Has Alannah Myles joined that group of artists that are only remembered for one song? “Black Velvet”, if you please!
Canadian singer Alannah Myles was born on Christmas Day, 1958 and a little over thirty years later, was on top of the charts with her country-rock ballad, “Black Velvet”. She had, in fact, been recording since the age of 18, but had to wait till the age of 31 before the world noticed her and rocked with her “little boy smile” and in a “sure Southern style”. She met fellow Candian singer-songwriter Christopher Ward in the early 80’s and was signed to Atlantic Records in 1987, where production on her debut album took more than two years to complete. Finally, in April 1989, her debut single, “Love Is…”, saw commercial release.
The song reached No.16 in her home country, No.36 in America and was a minor hit in parts of Europe. Her self-titled debut long player followed soon after but to no immediate acclaim. That all changed with the release of the second single, “Black Velvet”, in July 1989, when the song topped the Billboard top 100 chart and the US rock chart. Amazingly, “Black Velvet’s” release was staggered worldwide over a period of seven months, with an initial release in Canada in July (where it peaked at No.10), the US in December, Australia in January 1990 and finally, The UK the following month. “Black Velvet” wet top ten in eighteen countries worldwide and would eventually settle at No.2 in Great Britain and No.3 in Australia, becoming the 18th biggest seller of the year shifting, to date, over two million copies worldwide.
The success of “Black Velvet” sent her album up the charts, selling over a million Stateside and Canada and more than six million globally. Two more singles were lifted from the album, “Still Got This Thing” and “Lover Of Mine”, which went to No.2 in Canada, the album’s best performing single there. Alannah was back on top two years later with the lead single from her second album, “Rockinghorse”, “Song Instead Of A Kiss”, although success of this song was restricted outside her the boarders of her homeland. “Rockinghorse” failed to chart in the US and the UK and made No.9 in Canada, where four more singles were released and charted, including “Sonny Say You Will” and “Our World, Our Times”. In 1994 Alannah covered Aretha Franklin’s 1967 single “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” with British group Nine Below Zero for the album “Hot Music For A Cold Night”. She released her third album “A-lan-nah” in 1995 and gained another Candian top ten single with “Family Secret”, but following this, chart positions generally died a death.
Alannah released the album “A Rival” in 1997. In 2007, Myles released an EP of Elvis songs to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death. She returned in 2009 with her fifth album, “Black Velvet”, which, guess what?, contained a new version of her biggest hit! Her sixth studio album, “85 BPM” was released in 2014 which featured her version of Ann Pebbles’ 1973 hit “I Can’t Stand The Rain”, which was released as a single digitally. That same year, a 25th anniversary re-release of her debut album was issued including live versions and a DVD of her 1990 tour of Australia. Alannah continues to perform and now, thirty years on from the global release of “Black Velvet” and the continued broadcasting royalties that flood in, who needs another hit…it’s a new religion that WILL bring you to your knees! “Black Velvet, if you please”!