Alannah Myles


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”!

Alannah Myles 2019

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!