Readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.
So, as our retrospective segments, ‘From the Vault’ and ‘TGJ Replay,’ allow us the chance to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday of one artist, our newest feature Chart Rewind serves as a variation of our Retro Rewind assay to salute an entire era of music history.
This week, we’ll revisit a tale as old as time – ‘Beauty & the Beast.’ Join us inside:
While many know the legend of 1991’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Disney’s classic animated film based on the French fairy tale of the same name, the story behind how its title song landed in the lap of French Canadian icon Celine Dion is arguably just as engaging.
Fate would have it the then-rising songstress was up to sing the theme song to another animated film (‘An American Tail‘) the same year, but lost out due to American Pop star Linda Rondstat opting to record the tune (despite initially declining Steven Spielberg‘s request to do so). Celine – then in her early 20s and at the beginning stages of mastering English – was still reeling from the replacement when contacted by Disney to record ‘Beauty and the Beast’s theme. Hesitantly, she accepted the offer.
With its Angela Lansbury-recorded film version reworked for Pop audiences under the helm of legendary songwriter/producer Walter Afanasieff, Dion’s edition (which tapped R&B vocalist Peabo Bryson to assist) was released November 25, 1991 – two months after its parent film hit theaters.
Thanks to the movie’s enduring popularity, the tune premiered at #88 on the Hot 100 in late January 1992. Three months later, it soared to its #9 peak – where it was found this week that year. Look below to see who joined it in the top 25:
Hot 100 This Week in 1992
Ever a surprise that chart success was only the beginning of ‘Beast’s winning streak? Hardly. At the next year’s GRAMMYs, it was nominated for ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year,’ but took home ‘Best Song Written for Visual Media’ and ‘Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals’ honors. The latter gave Bryson and Dion their first golden gramophones respectively.
Though subsequent Academy Award and Golden Globe ‘Best Original Song’ award triumphs were attributed to the movie version’s songwriters, it’s hard to believe the single version did not influence the decision.
When the dust settled, ‘Beast’ may have only reached Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) but the song has stood the test of time as one of movie history’s most beloved duets.
Hot 100 This Week
Click here to read this week’s full ‘TGJ Chart Check: Hot 100.’