Possession (Sarah McLachlan song)

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Canadian edition (Nettwerk)
Single by Sarah McLachlan
from the album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
Released September 10, 1993
Format CD single
Genre Pop
Length 4:37
Label Nettwerk (Canada)
Arista (US)
Writer(s) Sarah McLachlan
Producer(s) Pierre Marchand
Sarah McLachlan singles chronology
"Drawn to the Rhythm"
"I Will Remember You"
Music sample

Possession is the first single from Sarah McLachlan's album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. It was released in Canada on 10 September 1993 by Nettwerk Records.

The song appears twice on the album as the first track and as a hidden track: a solo piano version following the last track "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy."


In 1994 McLachlan was sued by Uwe Vandrei, an obsessed fan from Ottawa, Ontario who alleged that his love letters to her had been the basis of "Possession". Vandrei's lawsuit never came to trial as he committed suicide in autumn 1994.[1]

In an interview with Rolling Stone three years later, McLachlan said, "And this one person wasn't the only guy ... there were a lot of letters from other people saying the same kind of thing ... Writing the song 'Possession' was very therapeutic."[2]

Music videos[edit]

Canadian version[edit]

The original version of the video features a remixed background track and depicts Sarah McLachlan wrapped in white cloth, as Eve, as Potiphar's wife, and other such biblical references, depicting vanity, deceit, corruption, intimacy and other taboos of conservative society. As McLachlan explained, "Oh it's so lofty, it's pompous now. I was trying to dispel that by showing a bunch of female archetypes using historical paintings, ‘Venus’, ‘Adam and Eve’, ‘Salome's Last Dance’. I wanted to show all women possessing all these different archetypes. I also had myself suspended in the air and wrapped in gauze, as if my personality and my sexuality were bound. Throughout the video I was being unraveled by unseen forces, and I came out in end strong and free and - Ta Da! - there I was my own self. Yes, it was pretty lofty [...] and the label told me..."[3] The video was directed by McLachlan herself, and features her friends and band members.

US version[edit]

The video for the US market released in 1994 features the original album version of the song being played by McLachlan and her band in a cathedral-style hall. It was directed by Julie Hermelin.


Nettwerk / W2-6319 (Canada)
  1. "Possession" (Version I)
  2. "Possession" (Version II)
  3. "Fear" (Jane's Mix)
Arista / 07822-12662-2 (US)
  1. "Possession"
  2. "Fear" (Jane's Mix)
  3. "Mary" (Early Version)
  4. "Black" (Live at Harbourfront, Toronto), taken from Live EP

Other versions[edit]

In addition to the two different versions of "Possession" appearing on the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy album, a live recording of the song is available on McLachlan's live concert album Mirrorball. A fourth version, the Rabbit in the Moon remix, is available on two different McLachlan remix albums: Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff and Remixed.

Another version was recently recorded exclusively for iTunes.

Cover versions[edit]

Canadian alternative rock band Evans Blue covered this song on their first album The Melody and the Energetic Nature of Volume. Smile Empty Soul also has a cover of the song on their album B-Sides. The German gothic novel rock band ASP covered this song on their EP Werben.


  1. ^ Hrynyshyn, James (18 January 1995). "Object of Obsession". Ottawa X Press. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Silberger, Kathy (25 December 1997). "I think the success of Lilith got rid of some of that old-school, pig-dog mentality". Rolling Stones. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  3. ^ As quoted in Scene (April 1994).

External links[edit]