Angel (Sarah McLachlan song)
|Single by Sarah McLachlan|
|from the album Surfacing and City of Angels: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Released||November 24, 1998|
|Length||4:30 (album version)
4:00 (radio edit)
Warner Bros. (US)
|Certification||4× Platinum (RIAA)|
|Sarah McLachlan singles chronology|
"Angel" (sometimes mis-titled[by whom?] as "In the Arms of the Angel" or simply "Arms of the Angel") is a song by Sarah McLachlan that originally appeared on her 1997 album Surfacing. As McLachlan explained on VH1 Storytellers, the song is about the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996.
"Angel" was McLachlan's second consecutive top five hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, debuting at number twelve, and then jumping to the top ten the following week, before peaking at number four. It remained at the top ten for nineteen weeks, and for twenty-nine weeks in the top 100. "Angel" was the eighteenth most successful song of 1999.
"Angel" was one of the first songs written for Surfacing. McLachlan said that writing it was easy, "a real joyous occasion." It was inspired by articles that she read in Rolling Stone about musicians turning to heroin to cope with the pressures of the music industry and subsequently overdosing. She said that she identified with the feelings that might lead someone to use heroin: "I've been in that place where you've messed up and you're so lost that you don't know who you are anymore, and you're miserable—and here's this escape route. I've never done heroin, but I've done plenty of other things to escape." She said that the song is about "trying not to take responsibility for other people's problems and trying to love yourself at the same time".
Released as a single in 1998, "Angel" peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 23, 1999 (after reaching the Top 40 on December 15, 1998), #1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and at #36 on the UK Singles Chart.
The song has had enduring popularity. It is often used to highlight emotional scenes on television shows, and has been featured in a number of soundtracks (including the film City of Angels and TV's Alias, As The World Turns, Cold Case, Dawson's Creek, Early Edition, Felicity, General Hospital, Providence, Strong Medicine and The Pretender). In addition, it is also used as a song of comfort and healing, most often following tragic events such as the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre and the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. Furthermore, a large number of video tributes to loved ones uploaded by YouTube users have been set to this song.
On July 2, 2005, McLachlan performed this song at Live 8 Philadelphia with Josh Groban. She also performed the song on "Concert for Linda," dedicating it to the memory of Linda McCartney. On September 10, 2011, McLachlan performed the song to close the ceremonies at the dedication of the Flight 93 Memorial in Stonycreek Township, commemorating the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 who fought the hijackers and brought down their airplane in the September 11 attacks.
The song has a sparse arrangement — mostly McLachlan at the piano, with subtle upright bass played by Jim Creeggan of Barenaked Ladies. It was recorded in the key of D-flat major. For live performances, it is transposed up one half-step to D major and played without the bass.
The song made its début on the New Zealand Singles Chart on the 6 July 2009 at number 36. The appearance in the charts was attributed to the 2009 New Zealand Stars in Their Eyes grand final the week before, where Mandy Pickering of Christchurch won the final performing the song.
This song was used in the final minutes of the season finale of season 3 for The Secret Life of the American Teenager as everyone discovers that Ben and Adrian's baby is stillborn.
Since 2007, "Angel" has been included in an advertisement for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in which McLachlan serves as the spokesperson. The song is played over video of dogs and cats in an animal shelter and is credited with helping raise millions of dollars for the ASPCA.
The song was also donated by McLachlan for Tribe of Heart's movie The Witness which depicts the awakening of consciousness of a New York City construction worker with respect to the treatment of animals.
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||17|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||17|
|Germany (Media Control AG)||57|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||99|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||39|
|US Billboard Hot 100||4|
|End of year chart (1999)||Position|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||18|
- In 1998 CKBE-FM David Tyler.
- Pianist/New Age artist George Winston recorded an instrumental cover of "Angel" for his 1999 album Plains.
- Canadian country music group Lace covered the song on their self-titled debut album in 1999, from which it was released as the album's sixth single in 2001.
- Irish boy band Westlife included a rendition of the song on their album World of Our Own in 2001.
- Canadian musician Allison Crowe covered the song on her 2003 album Tidings, and performed on the television special which accompanied it.
- Slovenian duo Platin covered the song (in English, as 'Angel (Zate, Marjan...)') on their 2004 album Stay Forever.
- American Idol performer Kelly Clarkson covered this song as an early demo.
- Mexican singer Yuridia covered the song for her 2006 second album, Habla El Corazón, in a Spanish version entitled "Estar Junto a Tí", in memory of her late brother.
- Angelis covered this song in 2006 on their album Angelis
- John Barrowman covered the song on his 2008 album Music, Music, Music.
