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"Torn" is a song written by Scott Cutler, Anne Preven and Phil Thornalley in 1993. It was first recorded that year in Danish (renamed "Brændt", Danish for "Burned") by singer Lis Sørensen, then two years later by Cutler and Preven's American alternative rock band Ednaswap, and in 1996 by American-Norwegian singer Trine Rein.

"Torn"
Single Ednaswap Torn Cover.png
Single by Ednaswap
from the album Ednaswap
Released1995
FormatCD single
Genre
LabelEastwest
Songwriter(s)Scott Cutler, Anne Preven, Phil Thornalley
Producer(s)Phil Thornalley
Ednaswap singles chronology
"Glow"
(1995)
"Torn"
(1995)

"Torn" is best known as Australian pop singer Natalie Imbruglia's 1997 debut single, which peaked at number one on singles charts in Belgium, Denmark, Canada, Spain and Sweden and on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 charts. It reached number two on the ARIA Singles Chart and the Italian, Swiss and United Kingdom charts.

Contents

Original versionEdit

"Torn" was written in 1993 by Scott Cutler and Anne Preven with producer Phil Thornalley as a solo song for Preven. Cutler and Preven's band Ednaswap performed it live.[1]

The first recording of the song was in 1993 by the Danish singer Lis Sørensen as "Brændt" (Burned) after it was translated by Elisabeth Gjerluff Nielsen.

Ednaswap released a recorded version in 1995. The song followed the single "Glow" from their eponymous debut album. Thornalley and Cutler produced the session.

The band later released several variations and remixes of the song as B-sides and on their album Wacko Magneto.

The song has been covered several times by different artists, first by Norwegian singer Trine Rein in 1996.

Natalie Imbruglia versionEdit

"Torn"
 
Single by Natalie Imbruglia
from the album Left of the Middle
B-side"Sometimes"
"Frightened Child"
"Contradictions"
"Diving in the Deep End"
Released27 October 1997
FormatCD
RecordedSeptember 1997
Genre
Length4:04
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Phil Thornalley
Natalie Imbruglia singles chronology
"Torn"
(1997)
"Big Mistake"
(1998)
Audio sample
"Torn"

In 1997, Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia, working with Thornalley, covered the song for her debut studio album Left of the Middle (1997). Imbruglia's version was recorded in Kilburn, London with David Munday (lead guitar), Phil Thornalley (bass, rhythm guitars), Chuck Sabo (drums), Henry Binns, Sam Hardaker (Zero 7) (drum programming) and Katrina Leskanich (background vocals). It was mixed by Nigel Godrich. Released as a single, Imbruglia's version became a worldwide hit.

For the track, Imbruglia received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, losing to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On". The music video for "Torn" features British actor Jeremy Sheffield.

Imbruglia also recorded an acoustic version of the song in 2001 for MTV Unplugged.

Music videoEdit

The music video to Natalie Imbruglia's cover version, directed by Alison Maclean, features a shot of an apartment that never changes its angle of vision. Shots of Imbruglia singing along with the song are interspersed with footage of her and British actor Jeremy Sheffield engaging in a romantically inclined conversation. These couple of scenes turn out to be B-roll footage, as the two actors are seen fumbling their lines and positions; and the director constantly steps into frame to redirect the two. During the last chorus, the apartment walls start wobbling and the crew comes to dismantle it, revealing the location to be a set inside a soundstage. Imbruglia begins to dance during the finishing guitar solo as her "world" crumbles around her.[3]

The song was pantomimed by David Armand for a 2005 HBO broadcast which spread on the internet. This popularity of the "Karaoke for the Deaf" performance by Armand as Johan Lippowitz resulted in the 2006 live performance (Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball) with Imbruglia where she sings "Torn" and then joins into the "interpretive dance" pantomime featuring both Armand and Imbruglia acting out the words of the song.[4]

Track listingEdit

BMG international single / UK CD single #1
  1. "Torn" (4:06)
  2. "Sometimes" (3:52)
  3. "Frightened Child" (1:37)
UK CD single #2
  1. "Torn" (4:06)
  2. "Contradictions" (4:07)
  3. "Diving in the Deep End" (3:30)
UK cassette single
  1. "Torn" (4:06)
  2. "Sometimes" (3:52) (incorrectly listed on reverse sleeve as 5:51)
Europe CD single
  1. "Torn" (4:06)
  2. "Diving in the Deep End" (3:54)

