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Angels (Robbie Williams song)

"Angels" is a song by Robbie Williams. It was included on Williams's debut solo album Life thru a Lens (1997), and released as a single in December 1997.[1] "Angels" was written by Williams and Guy Chambers, based on an earlier song written by Ray Heffernan. It is Williams' bestselling single and was voted the best song of the previous 25 years at the 2005 Brit Awards.

"Angels"
Angels cover.png
Single by Robbie Williams
from the album Life thru a Lens
Released1 December 1997 (1997-12-01)
Format
Recorded1997
Genre
Length4:24 (album version)
3:58 (radio edit)
LabelChrysalis
Songwriter(s)
Attributed to Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers (see below)
Producer(s)
Robbie Williams singles chronology
"South of the Border"
(1997)
"Angels"
(1997)
"Let Me Entertain You"
(1998)
Music video
"Angels" on YouTube

"Angels" has been covered by artists including Jessica Simpson, David Archuleta, Beverley Knight, All Angels and Declan Galbraith. It has been recorded in Spanish (as "Ángel") by Mexican singers Yuridia and Marco Moré, and in Italian (as "Un Angelo") by Patrizio Buanne. Williams also recorded a Spanish version of the song. In a 2005 poll, Britons voted "Angels" the song they most wanted played at their funeral.[2]

WritingEdit

 
Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performing “Angels” at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow, Russia

In 2011, Robbie Williams said he wrote "Angels" with collaborator Guy Chambers in 25 minutes about his aunt and uncle. By his account, he and Chambers were sitting outside a cafe watching a water fountain, which inspired them to write the chorus.[3] In 2016, Williams said: "It was the first of our songs that we wrote together. We could tell and hoped and prayed that we got something incredibly special. After we wrote the song ... I hailed a cab down. [The taxi driver] played it and said 'that is great, that is, Robbie, 'that is gonna be number one', and you know what: it never was number one."[4] Williams has expressed irritation that some assumed Chambers was the sole author, saying: "It pees me off because everyone thinks Guy penned 'Let Me Entertain You' and 'Angels', but they're my songs."[5]

Irish singer-songwriter Ray Heffernan asserts that he wrote the first version of "Angels" in Paris in 1996, after his partner had a miscarriage.[6] According to Heffernan, he met Williams in a pub by chance in Dublin. He showed him an incomplete version of the song, and that week the two recorded a studio demo.[7] Williams confirmed that he had recorded a demo with Heffernan but said he rewrote the song significantly with Chambers.[8]

When Heffernan learnt that a version of "Angels" would appear on Williams' debut album Life thru a Lens, he accepted an offer from Williams's management to buy the rights for £7,500.[7] Williams said: "We could have gone to court, and it all would have been down to whether what way the judge wakes up that day out of bed ... So I gave him some money, and he went away."[8] In 2011, Heffernan said: "For a long time, I was angry about this, but as you get older you see things differently ... the 'Angels' connection has opened doors to publishing companies and earned me a few quid."[7] Heffernan is thanked in the UK CD2 single liner notes.[9]

Music videoEdit

The video for "Angels" was directed by Vaughan Arnell,[10] and filmed at Saunton Sands. Filmed largely from the air, Williams walks around a beach, stares at the sky, kicks a football and rides a motorbike with a woman while a helicopter flies around them.[11]

In November 2013, English singer-songwriter Olly Murs released a music video promoting his song "Hand on Heart", imitating the video to "Angels". Also directed by Arnell, and shot in black-and-white, the video featured a cameo appearance by Williams. He said: "Imitation is the highest form of flattery. I am easily flattered, and I love Olly. We always have a good time together and this was no exception."[10]

Chart performanceEdit

"Angels" was the 38th-bestselling single of 1997 in the UK, and the 26th of 1998. It was the 34th-bestselling single of the decade. Despite only reaching a peak of No. 4, it is Williams' bestselling UK single and according to Official UK Charts Company figures passed the million sales mark in June 2009, with a combination of both physical and download sales. It has sold 1.2 million copies in the UK as of November 2012.[12] It was released in 1999 in the US, after Williams' debut there with "Millennium".[citation needed]

"Angels" re-entered the ARIA Top 100 at #91, on 5 May 2008.[13]

AwardsEdit

At the 2005 BRIT Awards, "Angels" was voted by the British public the best song in the past 25 years of British music, though it had only reached number four on the singles chart. Williams performed the song live with Joss Stone then. In a survey by UK digital TV station Music Choice, Britons chose it as the song they would most like played at their funeral.[14]

Live performancesEdit

In 2009, Williams performed "Angels" at the final of the sixth series of The X Factor with Olly Murs. On 14 June 2018, Williams performed "Angels" with Russian soprano Aida Garifullina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.[15] On 23 June 2018, Williams performed the song as a special guest at American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour concert at Wembley Stadium in London.[16]

