White Ladder

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White Ladder
White Ladder.jpg
Studio album by David Gray
Released November 1998
(See release history)
Recorded 1997
Genre Folk rock, folktronica
Length 52:37
Label iht, ATO/RCA, East West
Producer David Gray, Iestyn Polson, Craig McClune
David Gray chronology
Sell, Sell, Sell
(1996)
White Ladder
(1998)
Lost Songs 95–98
(2001)
Singles from White Ladder
  1. "This Year's Love"
    Released: 8 March 1999
  2. "Babylon"
    Released: 12 July 1999
  3. "Please Forgive Me"
    Released: 22 November 1999
  4. "Babylon"
    Released: 12 June 2000 (re-issue)
  5. "Please Forgive Me"
    Released: 16 October 2000 (re-issue)
  6. "This Year's Love"
    Released: 5 March 2001 (re-issue)
  7. "Sail Away"
    Released: 16 July 2001
  8. "Say Hello Wave Goodbye"
    Released: 17 December 2001

White Ladder is the fourth studio album by English folk singer-songwriter David Gray. It was first released in November 1998 through Gray's own record label, IHT Records, but failed to chart. On 1 May 2000, the album was re-released by Dave Matthews' label ATO Records and debuted at number 69 on the UK Albums Chart, before climbing to number one on 5 August 2001, more than a year later. White Ladder produced five singles, including the hit "Babylon", which ignited interest in the album and shot Gray to worldwide fame. Other singles released from the album were "This Year's Love", "Please Forgive Me", "Sail Away" and Say Hello Wave Goodbye".

White Ladder spent almost three consecutive years in the UK top 100, charting between May 2000 and March 2003. Its total charting time as of 2015 is 175 weeks, making it one of the longest-charting albums in UK chart history. It was massively successful in Ireland, where it spent six consecutive weeks at number one on the Irish Albums Chart and had sold 350,000 copies by 2002. It is currently the biggest selling album of all time in Ireland.[1] White Ladder was the fifth best-selling album of the 2000s in the UK, selling 2.9 million copies.[2] As of June 2015, White Ladder has sold over 3 million copies is the UK, making it the eighth best-selling album of the 21st century,[3] and over 7 million copies worldwide.[1]

Background[edit]

White Ladder was self-financed and was recorded in Gray's London apartment.[4][1] To support the album, Gray toured the United States with the Dave Matthews Band, whose lead singer Dave Matthews released White Ladder in the United States on his label ATO in 2000 as the label's first release.[5] Following the album's success, he toured the US and UK extensively between 2000–01 to promote the album.[6][7]

A hidden track, "Through to Myself", can be found in the pregap of the original 1998 IHT Records release (by rewinding from the start of "Please Forgive Me").[8] The US CD release does not include the secret track, but instead includes the audio bonus track "Babylon II", as well as an enhanced section which includes a mini-documentary with a live performance of "Babylon", a brief biography and web links.[9] The Japanese release includes the bonus track "Over My Head", which also appears as a B-side on the 1999 "Babylon" single.[10]

The cover of "Say Hello Wave Goodbye", originally by Soft Cell, features additional lines from the Van Morrison songs, "Madame George" and "Into the Mystic".

Commercial reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[11]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[12]
NME (6/10)[13]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[14]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[15]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[16]
The Observer (Positive)[17]

White Ladder was originally released on Gray's own label IHT Records in November 1998.[13] It spent six weeks at number one in Ireland, selling 100,000 copies in that time, making it number one for six weeks.[18] By September 2001, the album had been certified 20× Platinum by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) for sales of over 300,000;[19] it remains the biggest-selling album in Ireland.[20]

It was only after its re-release in May 2000 on ATO Records that the album managed to chart in the UK, debuting at number 69 on the UK Albums Chart. On 5 August 2001, fifteen months after the re-release and almost three years after its original release, it reached number one.[21] White Ladder has spent a total of 175 weeks on the UK Albums Chart.[22] Aside from "Please Forgive Me," which charted at No. 72 on the UK Singles Chart, all other single releases charted within the Top 20:[22] the re-released "Please Forgive Me" charted at No. 18, and "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" and "Sail Away" peaked at No. 26. White Ladder was the UK's fifth best-selling UK album of the 2000s.[23] It had sold 2,940,575 units in the UK by 24 July 2011[24] and hit the 3 million mark in March 2015. As of June 2015, it is the eighth best-selling UK album of the 2000s.[25]

In the United States, the album peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard 200, spending a whole year on the chart.[26] The album earned Gray a nomination in the United States at the 44th Grammy Awards for Best New Artist.[27]

Reflecting on White Ladder's success in 2010, Gray stated: "I still pinch myself when I think about it. That record will be there for ever. It just connected in such a big way with people. [...] It was the period that came after that was difficult. [...] I'm sort of seen as a pop artist. I'm dismissed as slight, I'd say, because of White Ladder."[28]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by David Gray, unless otherwise noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Please Forgive Me"     5:35
2. "Babylon"     4:25
3. "My Oh My"   Gray, McClune 4:37
4. "We're Not Right"   Gray, McClune, Polson 3:03
5. "Nightblindness"     4:23
6. "Silver Lining"     6:00
7. "White Ladder"   Gray, McClune, Polson 4:14
8. "This Year's Love"     4:05
9. "Sail Away"     5:15
10. "Say Hello Wave Goodbye"   Almond, Ball, Morrison 9:03
UK hidden pregap track
No. Title Length
0. "Through to Myself"   1:56
US-only bonus track
No. Title Length
11. "Babylon II"   3:38

