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Believe (Cher song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Believe"
Cher-believe-cover.JPG
Single by Cher
from the album Believe
B-side"Believe" (Xenomania Mix)
ReleasedOctober 19, 1998 (1998-10-19)
Format
RecordedAugust 1998
StudioDreamhouse Studios, London, United Kingdom
GenreDance-pop
Length3:59
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Cher singles chronology
"Paradise Is Here"
(1996)
"Believe"
(1998)
"Strong Enough"
(1999)
Music video
"Believe" on YouTube

"Believe" is a song recorded by the American singer Cher for her twenty-second album, Believe (1998), released by Warner Bros. Records. It was released as the lead single from the album on October 19, 1998. It was written by Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, Matthew Gray and Timothy Powell ,[1] Cher had also written part.,[2] and was produced by Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling.

"Believe" departed from Cher's pop rock style of the time for an upbeat dance-pop style. It featured a pioneering use of the audio processor software Auto-Tune as a vocal effect, which became known as the "Cher effect". The lyrics describe empowerment and self-sufficiency after a painful breakup.

"Believe" reached number one in countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the United States. It earned Cher a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female solo artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and became the highest-selling single by a solo female artist in the United Kingdom. It is one of the bestselling singles, with sales of over 11 million copies worldwide.[3] Reviewers praised its production and catchiness and named it one of Cher's most important releases. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and won Best Dance Recording.

The music video, directed by Nigel Dick, has Cher performing in a nightclub. Cher has performed the song a number of times, including four of her concert tours, most recently the Here We Go Again Tour in 2018. It has been covered by a number of artists, and has been featured in several elements of popular culture. Scholars and academics noted the way in which Cher was able to re-invent herself and remain fresh and contemporary amidst the more teen pop-based music of the period. They also credited "Believe" for restoring Cher's popularity and cementing her position as a pop culture icon.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    Views:
    9 252 030
    907 455
    175 129
    58 216 388
    227 278
  • Cher Believe with Lyrics
  • Cher - Believe [Official Music Video]
  • Cher- Believe (lyrics) [HD]
  • Ella Henderson's performance - Cher's Believe - The X Factor UK 2012
  • CHER - Believe (live)

Transcription

Contents

Recording

The single incorporates the work of six different songwriters, two producers and executive producer Rob Dickins, the erstwhile chairman of Warner Bros, but according to Mark Taylor the creation of "Believe" was a "strange one."

A demo of "Believe", written by Brian Higgins, Matthew Gray, Stuart McLennen and Timothy Powell, circulated on Warner for months. Producer Mark Taylor said "everyone loved the chorus but not the rest of the song". Warner chairman Rob Dickins asked the production house Dreamhouse to work on the song. Taylor said their goal was to make a Cher dance record without alienating her fans.[4] According to Taylor, "Two of our writers, Steve Torch and Paul Barry, got involved and eventually came up with a complete song that Rob and Cher were happy with."[4]

Though she is not credited as a songwriter,[5] Cher said she contributed some lyrics: "I was singing [the song] in the bathtub, and it seemed to me the second verse was too whiny. It kind of pissed me off, so I changed it. I toughened it up a bit. I wrote the lyrics, 'It takes time to move on, it takes love to be strong / I've had time to think it through and maybe I'm too good for you.'"[2]

The track was assembled with Cubase VST on an iMac G3 computer, with synthesizers including a Clavia Nord Rack and an Oberheim Matrix 1000, while Cher's vocals were recorded on three TASCAM DA88 digital audio recorders with a Neumann U67 vacuum tube-amplified microphone.[4] The song was recorded approximately in ten days in Surrey, United Kingdom.

