Céline Dion (Part 1: 1968-1989)

Achievements

• 200 million records sold worldwide
• 10th best-selling music artist of all-time worldwide (best-selling Canadian)
• 6 Diamond albums in Canada, 4 in France, 2 in the United States
• 35 Top 40 singles, including 19 Top 10, 7 of which were #1 (Canada¹)
• 8th best-selling single of all-time worldwide (“My Heart Will Go On”)
• 2 songs in the Billboard (U.S.) year-end Top 5 (“The Power of Love” and “Because You Loved Me”)
• Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame

Major Juno Awards

• 6 for Female Artist of the Year
• 1 for Song of the Year (“Beauty and the Beast” w/ Peabo Bryson, 1993)
• 3 for Album of the Year (Unison, The Colour of My Love, Let’s Talk About Love)

Major Félix Awards²

• 7 for Female Artist of the Year
• 3 for Song of the Year (“Une Colombe”, “Incognito”, and “Pour que tu m’aimes encore”)

Major Grammy Awards (U.S.)

• Album of the Year for Falling Into You, 1996
• Record of the Year for “My Heart Will Go On”, 1998

¹ does not include her French language hits in Quebec
² There is usually no overall Album of the Year; instead, awards are given for various categories (pop, rock, vocal, etc.)

For all intents and purposes, Celine Dion is Canada’s Empress of Pop. How do we even begin to write about the biggest-selling Canadian singer of all-time worldwide? We start with a birth. At Charlemagne, near Montreal, in 1968, Céline was the last of 14 children born to a violinist mother and accordionist father. At seven, she began singing the songs of Ginette Reno, including “Le Vieux Baril” at a piano bar owned by her parents. When she was 12, she recorded a song her mother wrote, “Ce n’était qu’un rêve”, and sent it to Reno’s impresario René Angélil.

Angelil was so impressed, he became Dion’s first and only manager, had French lyricist Eddy Marnay write “La Voix du Bon Dieu” for her first album, and mortgaged his house to help finance it. The album was released in 1981 and resulted in a couple of hit singles. Celine was just 13. Later in the year she recorded a Christmas album. The following year, she released Tellement j’ai d’amour pour toi whereby she made a stir in France with the track “D’amour ou d’amitié” which sold over half a million copies. According to the Canadian Pop Encyclopedia, she was the first Canadian singer to score a platinum record in France. It was also her first #1 single in Quebec. The album’s title-track won her a gold medal at the Yamaha World Song Festival.

The following year, Dion won four Félix Awards including Best New Artist, Best Album, and Best Female Artist. She dropped out of school to focus on her musical career. Les chemins de ma maison spawned the hit “Mon ami m’a quittée”, her second song to top the singles chart in Quebec. Shortly after, she put out her second Christmas album. Pope John Paul II was slated to visit Canada in 1984. Dion was selected to sing “Une Colombe” from her Mélanie album at Montreal Olympic stadium to a crowd of 65,000. The following year the single won the Felix Song of the Year and she won Best Female Artist for the third year in a row. C’est pour toi and a live album were released in 1985.

Celine Dion recorded bilingual versions of songs for the family movie The Peanut Butter Solution in 1985, meaning that “Listen to the Magic Man” and “Michael’s Song” became her first English songs recorded. She then took a break from recording for a year and a half. She was passing from adolescence to adulthood. Now 19, Dion was ready to up the game. She cut her hair shorter, donned tight sequinned dresses, joined CBS-Columbia, added dancier rhythms to her songs, and released Incognito. The album spawned six Top 5 singles in Quebec and its title-track was named Song of the Year at the Felix Awards where Dion received her fourth Female Artist of the Year award. The album was her first to be certified double-Platinum in Canada (a difficult feat for a French language album) and sold half a million copies worldwide. In 1988, Europe released a compilation of her greatest hits. She had already released two greatest hits albums in Canada (1984 and 1986). She performed at the televised Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland to an audience of 600 million viewers, winning first prize. Celine Dion was now ready to conquer the world.

Celine Dion Part 2 is HERE.

      Copyright 2011 Canadian Music Blog

Studio Albums and Hit Singles: 1980-89

1981: La voix du bon dieu

• Hit Singles: “La voix du bon dieu” (#11 QC), “Ce n’était qu’un rêve” (#14 QC)

1982: Tellement j’ai d’amour pour toi

• Platinum
• Hit Singles: “Tellement j’ai d’amour pour toi” (#3 QC), “D’amour ou d’amitié” (#1 QC; #10 FR)

1984: Les chemins de ma maison

• Hit Singles: “Mon ami m’a quittée” (#1 QC)

1984: Mélanie

• Hit Singles: “Une colombe” (#2 QC), “Mon rêve de toujours” (#4 QC)

1985: C’est pour toi

• Hit Singles: “C’est pour toi” (#3 QC), “C’est pour vivre”

1987: Incognito

• 2x Platinum
• 500,000 copies sold worldwide
• Hit Singles: “On traverse un miroir” (#2 QC), “Incognito” (#1 QC), “Lolita (trop jeune pour aimer)” (#1 QC), “Comme un cœur froid” (#1 QC), “Délivre-moi” (#4 QC), “D’abord, c’est quoi l’amour?” (#1 QC)

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