Personnel[edit]

  • David Gray – vocals, guitar (1–7, 9–11), piano (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11), keyboards (1, 4, 5, 7, 9)
Additional musicians
  • Craig McClune – drums (1–7, 9–11), vocals (1–7, 9–11), keyboards (1, 4, 5, 7, 9), bass (2, 5, 8, 9, 11)
  • Tim Bradshaw – keyboards on tracks 2, 3, 6, 8 and 10
  • Simon Edwards – bass on tracks 3, 6 and 10
  • Colm Mac Con Iomaire – violin on track 6
  • Terry Edwards – string arrangements on track 11
Technical personnel
  • Iestyn Polson – producer, engineer, programmer
  • Marius de Vries – additional production and programming on "Sail Away"
  • Steve Sidelnyk – additional programming on "Sail Away"
  • Dave Turner – mastering
  • Donal Dineen – photography
  • Phil Knott – photography

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Category no.
United Kingdom November 1998 IHT Records CD IHT CD001
1 May 2000 IHT/EastWest CD (re-issue) 8573-82983-2
United States 21 March 2000 RCA/ATO CD (11 tracks/enhanced) 07863 69351-2
Japan 11 October 2000 EastWest/WEA CD (11 tracks) AMCE-7198

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Casey, Ruairi (26 April 2015). "Cultural Toolbox: David Gray's White Ladder to success". Newstalk. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Noughties' Official UK Albums Chart Top 100". Music Week (London, England: Intent Media): 19. 30 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Moss, Liv (19 March 2015). "Official Biggest Selling Albums of the Millennium so far revealed!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "David Gray". eMusic. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "David Gray". MTV. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "DavidGray.com". DavidGray.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "DavidGray.com". DavidGray.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  8. ^ eeggs.com. "White Ladder (David Gray) Easter Egg – Hidden Track with a Twist". Eeggs.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "David Gray – White Ladder (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "David Gray White Ladder Japan Promo CD ALBUM (222673)". Eil.com. 29 August 2002. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Ikeda, Jaime. "Review: White Ladder". Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  12. ^ Browne, David (15 January 2001). "Review: White Ladder (1999)". Time Inc. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  13. ^ a b "Review: White Ladder". NME. IPC Media. 14 July 2000. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Walters, Barry (12 October 2000). "Review: White Ladder". Jann Wenner. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  15. ^ Med57 (14 January 2005). "Review: David Gray White Ladder". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  16. ^ Sweeting, Adam. "Review: David Gray White Ladder (IHT Records)". The Guardian Review (Guardian Media Group) (14 April 2000): 19. 
  17. ^ Agar, Gordon. "Review: DAVID GRAY White Ladder (IHTCD001)". The Observer Review (Guardian Media Group) (23 April 2000): 9. 
  18. ^ Perrone, Pierre (16 April 2000). "The infinite shades of Gray". The Independent (London). Archived from the original on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  19. ^ Sexton, Paul (22 September 2001). "Hit Single Helps David Gray Raise White Ladder on ATO". Billboard. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  20. ^ "Top 20: The best-selling albums in Irish history". The Daily Edge. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Gray Climbs 'Ladder' To No. 1 In The U.K.". Billboard. 
  22. ^ a b "David Gray". Chartstats. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "James Blunt records the biggest selling album of decade". BBC News. 
  24. ^ "Adele still on top but UK album sales fall to 13-year low". Music Week. Intent Media. 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  25. ^ Copsey, Rob (9 June 2015). "Official Biggest Selling Albums of the decade so far revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "David Gray". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. 
  27. ^ Pareles, Jon (5 January 2016). "U2 Receives 8 Grammy Award Nominations". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  28. ^ Day, Elizabeth (15 August 2010). "David Gray: 'I'm trained to wash up'". The Guardian (London). 
  29. ^ "Australiancharts.com – David Gray – White Ladder". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – David Gray – White Ladder" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  31. ^ "Lescharts.com – David Gray – White Ladder". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  32. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  33. ^ "Charts.org.nz – David Gray – White Ladder". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – David Gray – White Ladder". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  35. ^ "Swisscharts.com – David Gray – White Ladde". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  36. ^ "2001-08-05 Top 40 UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  37. ^ "David Gray – Chart history" Billboard 200 for David Gray. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  38. ^ "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 - 2000". Official Charts Company. 31 December 2000. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  39. ^ "End of Year Album Chart Top 100 - 2001". Official Charts Company. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  40. ^ "Irish album certifications – David Gray – White Ladder". Irish Recorded Music Association. 
  41. ^ "British album certifications – David Gray – White Ladder". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter White Ladder in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  42. ^ "American album certifications – David Gray – White Ladder". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Survivor by Destiny's Child
Right Now by Atomic Kitten
UK number one album
12–18 August 2001
26 August – 1 September 2001
Succeeded by
Right Now by Atomic Kitten
Break the Cycle by Staind