- Japanese singer Aoi Teshima covered the song on her second cover album, La vie en rose: I Love Cinemas, released in 2009.
- "Angel" was covered by European singer Lara Fabian on her 2009 album Every Woman in Me, and performed on her tour and TV show.
- Welsh classical singer Katherine Jenkins covered the song on her latest album Believe
- David Phelps, an American gospel singer, covered the song in his 2008 album The Voice.
- British a cappella vocal ensemble The King's Singers covered the song on their 2010 album Swimming over London.
- The song was covered for an unreleased acoustic solo album by the late singer "Midnight" of prog-metal band, Crimson Glory.
- This song was covered by Jackie Evancho in 2011 for her album Dream With Me and subsequent PBS special and concert tour.
- South African artists Jakkie Louw and Charlize Berg covered this song as a tribute to cancer survivors. 
- Joe Sample & Randy Crawford feature this song on their No Regrets album (2008).
- American Idol runner-up David Archuleta covered this song on his 2012 album Begin.
- The teenaged pop-opera Italian trio Il Volo performed this song for their 2nd PBS TV Special, We Are Love in 2013.
- Marti Pellow covered this on the album Love to Love in 2011
Live cover performances
- In 2004, Australian Idol contestant Hayley Jensen performed this song on the first week of the semi-finals of the second season and was voted through to the Final 12 the following night. Jensen eventually recorded a cover for that season's Finalist Cast Album.
- In 2005, Idol winner Jorun Stiansen performed this song on the Top 9 show of the third season.
- In 2006, Angel was performed on the fourth season of Canadian Idol on the first week of the semi-finals by eventual winner Eva Avila. Avila recorded a cover of the song for that season's Top 10 Cast Album.
- In 2009, Eesti otsib superstaari winner Ott Lepland performed this song on the sixth week of the finals of the third season.
- The song was performed by Katherine Jenkins at the opening ceremony of the 38th Ryder Cup in Wales, on the 30th of September 2010, in front of an estimated TV audience of over 600 million. She also performed the song as a part of a tribute to Sports Personalities who had died in 2010 at The 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Ceremony on the 19th of December 2010, at The LG Arena in Birmingham.
- Singer Beyoncé Knowles covered the song in a medley with her own "Ave Maria" on her current I Am... Tour.
- Prince covered "Angel" during the European "20Ten" Tour in July 2010, and during the Welcome 2 America Tour Jan 2011.
- On June 14, 2011, the American The Voice contestant and eventual winner Javier Colon performed it in the first season of the show. The studio version peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- On November 29, 2011, the German X Factor second season contestant and eventual winner David Pfeffer performed it in the semi final of the show.
- On November 13, 2012, Bella Ferraro performed the song as her bottom two song in the semi-final of the fourth season of the Australian The X Factor.
- On June 22, 2013, The Voice of the Philippines contestant Lee Grane performed the song during her blind auditions. The performance trended world-wide on the micro-blogging site Twitter and received a million views on YouTube.
- On July 14, 2013, the New Zealand X Factor first season contestant and eventual winner Jackie Thomas performed it in the semi final of the show.
- On October 26, 2013, the UK X Factor tenth series contestant Nicholas McDonald performed it in week 3 of the show.
- Reighley, Kurt B. (August 1997), "Sarah McLachlan In The Garden", CMJ New Music Monthly (College Media Inc.): 21–25, retrieved 2010-05-12
- McDonnell, Evelyn (September 1997), "Lilith Fair", Spin (Spin Media LLC): 64, retrieved 2010-05-12
- "DMC: Saved By An Angel - How Sarah McLachlan thwarted the legendary MC's suicidal tendencies.". IGN.com. 2006-02-24.
- "Ad Featuring Singer Proves Bonanza for the A.S.P.C.A.". The New York Times. 2008-12-25.
- LaVeck, James; Stein, Jenny. "Sarah McLachlan, Angel and The Witness". Tribe of Heart. Retrieved 2012-12-31.
- "Sarah McLachlan – Angel – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Sarah McLachlan – Angel – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Luxembourg Digital Songs - October 8, 2011". Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Dutch Charts Single Top 100 search". Single Top 100. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Sarah McLachlan – Angel". VG-lista. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Charts.org.nz – Sarah McLachlan – Angel". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Sarah McLachlan Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Sarah McLachlan. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
- Hollywood Life: The Voice's' Javier Colon - I Had To Fight Hard To Sing 'Angel'
- "The Billboard Hot 100 Week of July 02, 2011". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- Angel on YouTube (licensed content by Sony BMG)
- Brightcove music video
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
"I'm Your Angel" by R. Kelly & Celine Dion
|Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
March 6 × May 22, 1999
"You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins