Million Dollar Bill

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For the fake United States currency, see Fake denominations of United States currency#$1,000,000.
"Million Dollar Bill"
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album I Look to You
Released August 18, 2009 (2009-08-18)[1]
(see release history)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2008
Genre R&B, soul, funk, disco, dance-pop
Length 3:23
Label Arista
Writer(s) Alicia Keys, Kaseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean, Norman Harris
Producer(s) Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"I Look to You"
(2009)
"Million Dollar Bill"
(2009)
"Celebrate"
(2012)
Music video
"Million Dollar Bill" on YouTube

"Million Dollar Bill" is a song performed by American recording artist Whitney Houston from her sixth studio album, I Look to You (2009). It was released as the official worldwide lead (second US single) from the album on August 18, 2009 through Arista Records in the US[1] and August 24, 2009 through RCA Records in the UK.[2] It was to be the last single released from Houston before her death in 2012. The song samples R&B singer Loleatta Holloway's "We're Getting Stronger" from Holloway's 1976 debut LP.

Background[edit]

The song was written by singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and samples R&B singer Loleatta Holloway's "We're Getting Stronger" from Holloway's 1976 debut LP. Keys had requested to be a part of Houston's album and Houston decided she wanted to work with Keys after hearing her perform at one of Clive Davis' parties.[3] Houston said for MTV News that “When she performed at one of [Clive's] parties the year before last, I kind of looked at her, and it was when she had [the 'No One'] record out, and it was the only record that came on the radio that inspired me”.[4] “I walked over to her, and off the cuff said, ‘Hey, do you think you could produce me?’ She said, ‘Yeah, I think I can,’ ” Houston explained.[4]

It was produced by hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz with an old school R&B beat. Beatz told MTV News that the process on the song started when he got a call from Clive Davis and record executive Larry Jackson.[5] After he had produced the beat, Keys joined him in the songwriting process and the duo completed the song.[3] Keys told Billboard about the recording session(s), "Whitney is an artist who inspired me from [the time I was] a little girl. Fast-forwarding to now and being able to work with her to help create this song that took off was fun. We had a lot of laughs; it was like being with a long-lost friend."[3]

The song received critical acclaim at the album's three listening parties and was cited as a "big comeback record". Houston performed the song live on The X Factor in the UK on Sunday, October 18 the night before the album was released in that territory.[6]

Composition[edit]

21 second sample from Whitney Houston's "Million Dollar Bill". The song is an old school disco song with production from Swizz Beatz. The lyrics talk about love.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Million Dollar Bill is an uptempo "pop dance groove" with strong disco influences.[7] The song lasts for three minutes and twenty three seconds.[8] Written in they key of B Minor, the song's beat is set in common time and moves at a tempo of 120 beats per minute.[7] Houston's voice spans A3 to the note of B4.[7] The song also features a sample of Loleatta Holloway's 1977 song "We're Getting Stronger (The Longer We Stay Together)".[3] Swizz Beatz explained that the song "is all about the feelings new love can bring".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

From the New York listening party Rolling Stone said "'Million Dollar Bill' is a clattering, uptempo hip-hop-inspired number. It may be the fastest ever for Houston, who keeps up nicely. It received a standing ovation setting the tone for much of the album."[9] MTV's Shaheem Reid comments revolved around the first track 'Million Dollar Bill', saying that "Houston sings of looking for love and finding a man with potential. "If he makes you feel like a million-dollar bill, say, 'Oh, oh/ Oh, oh,' " she sings on the hook. "It's been a long time since love has come my way. I've been looking and searching for a man to touch this place." Right from the start, 'Million Dollar Bill' displays her billion-dollar voice over a club-friendly Swizz track that even got Alicia Keys up and dancing while taking video with her personal camera as the words she wrote boomed through the speakers.[10] Dean Piper of the Daily Mirror considered it a "summer track" reminiscent of Janet Jackson's "The Best Things in Life Are Free."[11]