Auto-Tune

Cher's voice is altered by a pitch correction speed that is "set too fast for the audio that it is processing."[4] Producer Mark Taylor added the effect to Cher's vocal simply as a kind of mischievous experiment. In interviews at the time, he claimed to be testing out his recently purchased DigiTech Talker.[4] It later emerged that the effect was not created by a vocoder, but by using extreme (and then-unheard-of) settings on Antares Auto-Tune.[4]

Taylor said about the effect that "this was the most nerve-wracking part of the project, because I wasn't sure what Cher would say when she heard what I'd done to her voice", but that when she heard it she said, "It sounds great."[4] When her record company requested that the effect be removed, she responded, "Over my dead body!"[6] After the success of the song, use of Auto-Tune became very popular and many other artists imitated this technique, and it would eventually become known as the "Cher effect".[7]

Composition

"Believe" is a dance-pop song.[8] The song contains uncredited samples; it uses samples of "Prologue" & "Epilogue" performed by Electric Light Orchestra.[9]

It is recorded in the key of F major with a tempo of 133 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of F–C–Gm–B–F–Am7–Gm–Dm, and Cher's vocals span from F3 to C5.[10]

Critical reception

Billboard gave the song a positive review, saying that the song is "the best darn thing that Cher has recorded in years".[11] AllMusic editor Michael Gallucci gave a lukewarm review, writing that the Believe album is an "endless, and personality-free, thump session".[12] Joe Viglione called the song "pop masterpiece, one of the few songs to be able to break through the impenetrable wall of late 1990's fragmented radio to permeate the consciousness of the world at large."[13]

Entertainment Weekly called this song "poptronica glaze, the soon-to-be club fave..." and called Cher's voice "unmistakable."[14] Robert Christgau highlighted "Believe" as the best song on the album.[15] Damon Albarn, frontman of the bands Blur and Gorillaz, called the song "brilliant".[16] It was voted as the world's eighth favourite song in a poll released by BBC.[4][17][18]

Chart performance

Cher performing "Believe" on the WKTU's "Miracle on 34th Street" show in New York City on December 11, 1998.
Cher performing "Believe" on the WKTU's "Miracle on 34th Street" show in New York City on December 11, 1998.

The song, recorded and released in 1998, peaked at number one in 23 countries worldwide.[19] On January 23, 1999, it reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one on the chart on March 13, making Cher the oldest female artist (at the age of 52) to perform this feat.[20] Cher also set the record for a solo artist with the longest span of time between number one hits, since "Dark Lady" reached number one in 1974. She also set a mark for longest gap after her first number one song "I Got You Babe" released in 1965 with her then-husband Sonny Bono, and beat the record held by former The Beatles' lead guitarist, George Harrison, who first hit the top of the charts in 1964 with The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and almost 24 years he had his last number-one song, "Got My Mind Set on You". "Believe" also was ranked as the number-one song of 1999 by "Billboard" on both the "Billboard" Hot 100 and Hot Dance Club Play charts and became the biggest single in her entire career.

In the United Kingdom, "Believe" spent seven weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart,[21] becoming Britain's biggest-selling single of 1998, and won its writers three Ivor Novello Awards (for Best Selling UK Single, for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, and for International Hit of the Year) at the 1999 ceremony.[1] On 1 August 2014, "Believe" became the first female solo single to be certified Triple Platinum in the United Kingdom for selling 1,800,000 copies.[citation needed] As of October 2017, the song has sold 1,830,000 copies in the UK, making it the biggest selling song by a woman there.[22]

The success of the song not only expanded through each country's singles chart, but also most countries' dance charts. In the United States "Believe" spent 23 weeks on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart, five of those weeks at #1, and 22 weeks on the European Hot Dance Charts. "Believe" also set a record in 1999 after spending 21 weeks in the top spot of the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, it was still in the top ten even one year after its entry on the chart.[23] On 13 October 2008, the song was voted #10 on Australian VH1's Top 10 Number One Pop Songs countdown. "Believe" was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Dance Recording at 42nd Grammy Awards, the latter of which it won.[24][25]

Music video

Cher performing "Believe" on the Dressed to Kill Tour in 2014.
Cher performing "Believe" on the Dressed to Kill Tour in 2014.

