My Heart Will Go On

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"My Heart Will Go On"
Celine dion-my heart will go on s.jpg
Standard cover art
Single by Celine Dion
from the album Let's Talk About Love and Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture
B-side
ReleasedDecember 8, 1997 (1997-12-08)
RecordedMay 22, 1997
Studio Wallyworld, The Hit Factory
Genre Pop
Length
  • 4:39 (album version)
  • 5:11 (soundtrack version)
Label
Composer(s) James Horner
Lyricist(s) Will Jennings
Producer(s)
Celine Dion singles chronology
"The Reason"
(1997)
"My Heart Will Go On"
(1997)
"Immortality"
(1998)
Audio sample
Celine Dion – "My Heart Will Go On"
Music video
"My Heart Will Go On" on YouTube

"My Heart Will Go On" is a song recorded by Canadian singer Celine Dion. The song serves as the main soundtrack to James Cameron's blockbuster film Titanic , based on an account of the transatlantic ocean liner of the same name which sank in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. The song's music was composed by James Horner, its lyrics were written by Will Jennings, while the production was handled by Walter Afanasieff, Horner and Simon Franglen. [1] [2]

Contents

Released as a single from Dion's fifth English-language studio album, Let's Talk About Love (1997), and the film's soundtrack, the love power ballad peaked at the top of the RPM Top Singles Chart. Outside Canada, "My Heart Will Go On" became a global hit, topping the charts in over twenty countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

"My Heart Will Go On" is considered to be Dion's signature song. [3] With worldwide sales estimated at over 18 million copies, it is one of the best-selling singles of all time, one of the biggest radio smashes in history [4] and became the second-best-selling single by a female artist in history. [5] It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The music video was directed by Bille Woodruff and released at the end of 1997. Dion performed the song to honour the 20th anniversary of the film at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on May 21, 2017. [6]

Origins

James Horner had originally composed the music for the song as an instrumental motif which he used in several scenes during Titanic. He then wanted to prepare a full vocal version of it, to use during the film's end credits. Lyricist Will Jennings was hired, who wrote the lyrics "from the point of view of a person of a great age looking back so many years". [7] Director James Cameron did not want such a song, but Will Jennings went ahead anyway and wrote the lyrics. When Dion originally heard the song, she did not want to record it [8] as she felt she was pushing her luck by singing another film theme song after "Beauty and the Beast". [7] Horner showed the piano sketch to Simon Franglen, who was working with him on electronic textures and synthesizers for the film score. Franglen had worked with Dion for several years on many of her major hits to date. [9]

Recording

James Cameron felt obligated to include a theme song to promote the film. Glen Brunman also stated that the soundtrack album was supposed to be "No song, no Céline". [10]

Dion's manager and husband René Angélil convinced her to sing on this demo version, which she had not done for many years. Tommy Mottola claimed that Dion recorded the song in one take, and that demo is what was released in the film. However, she re-recorded the song for her album release after the film's release and its tremendous success. It was an edited version with few note changes at the end of the song. [10] Horner waited until Cameron was in an appropriate mood before presenting him with the song. After playing it several times, Cameron declared his approval, even though he worried that he might be criticized for "going commercial at the end of the movie". Cameron also wanted to appease anxious studio executives and "saw that a hit song from his movie could only be a positive factor in guaranteeing its completion". [11]

Composition

The song is written in the key of E major. The verses follow the chord progression of E–Bsus4–Aadd9–E–B. The chorus has the chord progression of Cm–B–A–B. The song modulates to A-flat major. [12] It contains heavy emphasis on the instrumental arranging. Usage of Tin Whistle is prominent, backed by melodic use of strings and rhythm guitars. The song features both acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Dion's vocal performance is described as "emotional" and "demanding" by Pandora Radio. [13]

