"Believe" is a song by the American singer and actress Cher from her 22nd studio album, Believe. It was released as the album's lead single on October 19, 1998, by Warner Bros. Records. After circulating for months, a demo written by Brian Higgins, Matthew Gray, Stuart McLennen and Timothy Powell, was submitted to Warner's chairman Rob Dickins, while he was scouting for songs to include on Cher's new album. Aside from the chorus, Dickins was not impressed by the track so he enlisted two more writers, Steve Torch and Paul Barry in order to complete it. Cher also later did some adjustments herself to the lyrics but did not get a songwriting credit. Recording took place at Dreamhouse Studio in West London, while production was in charge of Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling.
"Believe" is an upbeat dance-pop and electropop song and represents a complete musical departure from Cher's previous efforts. It featured a pioneering use of the audio processing software Auto-Tune to distort the singer's vocals, which was widely imitated and became known as the "Cher effect". The song's lyrics describe empowerment and self-sufficiency after a painful breakup. "Believe" has been met with appreciation ever since its release; music critics have praised, in particular, its production and catchiness, with some having deemed it as a highlight from the album. The song has been listed as one of Cher's most important releases. At the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards the song was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Dance Recording, winning the latter.
"Believe" was a commercial success worldwide, topping the record charts in over 23 countries and selling over 11 million copies; it is Cher's most successful single to date, and one of the best-selling singles in music history. "Believe" was the biggest-selling song of 1998 in the United Kingdom, and remains the highest-selling single by a solo female artist. In the United States, it was Cher's fifth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it topped the Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1999. The accompanying music video (directed by Nigel Dick) was nominated for Best Dance Video at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.
Cher has performed the song on many occasions, including the 1999 Brit Awards, the Sanremo Music Festival, as well as on several talk shows and variety programs (in America and abroad). It has since become a fan favorite, and a staple in the setlist of her concert tours. "Believe" has been covered by numerous artists, and it's also been sung or referenced in several feature films and scripted TV shows. Scholars and academics noted the way in which Cher was able to re-invent herself, and yet stay true to her image, while still being able to release music that was fresh and contemporary amidst the more “teen pop”-based music of the period. They also credited the song for restoring Cher's social popularity and further cementing her position as a pop culture icon. "Believe" earned Cher a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, and Rolling Stone listed it among the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
Top songs by Cher
- If I Could Turn Back Time
- Strong Enough
- Bang Bang (my Baby Shot Me Down)
- Our Lady Of San Francisco
- The Shoop Shoop Song (it's In His Kiss)
- Love Hurts
- Dark Lady
- Walking In Memphis
- David's Song
- A Different Kind Of Love Song
- It's Too Late To Love Me Now
- Don't Come Cryin' To Me
- Boys & Girls
- Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
- Alive Again
- By Myself
- I'll Never Stop Loving You
- Chastity's Song (band Of Thieves)
- I Found Someone
- Mama (when My Dollies Have Babies)
- All I Really Want To Do
- A World Without Heroes
- Love Enough
- Love On A Rooftop
- One Small Step (duet With Richard Page)
- Bell Bottom Blues
- Am I Blue?
- Take It From The Boys
- You Wouldn't Know Love
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