Amanda Marshall Turns Twenty

amanda marshall

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Amanda Marshall’s debut, eponymous album, released October 17, 1995. The album spawned seven Top 20 hits and was awarded with diamond certification for selling one million copies in Canada. The album’s biggest hit was “Birmingham” which peaked at #3 and at #43 in the United States. “Beautiful Goodbye”, #5, and “Let It Rain”, #7, attracted some attention in Britain charting within the Top 80. A track listing with weekly peak RPM chart positions is below.

Amanda Marshall

1. Let It Rain, #7
2. Birmingham, #3
3. Fall From Grace, #11
4. Dark Horse, #5
5. Beautiful Goodbye, #5
6. Sitting On Top of the World, #5
7. Last Exit to Eden
8. Trust Me This Is Love, #18
9. Let’s Get Lost
10. Promises

amanda marshall diamond canada copy

Amanda’s husky vocals and earthy pop-rock style were compared to the works of Bryan Adams, Melissa Ethridge, and Sheryl Crowe. The album provided a nice complement to the more alternative rock vibes of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill released four months earlier. Songwriters on the Amanda Marshall album included some of Alannah Myles’ collaborators: Christopher Ward and David Tyson. The latter, a three-time JUNO winner, also produced the album. Canadian songwriters Dean McTaggart and Marc Jordan and the United States’ Kristen Hall lent a hand as well. The Canadian Encyclopedia writes:

“More than 2 million units were purchased worldwide, and it was certified gold in Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia. Elton John was a fan of the album, and his televised endorsement on Rosie O’Donnell’s show won Marshall valuable exposure in the US. Her songs were also included on a number of top soundtracks, including those for the television program Touched by an Angel, and the movies My Best Friend’s Wedding and Tin Cup.

amanda marshall gold aria copy

Amanda Marshall was born and raised in Toronto. She released two more studio albums after her debut which did well and contributed further to an impressive array of hit singles. Amanda released a greatest hits compilation in 2003. She never won a JUNO award but was nominated 11 times. Amanda Marshall’s “Beautiful Goodbye” was one of the eight tracks by Canadian artists in the RPM Top 10 of November 25, 1996, quite possibly the most CanCon Top 10 in domestic chart history.

25 Nov 1996 RPM Top Singles

The Canadian Music Blog strongly recommends this superb album as an essential addition to one’s music collection. Amanda Marshall is one of the finest studio albums ever to come out of Canada.  iTunes

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Blast From Past Albums: Part 2 – 1995 and 1985

As we straighten our tuques in anticipation of 2015’s smashing Canadian albums, containing the best music this side of Antarctica, let’s take a moment to remember the great albums that slayed in past years. We have selected half a dozen jewels from 20 years ago and 30 years ago, featured below. Do you own any of these albums? If not, it’s time to grab one or two. Part 1 of this feature looked at works from 2010 and 2005 which you can find here.

Stellar Albums from 20 Years Ago – 1995

Selected 1995 Canadian Albums copy

People were buying CDs like hot cakes in 1995, and it was the female soloists who did best. Amanda Marshall’s self-titled debut hit diamond sales and spawned a number of Top 10 hits. Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill became one of the best-selling albums of all-time globally – double diamond at home – and saw four of its tracks top the charts. It won the JUNO for album of the year. Pigeon d’argile by Kevin Parent was certified triple platinum, remarkable for a Franco work. Susan Aglukark was on par with Kevin sales wise. This Child blended Inuk folk, country, and popular music. Great Big Sea anchored itself as one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most successful bands with quadruple platinum Up. And of course 1995 wouldn’t have been complete without a second double diamond global ripper: Shania Twain’s classic country album The Woman In Me.

Stellar Albums from 30 Years Ago – 1985

Selected 1985 Canadian Albums copy

In 1985, we were cryin’ over … who? Probably not Platinum Blonde, one of our quintessential 80s bands. Alien Shores was a quadruple platinum charmer. Gino Vannelli did well in the transition from 70s to 80s with album Black Cars, as we learned that they really do look better in the shade. Corey Hart scored the second diamond Canadian album in history, and its “Never Surrender” became the biggest song of the year. It was no doubt difficult to slay if you were a female soloist in 1985 unless you were Francophone. Perhaps capturing the 80s sound better than anything else in any language was Ce soir l’amour est dans tes yeux by Martine St-Clair. The title track was even nominated for the Single of the Year JUNO and Martine for best female vocalist. Nominated for eight Felix Awards, the album won five! Rush continued its legacy with Power Windows. Finally, Strange Animal was the breakout album for male soloist Gowan.

ATF Tunes: Some of us can’t move ahead; we’re paralyzed with fear

We are now venturing from territorial excellence into the masterpieces of Canadian music. This Toronto singer-songwriter released her triple-platinum sophomore album in 1999. The album opener, which she co-wrote with Eric Bazilian, was a perfectly-crafted song, jam-packed with emotional inspiration. Amanda Marshall was a soulful mixed-blood beauty whose father was of Trinidadian origin, and she became one of a string of Canadian divas who scored diamond albums in the 90s. Her 15 Top 40 hits from three studio albums meant that she averaged five hits per album, an enviable feat. The reason we have not heard from her since is that she has been involved in legal disputes with her record company. One of the most gorgeous songs ever to hit the airwaves was her Top 10 hit “Believe in You“, one of our favourites of all-time from a Canadian artist.