Versions

The original Horner/Franglen produced "demo" version of the ballad runs a little over five minutes and has an extended ending with longer, segmented vocalizations by Dion. Franglen mixed the final film and soundtrack version, expanding on the demo and adding orchestra to the final chorus. It is this version which appears on the Titanic soundtrack album and is also played over the ending credits of the film. [14]

When the single was to be released to radio, it was produced further by Walter Afanasieff who added string and electric guitar, as well as rearranged portions of the song. This version, which runs a little over four and a half minutes, appears on both the 4-track maxi single and Dion's album Let's Talk About Love. [15] At the height of the song's popularity, some radio stations in the US and the UK played an edited version of the song, that had dramatic moments of dialogue from the Jack and Rose lead characters in the film inserted in between Dion's vocal lines.

Sissel Kyrkjebø recording

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Sissel performing "My Heart Will Go On" on world premiere of Titanic 3D at Royal Albert Hall, March 27, 2012, YouTube video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Sissel performing "My Heart Will Go On" on world premiere of Titanic Live at Royal Albert Hall, April 27, 2015, YouTube video

Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø was scheduled to record the song for the film in 1997, but Dion's vocals were preferred due to Horner's decision to support Dion's career. [16] [17] [18] [19] In a December 2014 interview, Horner quotes: "When I had completed the Titanic [film], I had to decide for Celine Dion or Sissel['s] [vocals]. Sissel I am very close, while Celine I had known since she was 18, and I had already written three film songs for [her]. But that was before Celine was known and filmmakers and marketing people had not done what they should have done for Celine and [her] songs. So I felt I owed her a Titanic chance, but I could [still] have used Sissel there". [20] Instead, Kyrkjebø completed much of the score for the soundtrack album, Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture. [16] Dion accepted to sing a demo for the film, despite initially hesitant to record as she had already done three film songs earlier. [21] [22] Years later, Horner chose Kyrkjebø to perform "My Heart Will Go On" on both world premieres of Titanic 3D (2012) and Titanic Live (2015). [17]

Critical reception

General

AllMusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that the song "shines the most brilliantly" and marked it as a standout track from the Let's Talk About Love album. [23] Another AllMusic reviewer, single editor Heather Phares, who rated the single 4 out of 5 stars, wrote, "Indeed, her performances of it on VH1 Divas, the 1998 Academy Awards (wearing the film's 'Heart of the Ocean' pendant, no less), and on her 1997 album Let's Talk About Love have cemented 'My Heart Will Go On' as the quintessence of Dion's sweeping, romantic style". [24] Larry Flick from Billboard called it a "stately ballad", noting that the song "woos with romantic lyrics and a melancholy melody that is fleshed out with a weeping flute solo." He added, "There's no denying that Dion can hit notes that shatter glass—and she does so here—but it's a pleasure to hear her build slowly and remind listeners of her ability to pack volumes of emotion in a whisper. A fine single that will add a much-needed touch of class to every station it graces." [25] People Magazine stated that "the dramatics are fitting when she sings "My Heart Will Go On" as a survivor mourning the lover she lost when the big ship went down." [26] Yahoo.com described it as an "emotional power ballad that perfectly captured [Titanic's] romantic yearning". [7] Vulture said that it is a powerful song and has "one of the most glorious key changes in recorded music history", and that "its legacy is eclipsed only by" Whitney Houston's "admittedly far superior" song "I Will Always Love You". [27] Washington Post appreciated how the song was not just tagged on the end of the three-hour film, but has a lyrical motif that was already placed throughout the key moments of the film's love story in order to create a musical narrative. [28]

The song has also received criticism. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers ranked it the seventh worst song of the 1990s, with the magazine writing, "Celine Dion's song and the movie have aged very poorly...Now [the song] probably just makes you cringe". [29] The Atlantic attributed the song's decline in popularity to its overexposure and added that over the years there have been many jokes that parody the song's lyrics by claiming "My Heart Will Go On" goes "on and on and on". [30] Vulture reasoned that it has become fashionable to dislike the song because it "encapsulates most everything that once-enthusiastic moviegoers now dislike about Titanic: It's outdated, cheesy, and overly dramatic". [27] Maxim deemed it "the second most tragic event ever to result from that fabled ocean liner". [30]

