has no taste!). After rearranging his Australian tour to be present at the ceremony, he had to endure what is reported as a “painfully awful” performance of his nominated song by Ann Reinking. Though videos or even clips of the performance have never been posted on youtube, I’ve heard that supposedly there were camera shots of him in the audience literally sinking in his seat, mortified and embarrassed by Ann’s performance of trying to act out the song’s lyrics rather than singing them. A talented dancer, choreographer and stage performer in her own right, this performance is rumored to have damaged her career as a Hollywood actress. Many of the articles I’ve read have indicated that the reason Phil was not invited to perform was because producers of the Academy Awards show were supposedly unaware of Phil’s rapidly rising success at that time. Even letters to Phil’s record label apologizing for the oversight refer to him as “Phil Cooper.” Excuse me but where did they come up with that?
Obviously disappointed and still maybe even just a tad pissed off afterwards, Phil never really let Ann live that performance down. Taking several potshots at her throughout the remainder of the No Jacket Required Tour, he introduced Against All Odds with humorous comments like, “Miss Ann Reinking can’t be here tonight, so it looks like I’ll have to perform my own song…”
Despite losing the Oscar to Stevie Wonder, Against All Odds did go on to become Phil’s first No. 1 song on The Billboard Hot 100 Charts and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards in 1984, as well as a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Original Song. WhooHoo! Nice come back!
And that, my dear Phil Fans, was only beginning…