Friday, May 23, 1997

Two Versions of “How Do I Live” Hit Radio

How Do I Live

LeAnn Rimes

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

Released: May 23, 1997

First Charted: June 21, 1997

Peak: 2 US, 4 RR, 111 AC, 10 A40, 43 CW, 7 UK, 19 CN, 17 AU, 13 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.7 US, 0.83 UK, 4.53 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 58.14 video, 157.09 streaming

How Do I Live

Trisha Yearwood

Released: May 23, 1997

First Charted: June 7, 1997

Peak: 23 US, 2 CW, 66 UK, 28 CN, 3 AU, 28 DW (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, 0.14 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 58.14 video, 26.98 streaming

Awards (Rimes):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Diane Warren wrote “How Do I Live” for the film Con Air. She ran into LeAnn Rimes at a restaurant shortly after Rimes won the Grammy for Best New Artist. She told Rimes she wrote “How Do I Live” specifically with her in mind. Rimes recorded it the next day, but the movie company thought the song had too much of a pop sound and that Rimes, only 14 at the time, was too young for the song’s subject matter. They asked Trisha Yearwood to re-record the song. She did, saying she was unaware that Rimes had already recorded it.

Yearwood’s version had a “more throaty, country-western vibe” WK and was the one which appeared in the film, although neither appeared on the soundtrack. Rimes’ label was reluctant to release her version, but Warren personally called the label head and urged them to release it, a move which angered everyone involved until the song blew up. SF Billboard’s Larry Flick said Yearwood had “the depth and intensity to convey the love and longing in the lyric” WK while Rimes gave the song “a youthful exuberance and wide-eyed innocence that will melt even the coldest heart.” WK

The two versions were released to radio on the same day. Yearwood’s version did far better on the country charts (#2 compared to Rimes’ #43 peak), but Rimes had the much greater success overall. Her version peaked at #2 for five non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 behind Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997” juggernaut and Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply.”

Rimes’ version of “How Do I Live” would set a record for 69 weeks on the chart. It would hold up for more than a decade before being surpassed by Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” It also set the record for 25 consecutive weeks in the top 5, a record held for 19 years. THe Chainsmokers’ “Closer” broke the record in 2017. It spent a record 32 consecutive weeks in the top 10, a record broken by Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” in 2017. It was also the highest-selling country single until Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” 12 years later. In 2014, Billboard magazine rated “How Do I Live” as the #1 song of the 1990s. It currently ranks at #6 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.


First posted 10/14/2022.

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