Accolades

"My Heart Will Go On" won the 1998 Academy Award for Best Original Song. [31] It dominated the 1999 Grammy Awards, winning Record of the Year — marking the first time to be won by a Canadian — Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. [32] "My Heart Will Go On" also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 1998. [33]

The song also won a Japanese Gold Disc Award, for Song of the Year, [34] as well as a Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack Single of the Year. [35] [36]

It has been named one of the Songs of the Century. [37] It is one of the best-selling singles ever in the United Kingdom, [38] selling over a million copies, the second single released by Dion to do so. This made Dion one of only two female artists to date to have released two million-selling singles in Britain. [39] In December 2007, the song was placed on number 21 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 90's". [40] In April 2010, the UK radio station Magic 105.4 voted the single the "top movie song of all time" after listeners's votes. [41] It was ranked at number 14 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs, celebrating the 100 greatest songs in American film history. [42]

Legacy and impact

The song became "imprinted on the movie's legacy", and every listen prompts a reminder of the blockbuster and the hype surrounding it. [30] USA Today agreed that the song will be forever tied to Titanic. [43] The Washington Post says it is the marriage of music and image that make both the song and film greater than the sum of their parts. [28]

Los Angeles Times stated that: “My Heart Will Go On helped make 1998 an amazing year for big pop Ballads. [44]

The Atlantic stated that its popularity did not stem from being played at events such as high school proms, weddings, and funerals, but by being indelibly placed into pop culture through numerous plays on the radio station, speakers, and passing cars. [30]

Anne T. Donahue from TrackRecord called it "The Greatest Movie Ballad Of All Time" stating: "It changed the game for movie ballads altogether, and the impact was felt immediately." [45]

MTV listed 'My Heart Will Go On' as the sixth biggest song of the 90s. [46]


British power metal band DragonForce included a tongue-in-cheek cover of the song on their 2019 album Extreme Power Me tal .

Barb and Stars film had a scene while the cast dances to the club remix of “My Heart Will Go On”. [47]

In the late 2010s, a pop culture trend emerged on platforms such as YouTube in which the song's iconic key change would be edited in as the soundtrack to a dramatic moment from a sporting match, such as a match winning shot.

During the pandemic, Barcelona Pianist Performed 'My Heart Will Go On' for His Quarantined Neighbors. [48]

In early 2021, DJ at Trump’s Washington rally played ‘My Heart Will Go On’ to the crowd. [49]

According to US Magazine, Kim Kardashian revealed that Khloe Kardashian was with her on the holiday excursion, tagging her in a video of the water while Celine Dion‘s “My Heart Will Go On” played at the background. “@khloekardashian was not feeling my playlist,” Kim captioned the clip. [50]

Bruno Mars opened his first show since early 2020 at MGM, in continuation of his Las Vegas residency and did a rendition of Dion's classic hit 'My Heart Will Go On'. [51] Popstar Ariana Grande (also a big fan of Dion) sang My Heart Will Go On with James Corden on a segent at The Late Late Show with James Corden. [52]

Music video

The video was directed by Bill Woodruff and shows Dion singing on the deck of the R.M.S. Titanic while scenes from the film are intercut in between. It was filmed in Long Beach, California, wherein the RMS Queen Mary stood in for the deck of Titanic.

Live performances

"My Heart Will Go On" was performed by Dion in concert during her Let's Talk About Love World Tour (1998–1999), her Las Vegas residency show A New Day... (2003–2007), her Taking Chances World Tour (2008–2009) and her second Las Vegas residency show Celine (2011–2019). It was also performed during her show "Une seule fois" at Sur les plaines d'Abraham in Quebec City July 27, 2013, during her Tournée Européenne 2013, her Summer Tour 2016, Live 2017 and Live 2018 tours and most recently her Courage World Tour. Dion also performed the song during her BST Hyde Park concert in London on July 5, 2019.

