Day 84: Black Velvet

Song: “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles
Reached #1: March 24, 1990 (her first, 2 weeks)

Black Velvet in that little boy’s smile…

There are some who believe that one should start your career strong – do something big at the start to set the tone.  Others feel you shouldn’t blow everything too early, so that you have a long and profitable career.

Alannah Myles is evidence for the first group.

She released “Black Velvet”, a mini-biography of the King, in Canada in 1989, and by 1990 it had crossed the border to the US.  And it was a big hit… you couldn’t avoid hearing it at all through the summer and fall of 1990.  It got her a Grammy award in 1991.

Then she all but disappeared.

Nothing she has done since has come close to capturing the success that “Black Velvet” has.  Even in her native Canada, where she has a built-in advantage in gaining airplay due to Canadian Content regulations, she has had only two other top 10 singles.  In the US, she’s only one other single chart since “Black Velvet” – at #60.

And there’s no real explanation as to why.  If I were to guess, it’s that “Black Velvet” was so iconic that nothing else she did could match it with listeners.  Maybe her record labels haven’t done a good job promoting her.   In the end, though, she’s a one-hit wonder until she does something to change it.  Her most recent album, “Black Velvet” (yes), featured a remake of this song… it was released 4 years ago, and nothing of note ever happened with it.

Sadly, her story doesn’t really have a happy ending.  She announced in 2011 that due to overuse of chiropractic therapy, she’s got nerve damage and can no longer move her head or neck.  She can still sing. 

Tomorrow, a trio of Army kids make a song about an animal with identity problems…

Other songs that reached #1 on March 24:
1958 –
“Catch A Falling Star” by Perry Como (his third, 1 week, Disk Jockey chart)
1973 – “Love Train” by the O’Jays (their first, 1 week)
1979 – “Tragedy” by the Bee Gees (their eighth, 2 weeks)
2001 – “Butterfly” by Crazy Town (their first, 2 weeks)
2007 – “Glamorous” by Fergie feat. Ludacris (her second, 2 weeks)


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