from the album Alannah Myles (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15
Today's song of the day comes from Canadian rock artist Alannah Myles, who changed her surname from Byles (her dad's a radio biggie in the country) before embarking on a music career, recording demos and commercials before releasing her debut album in 1989. While in her native country the single "Love Is" was released first, in the States her homage to the "King", "Black Velvet", written by producer David Tyson and boyfriend Christopher Ward, had the aura of Elvis infused into a love interest Alannah sings about with a strut that gives us blues with a bit more sensuality, and it was a sign of what was to come in the next decade when a song eschewing the new wave synths and freestyle groove was going to the top of the charts.
"Black Velvet" became Alannah's first hit in America and sole #1 pop single in March of 1990. The song spent two weeks atop Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, while also crossing over to #7 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") list. Internationally, the record went to #1 in Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, got to #2 in the UK, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, and Belgium, and top ten in Australia (#3), the Netherlands (#3), Ireland (#4), and her native Canada (#10). The following year, "Black Velvet" won Myles a Grammy award for Best Rock Vocal as well as a Juno Award in Canada for "Single of the Year".
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Concurrent with Alannah's version, country singer Robin Lee put out the song as a single, which climbed to #12 on Billboards Country Singles chart...
Here's Alannah performing live in concert in 1989...
...and finally, on a more recent TV appearance where she takes the song in a different direction...
Up tomorrow: Big-voiced dance diva gives some romantic directions.