Song: “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy, Faith Evans & 112
Reached #1: June 14, 1997 (Diddy’s second, 11 weeks)
The aftermath of the murder of Christopher Wallace (“Notorious B.I.G.”) in March 1997 reverberated around the rap world.
Of course, we’ve already seen B.I.G.’s posthumous #1 single, “Hypnotize”.
There were any number of tributes to Wallace during 1997, but the official one came from his protégé (Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs) and widow (Faith Evans) a few weeks after his murder.
What’s odd about the song is that, either due to time pressure or grief or… who knows, Sting owns all of the publishing royalties to the song. Of course, Sting wrote “Every Breath You Take”, upon which “I’ll Be Missing You” was built – making “Breath” a sort-of two-time #1 single – but Evans and Todd “Sauce Money” Gaither have writing credits for the lyrics. You have to wonder how Diddy and Evans wound up having to give Sting full rights to the song – one source I referenced indicates that the song was done before a rights request was made, leaving Diddy and Evans pretty much stuck. If they wanted to release the song, they probably had to agree to whatever Sting (or his management, most likely) wanted.
Of course, given the large-scale grief over B.I.G.’s murder – and given who made the song – it is one of the few songs to enter the pop charts at #1, and also one of the few to reach double-digit weeks at #1. 15 years later, it’s still Sean Combs’ biggest pop hit.
Tomorrow, a foreign-language #1 with a made-up title…
Other songs that reached #1 on June 14:
1975 – “Sister Golden Hair” by America (their second, 1 week)
1986 – “On My Own” by Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald (LaBelle’s first, 3 weeks)