Commercial performance

"My Heart Will Go On" became Dion's biggest hit and one of the best-selling singles in history, having sold more than 18 million copies worldwide. [53] In the United States, the song was given a limited number of copies – 658,000. Regardless, it debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, with sales of 360,000 copies, [54] where it stayed for two weeks. In addition, the song spent ten weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay, and was number one for two weeks on the Hot 100 Singles Sales. As a testament to the popularity of the song on the radio, the song broke the record for the then-largest radio audience ever, garnering 117 million listeners in February 1998. [55] The single was eventually certified gold in the United States. [56] Billboard reported that the digital copy of the single has sold 1,133,000 units since being available bringing total sales to 1,791,000 copies sold in the US. [57] In an article published by Billboard in November 2019, "My Heart Will Go On" has 588.2 million on-demand streams in the US, making it her most streamed song in the country. [58]

In addition "My Heart Will Go On" reached number one in several other US charts, including, Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks, [54] Top 40 Mainstream, [54] Hot Latin Pop Airplay, and Hot Latin Tracks. For the latter, the single became the first English-language song to top the Hot Latin Tracks chart, [54] to which Dion was given a Billboard Latin Music Award for that achievement.

Internationally, the song was phenomenally successful, spending many weeks at the top position in various countries, including 17 weeks on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, 15 weeks in Switzerland, 13 weeks in France and Germany, 11 weeks in the Netherlands and Sweden, ten weeks in Wallonia, Denmark, Italy, and Norway, seven weeks in Flanders, six weeks in Ireland, four weeks in Australia and Austria, two weeks in Spain and the United Kingdom, and one week in Finland.

In Germany, "My Heart Will Go On" was certified 4× platinum for selling over two million copies, [59] and was ranked as one of the most popular singles ever released there. [60] It sold over 1.2 million copies in France, being certified Diamond. Additionally, the song was certified 3× Platinum in Belgium, 2× Platinum in Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, Platinum in Greece, and Gold in Austria. "My Heart Will Go On" was released twice in Japan. The regular edition from January 1998 sold 205,300 and was certified 2× Platinum, for 200,000 copies sold. The remixed edition released in June 1998 sold 111,920 copies and was certified Gold for 100,000 copies sold, because maxi-singles are treated as an album.

In the United Kingdom, the song sold 1,681,023 copies (as of September 2017), [61] becoming Dion's second million-selling single in Britain, following "Think Twice" in 1995, and Britain's second-best-selling single of 1998, behind Cher's "Believe". [62] This made her the only solo female artist to have two million-selling singles in Britain: a record which stood until early 2012, when Rihanna's singles "Only Girl (In the World)" (2010) and "We Found Love" (2011) both topped a million sales. [63]

Album appearances

The music video was included on the All the Way... A Decade of Song & Video DVD and on the Titanic (Three-Disc Special Collector's Edition) DVD release on October 25, 2005. In addition to Dion's Let's Talk About Love and the Titanic soundtrack, "My Heart Will Go On" appears on several other albums, including VH1 Divas Live , Au cœur du stade , All the Way... A Decade of Song , A New Day... Live in Las Vegas , Complete Best , My Love: Essential Collection , Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert , and Céline... une seule fois / Live 2013 . It was also included on the DVDs for Au cœur du stade , All the Way... A Decade of Song & Video , Live in Las Vegas: A New Day... , and Celine: Through the Eyes of the World .

It was included later on the Back to Titanic second soundtrack album, but it does not appear on the 20th anniversary edition. In France, "My Heart Will Go On" was released as a double A-side single with "The Reason". In the Let's Talk about Love album booklet, the lyrics of the song contain an additional line between a second chorus and the final verse. The words "There is some love that will not go away" are not performed by Dion in any available version of the song, however, they are still included on Dion's official site.