Lyrics

Somewhere there’s a river, looking for a stream
Somewhere there’s a dreamer, looking for a dream
Somewhere there’s a drifter, trying to find his way
Somewhere someone’s waiting to hear somebody say

[Chorus:]
I believe in you, and I can’t even count the ways that
I believe in you, and all I want to do is help you to believe in you

Somewhere someone’s reaching trying to grab that ring
Somewhere there’s a silent voice learning how to sing
Some of us can’t move ahead; we’re paralyzed with fear
And everybody’s listening, ’cause we all need to hear

[Chorus]

I will hold you up
I will help you stand I will comfort you when you need a friend
I will be the voice that’s calling I…

[Chorus]

Summary

Song: “Believe in You”
Album: Tuesday’s Child
Year: 1999
Artist: Amanda Marshall
Origin: Toronto

More songs…

Amanda Marshall

Born: 1972, Toronto
Debut: 1995
Genre: Pop / Rock

Achievements

• Diamond Album (Amanda Marshall)
• 15 Top 40 Singles, including 8 Top Tens
• Nominated for 11 Juno Awards

Studio Albums and Hit Singles

1996: Amanda Marshall

• Diamond
• Hit Singles: “Birmingham” (#3 WP; #30 YE), “Dark Horse” (#5 WP; #27 YE), “Beautiful Goodbye” (#5 WP; #51 YE), “Sitting on Top of the World” (#5 WP; #46 YE), “Let it Rain” (#7 WP; #56 YE), “Fall From Grace” (#11 WP; #94 YE), “Trust Me (This Is Love)” (#18 WP)

1999: Tuesday’s Child

• 3x Platinum
• Hit Singles: “Believe in You” (#10 WP; #58 YE), “Love Lift Me” (#10 WP; #52 YE), “Shades of Gray” (#25 WP), “If I Didn’t Have You” (#21 WP)

2001: Everybody’s Got a Story

• Platinum
• Hit Singles: “Everybody’s Got a Story” (#6 WP; n/a YE), “Marry Me” (#18 WP), “Double Agent” (#19 WP), “Sunday Morning After” (#20 WP)

Somewhere there’s a river looking for a stream
Somewhere there’s a dreamer looking for a dream
Somewhere there’s a drifter trying to find his way
Somewhere someone’s waiting to hear somebody say

I believe in you
I can’t even count the ways that
I believe in you
And all I want to do is help you to believe in you

Somewhere someone’s reaching, trying to grab that ring
Somewhere there’s a silent voice learning how to sing
Some of us can’t move ahead; we’re paralyzed with fear
And everybody’s listening, ’cause we all need to hear

I believe in you
I can’t even count the ways that
I believe in you
And all I want to do is help you to believe in you

I will hold you up
I will help you stand I will comfort you when you need a friend
I will be the voice that’s calling “I…

I believe in you
I can’t even count the ways that
I believe in you
And all I want to do is help you to believe in you

Amanda Marshall was the fourth Canadian female superstar to bear the initials A.M. (Anne Murray, Alannah Myles, and Alanis Morissette being the other three). Although she scored a diamond album and 15 Top 40 hits, she did not win any of the 11 Juno nominations she received. Her debut album was certified diamond in Canada and spawned seven Top 30 hits, all but one of which finished in the year-end chart for the next three years.

Born and raised in Toronto (with a few years in Halifax), Amanda Marshall’s dream was to be a musician. She studied at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and performed at bars on Queen Street after her day job as a telephone operator. Guitarist Jeff Healey was impressed with her rich vocals and invited her to join his tour. Drummer Tom Stephen became her manager. This led to an offer by Columbia Records when she was 19. But she turned them down feeling it was too soon to launch her singing career. For the next few years she concentrated on building a reputation through live shows before approaching Alannah Myles’ songwriter David Tyson. She was signed by Sony Records and three more songwriters were added to her team.

Her debut self-titled album was released. “Let It Rain” was the first single. It scaled up the pop charts in autumn 1995 and made the Top 10. Further singles did even better and, eventually, the album was certified diamond. Elton John picked up the album and was so impressed that he phoned her to offer his support. Marshall appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show. Despite these endorsements, Marshall’s success did not spread much outside the country. She toured with Tom Cochrane and John Mellancamp. In the spring of 1997, her headlining tour of Canada sold out.

In 1999, Tuesday’s Child was released, spawning two Top 10 hits, including the inspiring “Believe in You” (lyrics above). The album sold over 300,000 copies. Three years later Everybody’s Got a Story came out. Although it was responsible for four Top 20 singles, it only managed to go platinum, and it appeared that Amanda’s career was running out of steam, especially since Sony was doing nothing to market her outside of the country. A “greatest hits” album appeared in 2003.

Amanda’s retreat from the music industry was the result of legal battles with her record company which have as yet to be settled.

          Copyright 2011 by the Canadian Music Blog