Day 83: Because You Loved Me

Song: “Because You Loved Me” by Céline Dion
Reached #1: March 23, 1996 (her second, 6 weeks)
Previously In This Blog: Day 43

One of her many soundtrack hits

Somehow it figures.  For all the times I’ve called Céline Dion the “Evil Wind of the North”, she turns out to be the first artist that gets two songs featured here.  Her #1 songs have been huge, after all, and she is one of the best-selling artists in both of her languages (French and English) – although if you’ve ever heard her do an interview, those are in some weird third hybrid language – so I guess she deserves it, right?

I’d rather talk about the song, and the movie it was written for, one that may have derailed as far as any project ever did.

If you’re old enough, you remember Jessica Savitch – the NBC News anchor who was supposed to be the future of the network.  Blonde, attractive… and, unfortunately, deeply troubled.  She had a legendary (and reportedly drug-fueled) meltdown on-air doing an update segment (you can find it on YouTube), and died in a car accident three weeks later at age 36. 

Of course, there was a book about her meteoric rise, and tragic fall.  The book, Golden Girl, was optioned for a movie.  And then, it all went awry.

The producers of “Up Close And Personal” felt that telling the true story of Savitch’s inability to handle fame, her drug use, and her long and abusive relationship with news director Ron Kershaw, was a “downer”.  So they took the relationship with Kershaw, cleaned it up, gave it a inverted ending (the Kershaw surrogate [Robert Redford] died covering a foreign war, and the Savitch surrogate [Michelle Pfieffer] got the network anchor position Savitch never did), and had Diane Warren write the theme song.   So instead of the real story (which probably would have been produced if the movie were made in 2012 instead of 1996), we got the Livetime Movie Network version, and a #1 hit for Céline Dion.

If you get a chance, check out the live version of this song on VEVO.  If you want to see a small sample of Dion’s eccentricity, it’s worth a look – she comes off as a crazy cat lady with a booming singing voice…

Tomorrow, a one-hit wonder who got there the old-fashioned way – an iconic first single she could never match…

Other songs that hit #1 on March 23:
1963 –
“Our Day Will Come” by Ruby and the Romantics (their first, 1 week)
1974 – “Dark Lady” by Cher (her third, 1 week)
1991 – “One More Try” by Timmy T (his first, 1 week)

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