Writer(s): Scott Cutler, Anne Preven, Phil Thornalley (see lyrics here)
Released: October 27, 1997
First Charted: November 8, 1997
Peak: 42 US, 111 BA, 112 GR, 111 RR, 4 AC, 114 A40, 3 AA, 12 MR, 2 UK, 112 CN, 2 AU, 18 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.8 UK, 4.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.9 radio, 369.27 video, 592.09 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Record company greed was never more blatantly obvious than in the ‘90s. It became a regular practice to delay or withhold altogether the release of a single in an effort to drive sales for the album instead. This made for some interesting chart disparities. Because the Billboard Hot 100 required songs to be released as singles, there were songs like the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” that topped the airplay chart for 18 and 16 weeks respectively but were cheated out of the chance to potentially rank amongst the biggest #1 songs of all time.
While those were both well-known acts, new artists fell victim to the practice as well – perhaps none more so than Natalie Imbruglia. The singer/songwriter and actress was born in Australia in 1975. She gained fame in her native country through the soap opera Neighbours before moving to London to launch a music career. Her debut album, Left of the Middle, was released in 1997 and sold seven million copies worldwide. The lead single, “Torn,” was a top-5 hit in multiple countries but only reached #42 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it spent eleven weeks atop the airplay chart and was a major #1 hit on competitors’ charts like the Gavin Report and Radio & Records that didn’t hamper songs with the same rules as the Billboard Hot 100.
The “lyrics immaculately captured the contradictory dilemmas of everyday life.” TB The song is a “tale of a romantic breakup, from the disappointed but clear-eyed perspective of a woman who’s come to realize that the magic she thought was there isn’t.” SS It was written in 1991 by Scott Cutler and Anne Preven with producer Phil Thornalley. It was intended as a solo release for Preven. Her American rock band Ednaswap performed it live but didn’t initially release it. It was then recorded in 1993 in Danish by singer Lis Sørensen and became a hit in Demark. Ednaswap then recorded the song in 1995 and, a year later, it was recorded by American-Norwegian singer Trinie Rein and became a top-ten hit on the Norwegian charts.
In 1997, Imbruglia released her version of the song with Thornalley on bass and rhythm guitars. Her version earned worldwide attention and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Billboard’s Larry Flick said it “has an infectious melody that will warm the hearts of anyone with a hankering for a slice of pure pop.” WK Music historian Steve Sullivan called it “the most pleasantly inescapable song on pop radio in 1998.” SS
First posted 8/9/2023.