20 Years Ago: LeAnn Rimes’ ‘Blue’ Goes Gold
Twenty years ago today (March 16, 1998) was a celebratory day for LeAnn Rimes: It was on that date that her debut single, "Blue," was certified gold, for sales in excess of 500,000 units.
"Blue," which was the debut single from and title track of Rimes' freshman album, was originally written and recorded by Bill Mack in the 1950s. But it was Rimes' spin on the tune, which she first recorded when she was just 11 years old, that made it one of her biggest hits to date.
Following her recording of the song as an 11-year-old, Rimes re-recorded "Blue" and released that new version in 1996, when she was 13. The success of the song helped her Blue album soar to the top of the charts, selling more than 6 million copies. But in spite of the single's success, Rimes admits that she almost didn't record the song.
"The first time I heard "Blue," I didn't like it," she concedes, "but it was a demo version that sounded old fashioned."
Rimes won three ACM Awards in 1996, including Single of the Year and Song of the Year, both for "Blue." She also won two Grammy Awards in 1997, including one for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for "Blue;" that honor made Rimes the youngest individual artist to win a Grammys trophy, a record that she still holds today. The video for "Blue," which shows a teenage Rimes sitting by a pool in sunglasses while men pass her by, also won two Billboard Music Awards, for Best Country Music Video of the Year and Best New Artist Video of the Year.
"Blue" was included on Rimes' 2003 Greatest Hits album, as well as her 2004 The Best of LeAnn Rimes album. For good measure, Rimes also re-recorded the song on her 2011 album, Lady & Gentlemen. The song is available for download on iTunes.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
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