Saturday, February 28, 1998

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

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, 366.3 video, 305.95 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

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. BR 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.” BR 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. BR 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.” BR

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:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Celine Dion
  • BR Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. 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.

First posted 1/7/2015; last updated 4/24/2021.

Saturday, February 21, 1998

“I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” gets lucky 21 years after it first charted (2/21/1948)

I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover

Art Mooney

Writer(s): Mort Dixon/Harry Woods (see lyrics here)


First Charted: January 24, 1948


Peak: 15 US, 12 HP, 11 GA, 14 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): , 2.0 US (includes 1.0 in sheet music)


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

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

It isn’t often a song waits 21 years to hit #1, but it took that long for “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” to get lucky. The song was written by Harry Woods and Mort Dixon in 1927. Woods was a Tin Pan Alley lyricist who wrote the million-selling songs “When the Red Red Robin Comes Bobbing Along” (1926) and “Side by Side” (1927). AMG-1 Meanwhile, Mort Dixon did some songwriting for Broadway and Hollywood and also wrote hits such as “That Old Gang of Mine” (1923), and “Bye Bye Blackbird” (1926). AMG-2

Their collaborative efforts on “Clover” found success on April 30, 1927 when two versions of the song charted simultaneously. Nick Lucas took the song to #2 while Ben Bernie went to #3. Two weeks later, Jean Goldkette hit the charts with Billy Murray. Theirs hit #10. PM

In 1948, “Four-Leaf Clover” had a resurgence when six different acts charted with the song, including the Uptown String Band, Russ Morgan, Alvino Rey, The Three Suns, and Arthur Godfrey. PM However, the first and biggest of the batch was Art Mooney’s #1 version which featured Mike Pingatore. Originally the banjo player with bandleader Paul Whiteman JA on hits such as 1923’s “Linger Awhile,” TY Pingatore forged a heavy-strumming style which became a blueprint for Dixieland banjoists. JA-99

The song also took on a life beyond the charts. It has become Warner Brothers cartoon favorite, used for Bugs Bunny (Operation Rabbit), Daffy Duck and the Tasmanian Devil (Ducking the Devil), and Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner (Fast and Furry-ous). WK It was parodied as “I’m Looking Over My Dead Dog Rover”, first by Kevin Gershon in 1973 and again by Hank Stu Dave and Hank in 1977. The latter received play on Dr. Demento’s radio show. WK “Clover” has also become a campfire sing-a-long and Scouter favorite. JA


Resources:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Art Mooney
  • AMG-1 All Music Guide (Harry Woods bio)
  • AMG-2 All Music Guide (Mort Dixon bio)
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 99.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 39.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 523.
  • WK Wikipedia.org


First posted 2/21/2012; last updated 8/6/2022.