Nick Levine of Digital Spy said "Written by Alicia Keys and produced by Swizz Beatz (probably best known for Beyoncé's 'Check On It' and 'Ring the Alarm'), it's a midtempo disco track with an unabashedly feelgood message. "If he makes you feel like a million dollar bill," Whitney sings on the chorus, 'Say oh-oh-oh, say oh-oh-oh'. The Voice is deeper and raspier than you might remember, but she's still capable of going for a money note. 'Million Dollar Bill' won't be storming any barns in a hurry, but it's a classy, dignified and thoroughly likeable comeback effort. Whitney, it's good to have you back."[12] Bill Lamb of About.com gave a mixed review saying, "The good news on "Million Dollar Bill" is the performance is undeniably the Whitney Houston we all know. The down side is it's all almost too familiar. The arrangement courtesy producer Swizz Beatz is very old school R&B. Alicia Keys has written a song that fits very well with her tradition of "old soul" songs, but Whitney Houston has failed to give it a new twist that would successfully make the old stunningly new again.". He also gave the song 3.5 stars out of five.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

The success of "Million Dollar Bill" in the United States was described as "modest".[14] The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 100 on the issue date September 19, 2009. It dropped out of the chart the following week.[15] This means that the single is Houston's lowest peak on the chart in her career.[16] It fared better on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Million Dollar Bill" spent 30 weeks there, peaking at number 16 on the issue date December 19, 2009.[17] This was Houston's longest run on the chart since her 1999 single "It's Not Right but It's Okay". It was also Houston's highest peak since "Same Script, Different Cast", which was released in 2000.[18] It lasted 12 weeks on the Dance/Club Play Songs chart, topping the chart on November 7, 2009. It brought her total of number-ones on the chart to 13. It is also her longest run and her highest peak on the chart since 2003's "Love That Man".[19] In addition to America, "Million Dollar Bill" also spent five weeks on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, peaking at 62 on September 19, 2009.[20]

"Million Dollar Bill" first appeared on the UK Singles Chart in the week of October 17, 2009, placing at number 12.[21] Going into its third week on October 31, 2009, the song reached number-five in the same week it peaked at number-two on the R&B chart.[22] This made the single Houston's highest position on the chart in over ten years ("My Love Is Your Love", number-two, July 3, 1999).[23] It remained on the chart for 14 consecutive weeks. On January 23, 2010, it re-entered the chart at #95 due to sales and airplay, then dropped out the next week.[24] This 15-week chart run was Houston's longest run since 1999's "It's Not Right but It's Okay", also 15 weeks.[25] The song re-entered on the week of February 25, 2012, following Houston's death. It charted at number 62.[24] "Million Dollar Bill" entered the UK Top 40 R&B Singles chart at number-seven on October 17, 2009.[26] It went on to last 20 weeks, its last entry dated February 27, 2010 (number 32).[27]

The single charted in other European countries. "Million Dollar Bill" entered the Irish Singles Chart on October 8, 2009 at number 45.[28] After four weeks on the chart, it peaked at number-eight.[29] It spent ten weeks on the Irish charts.[30] Released as a double A-side in Germany with "I Look to You",[31] It spent eight weeks on their singles chart (October 19 – December 13, 2009). It peaked at 41. It's her longest run in Germany since 1999's "I Learned from the Best" and her highest position since 1993's "I Have Nothing".[32] It also spent five weeks on the Dutch Single Top 100, peaking on September 12, 2009 at number 58. It's her longest run in the Netherlands since 2003's "One of Those Days" and her highest position since 2002's "Whatchulookinat".[33] "Million Dollar Bill" debuted on the Swiss Singles Top 75 at number 40 and remained in the chart for two weeks after (September 13–27, 2009).[34] In Sweden, it entered the Singles Top 60 at number 22. It steadily fell for the next four weeks. It was Houston's highest position there since 2000's "Could I Have This Kiss Forever".[35] The single placed on Belgium's charts as well. It lasted on Ultratip Flanders for five weeks, peaking at number-six; additionally, it lasted on Ultratip Wallonia for seven weeks, peaking at number-three.[36][37] "Million Dollar Bill" lasted one week and two weeks in Finland (peaked at number 18) and Italy (peaked at number 15) respectively.[38][39]

The track also made appearances on "end-of-year" charts as well. In the United Kingdom, the song finished 2009 on the year-end singles chart at number 90.[40] In America, "Million Dollar Bill" placed in two charts from two different years. It landed at number 25 for the Dance/Club Play Songs in 2009.[41] A year later, it placed at 81 for the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[42]

Music video[edit]

Houston in the music video for "Million Dollar Bill" dancing as dollar bills fall around her alluding to the theme of the song.

The music video for 'Million Dollar Bill' was directed by Melina Matsoukas (who directed the music video for Houston's previous song "I Look to You"), known for working with artists such as Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Ciara.[43] It premiered on Houston's official website on September 16, 2009.[44]

The video features Whitney Houston entering a dry cleaners and making her way through a kitchen wearing a fur coat. On exiting the kitchen, the music begins, and she walks into a night club with her then removing her coat and singing on a small stage. Throughout the video Whitney is seen in a metallic dress and knee high boots, and as the video progresses she is then seen in a pink dress with cuts to girls in the bathroom touching up their make-up. Just over half the way through the video she is seen in a full-length silver dress supporting a straightened bob. The video ends with Whitney walking away in the silver dress with dollar bills blowing around.

Rap-Up.Com said Houston is looking a million bucks in the high priced music video for "Million Dollar Bill".[43]

Track listing[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s)
United States[1] August 18, 2009 (2009-08-18) Airplay, digital download[53] Arista Records
Germany[54] Digital download Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom[2] RCA Records, Arista
Germany[55] October 2, 2009 Double A-side single Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom October 5, 2009 (2009-10-05)[12] CD single, iTunes download RCA Records, Arista
UK & US November 6, 2009[47] Album remixes (Digital, EP 1) RCA / Arista Records
November 10, 2009[56] Single remixes (Digital, EP 2)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". FMQB. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Million Dollar Bill: Whitney Houston: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Million Dollar Bill Songfacts". Songfacts.com. April 27, 2007. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b http://www.mtv.com/news/1617049/whitney-houston-talks-hooking-up-with-akon-alicia-keys/
  5. ^ http://www.mtv.com/news/1616755/swizz-beatz-so-excited-to-work-with-whitney-houston-alicia-keys/
  6. ^ Sam-Daliri, Nadia (October 8, 2009). "Whitney Houston will perform on X Factor". London: TheSun.co.uk. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill Sheet Music (Digital Download)". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Music Publishing. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ "allmusic (((I Look to You > Overview )))". Allmusic.com. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Whitney Houston Returns: Diva Debuts "I Look to You" in New York". Rollingstone Magazine. March 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Whitney Houston Debuts I Look To You At NYC Listening Party". MTV. July 21, 2009. 
  11. ^ "My preview of the new Whitney Houston album - Dean Piper - Celebs - Mirror.co.uk". Daily Mirror. Piper, Dean. 19-07-09. Retrieved 07-02-14.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  12. ^ a b "Music - The Sound - So, this new Whitney Houston single...". Digital Spy. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Whitney Houston - Million Dollar Bill - Review - About.com". Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  14. ^ Jones, Steve; Gundersen, Edna; della Cava, Marco; Gardner, Elysa (February 11, 2012). "Whitney Houston, musical superstar, dies". USA Today. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Whitney Houston. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  16. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History (Billboard Hot 100)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
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  19. ^ a b "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Whitney Houston. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
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  27. ^ "2010 Top 40 R&B Singles Archive: 27th February 2010". The Official UK Charts Company. February 27, 2010. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 8 October 2009". GfK Chart Track. IRMA. October 8, 2009. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "Chart Track: Week 44, 2009". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  30. ^ "Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 10 December 2009". GfK Chart Track. IRMA. October 29, 2009. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  31. ^ (Release Notes) "I Look to You"/"Million Dollar Bill" Whitney Houston. RCA/Jive Label Group. 2009. Back cover. 88697 60047 2. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012 (JPG).
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  44. ^ Česká republika. "Whitney Houston Videos & Photos History | The Official Whitney Houston Site". Whitneyhouston.com. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
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  46. ^ "Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill". Discogs. 
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  53. ^ "Million Dollar Bill: Whitney Houston: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved August 30, 2009. 
  54. ^ "Million Dollar Bill: Whitney Houston: Amazon.de: MP3-Downloads". Amazon.de. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  55. ^ "I Look to You/Million Dollar Bill: Whitney Houston: Amazon.de: Musik". Amazon.de. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  56. ^ "Amazon.com: Million Dollar Bill Remixes: Whitney Houston: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 8, 2010.