Formats and track listingsEdit

UK CD1
  1. "Angels" – 4:24
  2. "Back for Good" (live) – 3:59
  3. "Walk This Sleigh" – 3:01
UK CD2
  1. "Angels" – 4:24
  2. "Karaoke Overkill" – 3:31
  3. "Get the Joke" – 3:03
  4. "Angels" (acoustic version) – 4:27[17]

ChartsEdit

Chart (1997–99) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[18] 40
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[19] 12
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20] 6
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[21] 32
Canada (RPM) 18
Denmark (Hitlisten)[22] 20
France (SNEP)[23] 7
Germany (Official German Charts)[24] 9
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[25] 22
Ireland (IRMA)[26] 2
Italy (FIMI)[27] 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[28] 14
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[29] 14
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[30] 23
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[31] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 13
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 53
US Adult Contemporary[36] 10
US Adult Top 40 21

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1998) Position
Germany (Official German Charts)[37] 53

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Belgium (BEA)[38] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[39] Gold 45,000^
France (SNEP)[41] Gold 187,000[40]
Italy (FIMI)[42] Gold 25,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] 2× Platinum 1,200,000[12]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versionsEdit

Jessica SimpsonEdit

"Angels"
 
Single by Jessica Simpson
from the album In This Skin
Released6 June 2004[44]
FormatCD, digital download
GenrePop
Length4:05
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers, Ray Heffernan
Producer(s)Billy Mann
Jessica Simpson singles chronology
"Take My Breath Away"
(2004)
"Angels"
(2004)
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
(2005)

Jessica Simpson's cover of "Angels" was the fourth and final single released from her album In This Skin in 2004. It was produced by Billy Mann.

Music videoEdit

The video for "Angels" opens a visibly anxious Simpson on an empty stage rehearsing for a performance. She can be seen in intercut scenes staring into space, as if she has lost her self-confidence and ability to perform. As the song progresses, however, white roses can be seen scattered around her as a sign of hope, and soon Simpson begins to regain her confidence. The song then shifts into its instrumental bridge to correlate with the emotions of the characters, as Simpson proceeds to climb to the top of the building for her final performance. There she is greeted by a youth orchestra, and finishes the song.

Chart performanceEdit

Simpson's version of "Angels" failed to break into the Billboard Hot 100 (though it did reach number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles). However, the song did become a moderate success[clarification needed] on the Top 40 Mainstream and Hot Digital Tracks. Both Simpson, and her father and manager Joe Simpson, had hoped this song would lead to her first Grammy nomination, as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, her 1990s rivals, had each already been nominated as well as winning. The song's downloads were not allowed to help it.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Angels"
  2. "Angels" (Stealth Remix)
  3. "Fly" (B-side)
  4. "Angels" (enhanced video)

RemixesEdit

  • "Angels" (album version) – 4:00
  • "Angels" (Dave Anthony Remix) – 4:53
  • "Angels" (Junior Vasquez World Mixshow) – 6:32
  • "Angels" (Stealth Remix) – 3:12
  • "Angels" (acoustic) – 4:07

ChartsEdit

Chart (2004) Position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[45] 27
Romanian Top 100[46] 78
US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[47] 6
US Billboard Pop Songs[48] 23

YuridiaEdit

"Ángel"
Single by Yuridia
from the album La Voz de un Ángel
Released2005
GenreLatin, pop
Length4:17
LabelSony BMG
Songwriter(s)Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers, Ray Heffernan
Yuridia singles chronology
"Ángel"
(2005)
"La Maldita Primavera"
(2006)

In 2005, Yuridia, former contestant of the popular Mexican show La Academia, released "Ángel", a Spanish version of the song which she had interpreted during her stay in the reality show, as her debut and lead single. In Mexico, as well as in other parts of Latin America, "Ángel", became an instant hit, leading her debut album of almost the same name to achieve Diamond status in Mexico and becoming one of the most recent best selling Mexican singers and the best female Mexican seller of the past decade. The singer received two gold certifications for 20,000 copies sold in Mexico.

Chart performanceEdit

"Ángel" reached 32 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart and La Voz de un Angel managed to climb into the top 20 on the Billboard Hot Latin Albums chart, peaking at 16. In Mexico the song became the most successful song of 2005, leading the charts during 13 week.

ChartsEdit

Chart 2005 Position
US Billboard Hot Latin Songs 32

Beverley KnightEdit

In March 2006, British soul singer Beverley Knight recorded a live gospel version of "Angels". The track, performed live on BBC Radio 2 with musician Guy Chambers, was included on her Voice - The Best Of Beverley Knight album. The inclusion came after Knight performed the song at the Live 8 concerts in July 2005.

All AngelsEdit

"Angels"
Single by All Angels
from the album All Angels
Released18 December 2006 (2006-12-18)
FormatCD
GenrePop
Length4:19
LabelUCJ (Universal)
Songwriter(s)Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers, Ray Heffernan
All Angels singles chronology
"Songbird"
(2006)
"Angels"
(2006)
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
(2007)

In December 2006, British classical crossover group All Angels released a cover version of Angels, with a classical touch to the song. Bookmakers put odds of 7-1 on them for getting a UK Christmas number-one single with their cover.

