Black Velvet (song)
|Single by Alannah Myles|
|from the album Alannah Myles|
|B-side||"If You Want To"|
|Released||July 26, 1989 (Canada)
December 17, 1989 (U.S.)
February 26, 1990 (UK)
|Format||CD maxi, 7" single, 12" maxi|
|Recorded||October 18, 1988|
|Writer(s)||David Tyson, Christopher Ward|
|Alannah Myles singles chronology|
"Black Velvet" is a blues verse with a rock chorus written by Canadian songwriters Christopher Ward and David Tyson, recorded by Canadian singer songwriter Alannah Myles. It was released in December 1989 as one of four singles from Myles' 1989 eponymous CD from Atlantic Records. It became a number one hit for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1990 and reached number one on the Album Rock Tracks chart, as well as number ten in her native Canada and number two on the UK Singles Chart.
Myles won the 1990 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist for the song and the 1990 Juno Award for Single of the Year. Since its release, the song has received substantial airplay, receiving a "Millionaire Award" from ASCAP in 2005 for more than four million radio plays.
Background and writing
The song is a paean to Elvis Presley. Co-writer Christopher Ward, who was Myles' then-boyfriend, was inspired on a bus full of Elvis fans riding to Memphis attending the 10th anniversary vigil at Graceland, in 1987. Upon his return to Canada, he brought his idea to Alannah and producer David Tyson, who wrote the chords for the bridge. The song was one of three in a demo Myles presented to Atlantic Records which eventually got her signed to the label.
Atlantic Records, much to the disappointment of Myles, for whom the song had been written, gave the song for country artist Robin Lee to record. In the USA, Myles' version was released in December 1989, while Lee's version was released two months later, in February 1990. This led to Myles being promoted by Atlantic on the pop and rock radio stations, and Lee on the country radio stations. Lee even filmed a videoclip to the song very similar to Myles' video.
Myles released a new version of the song on a digitally-released Elvis tribute EP to commemorate the 30 years since his death in August 2007. It was later included on her 2008 Black Velvet CD.
The music video, directed by Doug Freel, was partially shot in Myles' family ranch in Buckhorn, Ontario. Myles is seen singing at a cabin porch with her guitarist, intercut with scenes from Myles in concert with her band.
Release and reception
Released as Myles' second single off her debut album, it was first released in Myles' native Canada in July 1989, peaking at #10 in September of that year, becoming her first of four top 10 hits in her homeland. Worldwide, it was released as Myles' debut single. It was released in the USA in December 1989, and worldwide in early 1990, becoming a top 10 hit in most countries where it was released, and peaking at #1 in four countries: The USA, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, receiving Gold and Platinum discs in several countries.
Charts and sales
"Escapade" by Janet Jackson
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
March 24, 1990 – March 31, 1990
"Love Will Lead You Back" by Taylor Dayne
"Vogue" by Madonna
|Norwegian VG-Lista number-one single
"Om" by Niklas Strömstedt
|Swedish number-one single
May 23, 1990 – June 6, 1990
"It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette
"The Power" by Snap!
|Swiss number-one single
June 3, 1990 – June 24, 1990
"Un'estate italiana" by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini
|Single by Robin Lee|
|from the album Black Velvet|
|Length||4:43 (album version)|
|Writer(s)||David Tyson, Christopher Ward|
|Robin Lee singles chronology|
Country music artist Robin Lee, also signed to Atlantic at the time, covered "Black Velvet" in 1990 on her third studio album, also titled Black Velvet. Lee's version peaked at No. 12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart.
"Black Velvet" has also been recorded by Valentina Gautier (as "Hey tu" Italian), Gee Gee & Soluna featuring Soluna Samay, Bert Heerink (as "Rocksterren" Dutch), Vicky Rosti (as "Yön helmaan" Finnish), Jackie Thomas, and Sandi Thom.
"Black Velvet" was also roughed up and recorded by Canadian Rock artist Kami and released on her single "Death Toll Rising" on January 2013. And also by the group The Lost Fingers "Lost in the 80s" 2008.
Chart performance/ Robin Lee version
|Canada Country Tracks (RPM)||21|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||12|
In popular culture
- The song appears on the video games Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore, Lips: Party Classics and Grand Theft Auto V in addition to an episode of New Girl.
- The chorus of the song is sung by Charlotte Ritchie on the TV show Fresh Meat.
- "Alannah Myles – About". Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Australian-charts.com – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
- "Austriancharts.at – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
- "Ultratop.be – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "Top Singles – Volume 50, No. 22, September 25, 1989". RPM. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
- "Danishcharts.com – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". Tracklisten.
- "Lescharts.com – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet" (in French). Les classement single.
- "Musicline.de – Myles,Alannah Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 20, 1990" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "Charts.org.nz – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". Top 40 Singles.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". VG-lista.
- "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". Singles Top 100.
- "Swisscharts.com – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". Swiss Singles Chart.
- "21, 1990/ Archive Chart: April 21, 1990" UK Singles Chart.
- "Alannah Myles – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Alannah Myles.
- "Alannah Myles – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Alannah Myles.
- "Mainstream Rock: Feb 17, 1990". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- 1990 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved July 29, 2008)
- 1990 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved July 29, 2008)
- 1989 Canadian Singles Chart  (Retrieved February 6, 2016)
- "Single top 100 over 1990" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
- 1990 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved July 29, 2008)
- "Billboard Top 100 – 1990". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "Austrian single certifications – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Alannah Myles in the field Interpret. Enter Black Velvet in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Alannah Myles; 'Black Velvet')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
- "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
- "British single certifications – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Black Velvet in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
- "American single certifications – Alannah Myles – Black Velvet". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
- Black Velvet (CD liner notes). Robin Lee. Atlantic Records. 1990. 82085-2.
- Anke - Tribute to the Great Female Vocalists Retrieved 10 January 2014
- OBRA AND THE LOTUS Premiere Sexy "Black Velvet" Video
- "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 1249." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. June 2, 1990. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Fresh Meat Series 2 Episode 7". Channel 4. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
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