The official music video for "Believe", directed by Nigel Dick, features Cher in a nightclub in a double role as a singer on stage while wearing a glowing headdress and as a supernatural being in a cage (with auto-tuned voice) surrounded by many people to whom she is giving advice. The video largely revolves around a woman who is in the club looking for her boyfriend and is heartbroken when she sees him with another woman. The version on The Very Best of Cher: The Video Hits Collection is slightly different from the previous version (the version that is also included on the Mallay Believe Bonus VCD) with additional scenes towards the end that were not in the original video. There are also two 'rough' versions of the video as the song was released in the UK and Europe before a video was completed. The first is a compilation of scenes from the videos of Cher's previous singles "One by One" and "Walking in Memphis" and the second includes a brief scene of the Believe video where Cher sings the chorus while the rest of the video is composed of scenes from "One by One".

Three official remix videos exist for this song. Two of the remix videos were created by Dan-O-Rama in 1999. Both follow different concepts from the original unmixed video. Instead of showing the significance of the lyrics the videos mostly show Cher with different colored backgrounds and people dancing. The two remixes used for these videos were the Almighty Definitive Mix and the Club 69 Phunk Club Mix. The third video entitled Wayne G. Remix was released by Warner Bros. and the concept is similar to the Club 69 Phunk Club Mix video.

Live performances

Cher performed the song during the Do You Believe? Tour, The Farewell Tour, Cher at the Colosseum and the Dressed to Kill Tour. While she would lip-sync the entire song on various television programs, she would only lip-sync the synthesized verses when performing on her Believe and Farewell tours, the Colosseum shows and on the 2002 edition of VH1 Divas Live. Since 1999, the song has been the encore to all of Cher's concerts until her 2014 Dressed to Kill Tour, where the encore is the ballad "I Hope You Find It", a second single from her 25th studio album Closer to the Truth.[26] It returned as the encore at her Classic Cher (2017-2018) shows and stayed in that place for the Here We Go Again Tour (2018-2019) as well.

Impact and legacy

VH1 placed "Believe" at #60 in their list of 100 Greatest Dance Songs in 2000[27] and at #74 in their list of 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's in 2007.[28]

In popular culture

It was featured in an episode of BBC's Top Gear where James May had to chauffeur a Cher impersonator. It was parodied in the season 3 South Park episode, "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub". It was featured repeatedly in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Living Conditions when Buffy's roommate plays it on repeat while ironing her jeans, driving Buffy crazy. It was also featured in an episode of Friends, "The One with Chandler's Dad" in the seventh season during a montage of Las Vegas and also in an episode of Sex and The City, "Evolution".

A cover by Correatown was used in Grey's Anatomy season 12, episode 4.

In 2012 Ella Henderson performed an acoustic piano rendition of the song during the bootcamp stage of the ninth series of The X Factor UK earning praise from all judges and reducing Nicole Scherzinger to tears. A similar version was included on the iTunes deluxe version of Ella's album Chapter One.

On December 7, 2015, Jeffery Austin performed a stripped down, slower version of the song during the Top 9 live semifinals of The Voice.

In October 2016 Australian indie group DMA's recorded an acoustic cover of "Believe" for Triple J's Like a Version program, which would later go on to be voted in at Number 6 in Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2016.[29][30]

Track listing

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Believe album liner notes.

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[104] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[105] Platinum 50,000*
Belgium (BEA)[106] 3× Platinum 150,000*
France (SNEP)[107] Diamond 764,000[108]
Germany (BVMI)[109] 5× Gold 1,250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[110] Platinum 75,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[111] Gold 5,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[112] 2× Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (GLF)[113] 3× Platinum 90,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[114] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[115] 3× Platinum 2,040,000[116]
United States (RIAA)[117] Platinum 1,800,000 (physical)[118]
375,000 (digital)[119]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also

References

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  110. ^ "Dutch single  certifications – Cher – Believe" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Believe in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  111. ^ "New Zealand single  certifications – Cher – Believe". Recorded Music NZ.
  112. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  113. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  114. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Cher; 'Believe')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  115. ^ "British single  certifications – Cher – Believe". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Believe in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  116. ^ Copsey, Rob (October 25, 2018). "Official Charts Flashback 1998: Cher's Believe". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  117. ^ "American single  certifications – Cher – Believe". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  118. ^ "Billboard Vol. 112, No. 6". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media: 20. February 5, 2000. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  119. ^ "Ask Billboard: Cher Information, Yes?". Billboard. May 11, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2012.

External links

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