Track listing

Singles

Maxi-singles

Remixes

  1. "My Heart Will Go On" (Tony Moran Mix) – 4:21
  2. "My Heart Will Go On" (Tony Moran's Anthem Vocal) – 9:41
  3. "My Heart Will Go On" (Richie Jones Mix) – 4:15
  4. "My Heart Will Go On" (Richie Jones "Go On" Beats) – 5:12
  5. "My Heart Will Go On" (Richie Jones "Unsinkable" Club Mix) – 10:03
  6. "My Heart Will Go On" (Soul Solution Mix) – 4:18
  7. "My Heart Will Go On" (Soul Solution Percappella) – 4:16
  8. "My Heart Will Go On" (Soul Solution Bonus Beats) – 3:32
  9. "My Heart Will Go On" (Soul Solution Drama at Sea Mix) – 9:10
  10. "My Heart Will Go On" (Matt & Vito's "Unsinkable" Epic Mix) – 9:52
  11. "My Heart Will Go On" (Matt & Vito's Penny Whistle Dub) – 3:21
  12. "My Heart Will Go On" (Cuca's Radio Edit) – 4:22

Charts

Certifications and sales

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [129] 2× Platinum140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria) [130] Gold25,000*
Belgium (BEA) [131] 3× Platinum150,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) [132] Platinum90,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
France (SNEP) [133] Diamond1,200,000 [124]
Germany (BVMI) [134] 4× Platinum2,000,000^
Italy (FIMI) [135] Gold25,000*
Japan (RIAJ) [136]
Single version
2× Platinum200,000^
Japan (RIAJ) [137]
Dance mixes
Gold100,000^
Japan (RIAJ) [138]
Ringtone
Gold100,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON) [139] Gold30,000*
Netherlands (NVPI) [140] 2× Platinum150,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway) [141] 2× Platinum40,000*
Sweden (GLF) [142] 2× Platinum60,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland) [143] 2× Platinum100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [144] 3× Platinum1,800,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United States (RIAA) [145] Gold2,358,000 [146] [147]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

CountryDateFormat
Australia [148] December 8, 1997
  • CD
  • cassette
Germany [148]
Japan [149] January 14, 1998Mini CD
United Kingdom [150] February 9, 1998
  • CD
  • cassette
United States [150] February 10, 1998
Japan [151] June 20, 1998CD

See also

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Tell Him (Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion song) 1997 single by Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion

"Tell Him" is a song written by Linda Thompson and producers Walter Afanasieff and David Foster. It was recorded as a duet by American singer Barbra Streisand and Canadian singer Celine Dion for their 1997 albums, Higher Ground and Let's Talk About Love, and released as the lead single from these albums on October 7, 1997. The song was a top ten hit in Europe and Australia and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards. Later, "Tell Him" was included on both singers' greatest hits albums: Streisand's The Essential (2002), Duets (2002) and The Ultimate Collection (2010), and Dion's The Collector's Series, Volume One (2000), My Love: Essential Collection (2008) and The Best of Celine Dion & David Foster (2012).

"I See You " is the official theme song recorded by British singer Leona Lewis for the 2009 film Avatar, directed by James Cameron, and its accompanying soundtrack (2009). It was written by James Horner and Kuk Harrell, with production done by Simon Franglen. A pop inspired ballad, the lyrics, which reflect the story line of the film, are about love, emotion and power. The song received multiple comparisons to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", which is the official theme song written by Horner for another film directed by Cameron, Titanic (1997). Lewis has performed the song on So You Think You Can Dance and Today, and it was included on the set list of her debut concert tour, The Labyrinth (2010). It peaked at number 47 on the Irish Singles Chart and number 24 on the US Adult Contemporary chart.

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Further reading