Millennium (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Robbie Williams Millennium cover.png
Single by Robbie Williams
from the album I've Been Expecting You
Released7 September 1998
Length4:07 (album version)
3:46 (radio edit)
Robbie Williams singles chronology
"Let Me Entertain You"
"No Regrets"
Music video
"Millennium" on YouTube

"Millennium" is a song recorded by English singer Robbie Williams for his second studio album I've Been Expecting You (1998). In September 1998, it was released as the first track from the album and became Williams' first single to top the UK Singles Chart. The song also received extensive airplay in the United States and Canada, where it was the lead single from Williams' 1999 compilation album, The Ego Has Landed.

The song borrows heavily from the musical arrangement of John Barry's "You Only Live Twice", the title track of the 1967 James Bond film, said to be one of Williams' favourite James Bond movies.[1] However, it is a re-recording in a slightly different key instead of a direct sample for reasons of cost.[2]

Recording and composing[edit]

The song that would become "Millennium" started being written in 1997. Once producers Steve Power and Guy Chambers heard Williams' demo, which already had a sample of "You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra, they found potential for a single given it showed a different sound from Williams' debut album Life thru a Lens. As Power explained: "It had the more programming-based feel that we wanted to introduce on the second album in order to get away from the guitar-based feel of the first album, and it already had the chorus hook, the Bond theme sample, on the demo version, which I remember mixing before last Christmas." The lyrics were mostly done, although Chambers felt it lacked "an obvious title for the track", and suggested "Millennium" for being "both strong and topical". Then Chambers asked for a "football chant", which only had a melody before Williams came up with "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough'." The whole writing process took about four hours, and Chambers described "Millennium" as "the simplest song Robbie and I have ever written - only two chords. And it's written in D flat major, which is very unusual in pop music."[2]

Writing and pre-production was done at Blah Street Studios in Hampshire. Trident Studios in London was used for the majority of the recordings, including drums, bass and samples for the backing track, and the backing vocals, which included three female session singers and male vocals by Williams' guitarist Gary Nuttall. Williams' vocals were done at Jacobs Studios in Surrey.[2]

Williams suggested using a sample only accompanied by a hip-hop beat. Guy Chambers found a beat by speeding the sample up. The record label, Chrysalis Records, discovered that a new recording would cost only one tenth of the licensing fee that would be required to sample "You Only Live Twice", so they asked for a new string section that still acted as a recognisable pastiche of the song. Nick Ingman arranged the orchestra, which according to Power "was in the wrong key for 'Millennium', although we did want it to sound like the original sample in the choruses and we did refer to John Barry's original score for that", and conducted a 26-piece string section, plus harp and four French horns, at Angel Recording Studios in Islington to the programmed backing track, with a guide vocal over the top.[2]

Power said the song used most of the 48 tracks offered by the multitrack tape: "We had about six tracks of backing vocals, and nine tracks for the strings. Then there were the programmed tracks; and when you get into programming, you'll layer about four kick drums to tape! For speed, and to keep the creative flow going, we put them all down to separate tracks rather than spend time deciding which one we wanted loudest when recording. So we had a lot of independent outs from the programmed backing track onto separate multitrack channels, like the programmed percussion and sampled noises. Then there were the unused scratching tracks, and the live percussion - all in all, I think we filled maybe 36 or 38 tracks in total."[2]

Music video[edit]

The tongue-in-cheek video for "Millennium", directed by Vaughan Arnell, features Williams parodying James Bond, complete with dinner jacket and references to Bond films like Thunderball and From Russia with Love.[3] The video was filmed at Pinewood Studios, home to most Bond productions. During the video, Williams travels in an aeroplane and comically fails to fly a futuristic jet pack. He is also seen flirting with girls in an over-the-top manner and caricaturing the facial expressions of Sean Connery. He is seen in a boat, clearly a studio model, against an obviously projected background characteristic of 1960s Bond films. During the end of the video, Williams drives away in an economy car, a fittingly chosen Bond Bug, instead of 007's Aston Martin DB5, which later drives past him while he is having car trouble.[4] Former model Lorraine Pascale appears in the video as a 'Bond Girl'.[5]

At the 1999 Brit Awards, "Millennium" won the award for British Video of the Year.

Chart performance[edit]

The song became Williams' first number-one single in the United Kingdom, shipping over 400,000 copies and being certified Gold by the BPI. The song also became an international success; it managed to break into the Top 40 around the world. It also became Williams' first song to chart inside the US Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in 1999. While neither "Millennium" nor "Angels" (the song chosen as his second single in the United States) charted in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, it did chart at number 20 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart.

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Millennium".

(Released 7 September 1998)

  1. "Millennium" – 4:07
  2. "Love Cheat" (demo version) – 3:46
  3. "Rome Munich Rome" (demo version) – 3:05

(Released 7 September 1998)

  1. "Millennium" – 4:07
  2. "Lazy Days" (original version) – 4:29
  3. "Angels" (live version) – 5:38

European CD Maxi
(Released 7 September 1998)

  1. "Millennium" – 4:07
  2. "Love Cheat" (demo version) – 3:46
  3. "Rome Munich Rome" (demo version) – 3:05
  4. "Angels" (live version) – 5:38

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ "Robbie Williams's Millenium sample of John Barry feat. Nancy Sinatra's You Only Live Twice". WhoSampled. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "GUY CHAMBERS & STEVE POWER: Recording Robbie Williams' 'Millennium'". Archived from the original on 2 January 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Millennium: Music Video". Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Liz Hoggard (11 February 2011). "Baking hot with new BBC chef, Lorraine Pascale". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  6. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  8. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 8117." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 8384." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  12. ^ "Billboard – Google Books". 3 October 1998. Retrieved 1 April 2014 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 45. 7 November 1998. p. 16. Retrieved 8 June 2020. See LW column.
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Millennium". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 42. 17 October 1998. p. 12. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 41, 1998" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  19. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium". Top 40 Singles.
  21. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium". VG-lista.
  22. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  23. ^ "Billboard – Google Books". 24 October 1998. Retrieved 1 April 2014 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium". Singles Top 100.
  25. ^ " – Robbie Williams – Millennium". Swiss Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "Robbie Williams: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ "Robbie Williams Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Robbie Williams Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Robbie Williams Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "Rapports annuels 1998" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  31. ^ "Year in Focus – Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 1998" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 51. 19 December 1998. p. 8. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  32. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 100 – Vinsælustu Lögin '98". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1999. p. 34. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  33. ^ "Årslista Singlar – År 1998" (in Swedish). Hitlistan. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  34. ^ "Best Sellers of 1998 – Singles Top 100". Music Week. 16 January 1999. p. 7.
  35. ^ "RPM 1999 Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  36. ^ "RPM 1999 Top 100 Adult Contemporary". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  37. ^ Ainsley, Helen (19 March 2019). "Hit producer Guy Chambers announces debut album: his biggest Official Chart hits with Robbie Williams revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  38. ^ "British single certifications – Robbie Williams – Millennium". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Millennium in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.