Saturday, February 28, 1998

Celine Dion hit #1 with “My Heart Will Go On”

First posted 1/7/2015; updated 4/7/2020.

My Heart Will Go On

Celine Dion

Writer(s): James Horner/ Will Jennings (see lyrics here)


Released: December 8, 1997


First Charted: December 12, 1997


Peak: 12 US, 19 RR, 110 AC, 3 A40, 12 UK, 16 CN, 14 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 0.6 US, 1.58 UK, 18.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 363.0 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

When Titanic was released in 1997, it was the most expensive film ever made. TB Such an oversized budget needed a larger-than-life voice to soundtrack it and Celine Dion was an obvious choice. True, detractors berated her over-the-top performance style and cheesy sentimentality as overwhelming her undeniably huge talent, but since that was often the same criticism of Titanic director James Cameron, hers was just the right voice to help sink one of the most hyped ships of all time.

In actuality, Cameron only wanted instrumental music in the film. BR1 As Walter Afanasieff, one of the song’s co-producers said, “Cameron didn’t want anything modern in his film…It was a period piece and he wanted to be true to the music of the time.” BR1 However, when James Horner composed “a melody to die for,” TB lyricist Will Jennings couldn’t resist.

The song had a simple structure, but a range which few pop singers could handle. LW Since Horner had a good relationship with Dion, LW he asked her to record it, even though she didn’t like it initially. BR1 The originally reluctant director was won over. Jennings says that when Horner played the demo over the movie’s finale, “Cameron had to leave the room to compose himself.” BR1

Understandably, the melodramatic song drew eyerolls from some accusing it of being “overwrought and overblown,” TB but the “money-shot line of ‘Near…far…whereeeeeeeever you are’…[made for] an operatic moment of almost Wagnerian pop.” TB Truth be told, after Leonardo DiCaprio slips from his lover Kate Winslet’s grasp and into his watery grave, most of the audience were scrounging for tissues when the song kicked in as the credits rolled.


Resources and Related Links:

  • Celine Dion’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. Page 864.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 179.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 284.

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