Monday, December 1, 1997

Robbie Williams charted with “Angels”


Robbie Williams

Writer(s): Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers, Ray Heffernan (see lyrics here)

Released: December 1, 1997

First Charted: December 13, 1997

Peak: 53 US, 25 RR, 10 AC, 21 A40, 4 UK, 18 CN, 40 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.8 UK, 2.13 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 260.61 video, 309.32 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Robbie Williams first gained fame in the British boy band Take That in the early ‘90s before striking out on his own in 1996. As a solo artist, he has topped the UK singles chart seven times. However, “Angels,” which peaked at #4, is his best-selling single. In a VH1 poll in the UK, this was voted the best song which should have topped the charts. SF At the 2005 Brit Awards, it was voted the best song of the previous 25 years. WK

Irish Independent called it an “epic ballad” WK and ShortList’s Dave Fawbert called it a “genuinely brilliant song.” WK Billboard magazine’s Larry Flick praised the song as a “sweet ballad that never gets sappy.” He said “the lyric is thoughtful and ear-grabbing, and his smoky, crisp vocal is a sheer delight. All that and a chorus to kill for.” WK

The song is about loved ones who’ve died and come back as guardian angels to offer protection and affection. In 2005, Britons voted it the song they most wanted played at their funerals. WK Detractors referred to Williams as “a glorified cabaret singer” and attacked this song as his attempt at a mainstream song in a Britpop style. SF

Williams claimed he wrote the song with collaborator Guy Chambers about his aunt and uncle. He said they were inspired to write the chorus by watching a water fountain while sitting outside a café. However, Irish singer/songwriter Ray Heffernan says he wrote the son in 1996 after his partner had a miscarriage. By chance, he met Williams in a Dublin pub and showed him the song and the two of them recorded a demo of the song. Williams then said and Chambers significantly rewrote the song. Williams’ management paid Heffernan £7,500 (about $10,000 in U.S. dollars) for the rights to the song.


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First posted 10/15/2021.

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