The single is the first ever Christmas single to be released in association with the Royal British Legion and their Poppy Appeal. Incidentally All Angels performed at the Festival of Remembrance (2006).

  • Track listing

CD single

  1. "Angels" – 3:18
  2. "Silent Night" – 3:14
  3. "Fly" – 3:45

David ArchuletaEdit

"Angels"
Single by David Archuleta
from the album David Archuleta
Released27 October 2008 (2008-10-27)
FormatDigital download
Recorded2008
GenrePop
Length3:33 (American Idol studio version)
4:09 (album version)
LabelJive
Songwriter(s)Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers, Ray Heffernan
David Archuleta singles chronology
"Crush"
(2008)
"Angels"
(2008)
"A Little Too Not Over You"
(2009)

David Archuleta initially covered this song during the 7th series of American Idol, in 2008. A studio version of this cover was produced and made available for purchase as a digital download exclusively via iTunes Store for a limited period.

Later in that year, he decided to re-record the song, with a different arrangement and production, for his debut album. The version is also available for digital purchase since 27 October 2008, when it was released to help promote the pre-order of Archuleta's album.

Formats and track listingsEdit

Digital download
  1. "Angels" (main version) — 4:09
  2. "Angels" (promotional version) — 3:33

Chart performanceEdit

Archuleta's version of the song has become the second highest charting version in the United States after the original performed by Robbie Williams. It managed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 at #89 due to digital downloads. On the Canadian Hot 100 the song peaked at #64.

ChartsEdit

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Canadian Hot 100 64
US Billboard Hot 100 89

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Radio 2 - Sold On Song - Brits25 - Angels - Robbie Williams". BBC. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Angels 'favourite funeral song'". BBC News. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Home". RobbieWilliams.com. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  4. ^ "RTL XL".
  5. ^ "Take That! Robbie joins top songwriters vying for special Brit - News, Music". The Independent. 2 January 2005. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  6. ^ brunolavelle (1 December 2006). "Ray Heffernan talks about Angels". Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ a b c "I played Robbie this song I'd been working on. It was called Angels". independent.ie. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b True Geordie (11 December 2017). "ROBBIE WILLIAMS - True Geordie Podcast #74". Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Angels, UK CD2, liner notes
  10. ^ a b "Olly Murs Unveils 'Hand On Heart' Video". MTV. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Robbie Williams - Angels". YouTube. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  12. ^ a b Myers, Justin (10 February 2016). "These are the UK's 20 biggest selling love ballads of all time". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Australia's Official Music Charts". ARIA Charts. Archived from the original on 2 November 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Angels 'favourite funeral song'". BBC News. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  15. ^ "World Cup 2018: Ronaldo and Robbie Williams star in opening ceremony". BBC. 14 June 2018.
  16. ^ Kreps, Daniel (24 June 2018). "Watch Taylor Swift, Robbie Williams Perform 'Angels' in London". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 15 May 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Robbie Williams - Angels CD Singles, Robbie Williams - Angels CDs, Buy Rare Robbie Williams - Angels CDs". Mattscdsingles.com. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Robbie Williams – Angels". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  19. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Robbie Williams – Angels" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Robbie Williams – Angels" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Robbie Williams – Angels" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  22. ^ "Robbie Williams: Danish Charts. artisteschartsventes.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Robbie Williams – Angels" (in French). Les classement single.
  24. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Robbie Williams – Angels". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  25. ^ "Íslenski Listinn NR. 253 Vikuna 25.12. 1997 - 01.01. 1998" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir. 27 December 1997. p. 47. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Angels". Irish Singles Chart.
  27. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Robbie Williams – Angels". Top Digital Download.
  28. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Robbie Williams" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  29. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Robbie Williams – Angels" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Charts.nz – Robbie Williams – Angels". Top 40 Singles.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Robbie Williams – Angels". Singles Top 100.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Robbie Williams – Angels". Swiss Singles Chart.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  35. ^ Top Pop Singles by Joel Whitburn, 12th ed., p. 1063
  36. ^ Chart positions for "Angels" in the United States
  37. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  38. ^ "Ultratop 50 Albums Wallonie 1998". Ultratop. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  39. ^ "Robbie Williams "Angels"". IFPI Denmark. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  40. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Certifications (Singles) du SNEP (les Singles en Argent)". Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  41. ^ "French single certifications – Robbie Williams – Angels" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  42. ^ "FIMI". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Robbie Williams – Angels". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Angels in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ "®R&R :: Going For Adds™ :: CHR/Top 40". Gfa.radioandrecords.com. 6 June 2004. Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  45. ^ Steffen Hung. "Jessica Simpson - Angels". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  46. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 10 May 2005. Archived from the original on 10 May 2005. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  47. ^ Hot Music Charts (1 March 2015). "Britney, Christina, Jessica, Mandy, Avril - Bubbling Under Hits". YouTube. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  48. ^ "Jessica Simpson". Billboard.com. Retrieved 10 October 2017.

External linksEdit