20 Years Ago: Shania Twain’s ‘You’re Still the One’ Hits No. 1
On May 2, 1998, Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" hit No. 1 on the country singles chart.
A tender ballad sprinkled with organ, piano and guitar — and, on the bridge, quivering pedal steel and harmonies — "You're Still the One" is a loving ode to a significant other. Despite obstacles (and naysayers who thought the couple might not make it), the protagonist is proud to say, "Looks like we made it / Look how far we've come my baby / We might have took the long way / We knew we'd get there someday."
Adding to the authentic tone of "You're Still the One," Twain co-wrote the song with her then-husband, Robert John "Mutt" Lange. As she recalls in her autobiography, From This Moment On, the music came together seamlessly.
"Mutt and I spent a lot of time apart as I was promoting and touring, and he was in studios working on tracks and arrangements as we wrote," Twain writes. "It's surprising that we were able to write all this stuff with so little time together. We wrote independently and merged ideas when we joined up.
"I remember feeling very excited about the counter line sung by Mutt as backing vocals in "You're Still the One,"" she adds. "As I sang the chorus melody repeatedly while working out the lyrics, he kicked in with the counter line, 'You're still the one,' and it gave me chills. All of a sudden we had a hit chorus. It was a magic moment."
The song wasn't the first country chart-topper to come from Twain's 1997 LP, Come on Over; that honor went to the album's initial single, "Love Gets Me Every Time." But "You're Still the One," which was originally released in the U.S. on Jan. 27, 1998, was unique because it was also marketed to pop and adult contemporary radio stations.
"Although the song has country elements of warm, acoustic strumming, the verses are dominated by piano, while a smoldering organ, my last favorite instrument, stands out as the most prominent sound on the choruses," Twain writes in From This Moment On, calling the song "a personal favorite of mine."
"The music, I believe, transcended genres," she continues, "and the universal message of the lyrics gave it broad crossover appeal."
The crossover gamble worked like a charm: "You're Still the One" only spent one week atop the country charts, but the single peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Twain's first Top 10 crossover hit, and also topped the adult contemporary charts. In 1999, the song nabbed two Grammy Awards, for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
In a further interesting twist, there was also an "international version" of Come on Over released in 1998 that made the record more palatable to pop audiences: "We've taken out some of the sounds that Europe would find a little less palatable and made it more universal," Twain told Billboard in January 1998. The new take on "You're Still the One" especially de-emphasized the fiddle and pedal steel found on the bridge of the album version. This move also worked: "You're Still the One" hit No. 3 in Ireland and No. 10 in the UK.
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