Saturday, March 23, 1996

Celine Dion hit #1 with “Because You Loved Me”

First posted 2/12/2021.

Because You Loved Me

Celine Dion

Writer(s): Diane Warren (see lyrics here)

Released: February 20, 1996

First Charted: March 1, 1996

Peak: 16 US, 13 CB, 17 RR, 119 AC, 112 A40, 5 UK, 1 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.05 US, 0.6 UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.6 radio, 107.6 video, 154.7 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

During the ‘80s, Celine Dion had regional success with singles sung in French and released in her native Canada. She vaulted to international success in the ‘90s when she started releasing English-language albums. In 1994, she went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her cover of “The Power of Love,” a song first released by Jennifer Rush a decade earlier.

She reached the top again with “Because You Loved Me.” It served as the theme song for the Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer movie Up Close and Personal and as a single from her Falling into You album. In addition to topping the charts in the U.S., “Because” went to #1 in Canada and Australia and reached the top 10 in a number of other countries.

The Advocate called the song an “emotional roller coaster.” WK Stephen Holden of The New York Times referred to as 1996’s version of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” WK Billboard’s Larry Flick wrote that the song was “rife with grand romance, larger-than-life production, and a climax that is best described as the musical equivalent to 4th of July fireworks.” WK

Interestingly, though, when Diane Warren wrote the song, she wasn’t thinking of romance but of her late-father. As she said, “it was my way of thanking my dad, because he really believed in me, my talent.” BR1 Toni Braxton was considered for the song, but Celine Dion heard it and wanted to record it. She’d recorded songs by Warren before and her label was so enthused about this song that they reworked their marketing plans for her about-to-be-released album to make this the first single in North America. BR1

The song won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media and was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It also received nominations for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Celine Dion
  • DMDB page for parent album Falling into You
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Diane Warren
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. Page 844.
  • WK Wikipedia

Monday, March 18, 1996

The Prodigy “Firestarter” released


The Prodigy

Writer(s): Liam Howlett, Keith Flint, Kim Deal, Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, J.J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan, Paul Morley (see lyrics here)

Released: March 18, 1996

First Charted: March 30, 1996

Peak: 30 US, 24 MR, 13 UK, 3 CN, 22 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.85 UK, 1.35 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 141.0 video, 77.04 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Prodigy formed in 1990. Fronted by keyboardist and songwriter Liam Howlett, the group also included MC/singer Maxim and singer/dancer Keith Flint. They are considered – along with the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim – to be pioneers of the backbeat-influenced genre big beat. The group has gone on to sell over 20 million records worldwide – “a feat that remains unparalleled in dance music history.” XFM

“Firestarter” was the lead single from their third album The Fat of the Land. It became their first UK chart topper was also the group’s first song to feature Flint on vocals. Howlett wrote it as an instrumental originally and then Flint, just a dancer with the band at the time, said he’d like to add some vocals, reportedly saying, “If I’m ever going to do any lyrics, I’m going to do it on this tune.” SF It was their only top-40 hit in the United States. After Flint’s suicide in 2019, the song reached #13 on Billboard magazine’s dance/electronic digital songs sales chart in the U.S. The follow-up single, “Breathe,” was also a #1 hit in the UK.

Upon the single’s release, British magazine Music Week called the song a “powerful return for the kings of live techno.” WK RM magazine’s Brad Beatnik described it as “a typically searing chunk of heavy techno featuring some manie vocale and an awesome synth line.” WK Gerald Martinez referred to in New Sunday Times as “heavy metal meets techno-dance stylisations.” WK

Kim Deal received a songwriting credit because of “the looped wah-wah guitar” WK in “Firestarter” that was sampled from “S.O.S.,” a song of hers with the Breeders. Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, J.J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan, and Paul Morley also were credited because of the “hey hey hey” sample from their song “Close (To the Edit)” by Art of Noise. SF

The song generated controversy in the UK where it was accused by the national fire service of promoting arson, XFM although Flint told Melody Maker the “rave rock anthem has nothing to do with literally starting fires by about performing in front of 5,000 people and stirring them up into a frenzy.” SF Flint’s enancing look in the video was also criticized by tabloids as frightening young children. SF


Related Links:

First posted 10/26/2021.

Tuesday, March 12, 1996

Sting Mercury Falling released

Mercury Falling


Released: March 12, 1996

Peak: 5 US, 4 UK, 8 CN, 14 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.3 UK, 4.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The Hounds of Winter [5:27]
  2. I Hung My Head [4:40]
  3. Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot [6:41] (2/24/96, 86 US, 3 AA, 15 UK, 65 AU)
  4. I Was Brought to My Senses [5:48] (9/14/96, 31 UK)
  5. You Still Touch Me [3:46] (4/20/96, 60 US, 51 CN, 43 RR, 21 AC, 19 A40, 5 AA, 27 UK)
  6. I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying [3:56] (10/5/96, 94 US, 28 A40, 54 UK)
  7. All Four Seasons [4:28]
  8. La Belle Dame Sans Regrets (Sting, Dominic Miller) [5:17]
  9. Valparaiso [5:27]
  10. Lithium Sunset [2:38]

All songs written by Sting unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 48:08


3.505 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Mercury Falling is “one of Sting’s tighter records,” AMG traversing the ground “between the pop sensibilities of Ten Summoner’s Tales and the searching ambition of The Soul Cages.” AMG His jazz explorations in the ‘80s received criticisms of pretentiousness from some critics who thought he took himself too seriously. However, “Mercury Falling feels more serious than The Dream of the Blue Turtles, primarily because of its reserved, high-class production and execution. Building from surprisingly simple, memorable melodies, Sting creates multi-layered, vaguely soul-influenced arrangements that carry all of the hallmarks of someone who has studied music, not lived it.” AMG

“Sting remains an engaging melodicist, as well as a clever lyricist.” AMG This album showed how much the fan base had shifted, though. Songs like Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot and You Still Touch Me sound like sure-fire hits and probably would have been in Sting’s peak commercial years when he was landing top-10 hits with “If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free,” “Fortress Around Your Heart,” “We’ll Be Together,” and “All This Time” in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. However, neither song even comes close to the top 40. Instead, Sting was now attracting more adult audiences. Both songs reached the top 5 on the adult alternative chart.

Sting also found himself surprisingly embraced by the country community. In 1997, he dueted with Toby Keith on a cover of I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying which went all the way to #2 on the country charts. Johnny Cash covered I Hung My Head on his 2002 album American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around.

Neither felt like an oddity, but natural fits for a genre steeped in story songs that played on sentimentality, clever twists with words, and sad-sack guys derailed by life. In the former, In “I’m So Happy,” Sting laments about a divorced father struggling with the absence of his kids. “I Hung My Head” uses the title phrase in multiple perspectives throughout the song to describe the misfortunes of a kid who accidentally shoots and kills someone.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/26/2021.