"Black Velvet" (Alanna Miles): The story of a ballad...
Surely you heard this song on the radio or somewhere else, because in the 1990s it was a big hit! Millions of copies sold and launches on radio stations, leading positions in the prestigious charts - and this is not all the achievements of Black Velvet!
However, such a stunning success could not have been... We offer you to remember the history of the legendary composition and enjoy the atmospheric clip with the participation of Alanna Miles herself!
History of creation
This rock ballad has two authors at once - songwriter Christopher Ward (then Alanna's boyfriend) and singer producer David Tyson!
In his interview, Ward said what exactly inspired him to write the future hit:
“I remember it now: summer, 1987 ... And we are going to Memphis, on the tenth anniversary of the death of Elvis, in a small tourist bus: just think - we and forty more if not more fans of the King! The trip turned out to be another test ... "
“...While we were driving, I thought:“ God, how much he means to them even now, when he is no longer with us ... They have an incredible passion for this guy ... He is their idol for centuries ... "And this thought inspired me. Fortunately, there was plenty of time for me to make sketches ... "
“... We were moving farther and farther to the South ... Images arose in my head: the South, little Elvis ... And I suddenly realized why his mother appears so often in his compositions ... "
David Tyson helped write the text for Ward, who returned from his trip. All three (including Alanna Miles) loved the song!
"Black Velvet" is entirely addressed to Elvis Presley: his work, lifestyle ...
And here is how Miles herself understands the main idea of the song:
“There is a faint reference here to Elvis's sugary black velvet shots... At the same time, the composition refers to the voice of the African Americans supported by Presley! In general, “Black Velvet” is completely saturated with Elvis: his velvety voice, black hair, the motives of the American south in his music… There was a place for everything!”
And here is how Christopher Ward himself explained the meaning of his masterpiece:
“The whole essence of this song is focused on just one line - “A new religion that will put you on your knees ...” But Elvis was a kind of preacher to a million people ... After all, if you think carefully, he conveyed rock and roll to his fans ... »
Release and achievements
The most curious thing about this whole story is that Atlantic Records gave "Black Velvet" to another singer - Robin Lee.
However, Alanna's version was released as a single in the winter of 1989 (a few months before Robin's release). The song quickly became a hit with the general public, while Lee's performance was promoted exclusively on country stations.
"Black Velvet" brought the singer a leading position in many prestigious charts, as well as the coveted Grammy Award!
Rumor has it that during the recording in the studio it was unrealistically hot ... Therefore, Miles sang in a bikini!
Later, the singer said that the label deceived her! And allegedly she received the first fee for "Black Velvet" only eighteen years later ...