Chart performanceEdit

The physical single of Imbruglia's version of the song has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, including more than 1 million copies in the UK alone.[5] In the UK, it is the 85th biggest selling single of all time.[6] The track peaked at #2 for three weeks, being held off the top spot by Aqua's "Barbie Girl" and then dropped to #4. On 24 September 2007, Natalie Imbruglia's version of the song re-entered the UK Singles Chart at #70, on the strength of digital sales after her greatest hits album was released. In the Flanders region of Belgium, the single peaked at a number one for 7 consecutive weeks and charted for 22 weeks. On the all-time Ultratop charts, it maintains a position of #107.

As of 2011, "Torn" holds the record for most played song on Australian radio since 1990, played more than 300,500 times since its 1997 release, an average of 75 times a day, based on data compiled by the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA).[7]

In the United States, the song peaked at #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for 11 consecutive weeks. However, as a result of rules preventing tracks which had not been released as physical singles from charting on the Billboard Hot 100, the song did not chart there during its peak of popularity in the United States. When the song was declining in popularity, the rules changed to allow airplay-only songs onto the chart, and the song charted for 2 weeks, peaking at number 42.

In 2013, "Torn" was declared the No. 1 Best Pop Song on a top 10 list, part of a larger collection of songs by Q magazine in their special edition 1001 Best Songs Ever issue.[8] Billboard ranked "Torn" the No. 26 Biggest Pop Song based only on pop radio charts compiled between 1992 and 2012.[9] "Torn" remained the 19th most played song in the UK from 2001 to 2010.[10] In 2005, "Torn" was listed at No. 383 on Blender magazine's list of "500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[11]

"Torn" is the 6th most streamed pre-2000 solo female song on Spotify at 188 million streams, behind Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You (370 million), Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody (262 million), Tracy Chapman's Fast Car (247 million), Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun (225 million) and Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You (190 million).

Charts and certificationsEdit

Rouge versionEdit

"Amor é Ilusão"
 
Single by Rouge
from the album Mil e Uma Noites
ReleasedSeptember 27, 2005 (2005-09-27)
Format
Recorded2002
Genre
Length4:06
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Rick Bonadio
Rouge singles chronology
"Vem Habib (Wala Wala)"
(2005)
"Amor é Ilusão"
(2005)
"Bailando"
(2018)

In 2005, Brazilian girl group Rouge recorded a Portuguese version of the song, titled "O Amor é Ilusão" (lit.: "Love is an illusion"), included in the group's 2005 fourth studio album Mil e Uma Noites. It was the album's second and last single, and their last overall until "Bailando" in 2018.

The lyrics were written by Milton Guedes, who co-wrote their hits "Não Dá pra Resistir", "Beijo Molhado", and others, with production by Rick Bonadio.

BackgroundEdit

After three studio albums, their record label Sony BMG demanded a compilation album, against the band members' wishes. At the time, rumors of their breakup circulated in the press, and they felt a new release would help dispel those allegations. Mil e Uma Noites was eventually released as a compromise, with most tracks being previously released hits, plus six all-new tracks.[64]

As always, the album featured songs originally in English rewritten for Portuguese, including "Torn".[65] After the success of the album's first single "Vem Habib (Wala Wala)", "O Amor é Ilusão" was announced as the follow-up and released in late September.[65]

This version keeps most of the original's lyrical themes, about a lost love who gradually drifts away from the narrator.

ChartsEdit

Chart (2005) Peak
position
Brazil (Brasil Hot 100 Airplay)[66] 23

Covers and remixesEdit

The first recorded version of the song was a translation by Danish singer Lis Sørensen, "Brændt" (which translates to "Burnt" in English), in 1993. Sørensen's version has a classic rock acoustic feel, and at 4:38 is somewhat longer than any of the other versions. Stylistically it is very close to Imbruglia's version, most likely because (as Preven has said in an interview) their early demo was almost exactly like Imbruglia's version. There are also some similarities to the Ednaswap version, including a longer bridge and a very long outro. The outro does not include the guitar solo at the end.

The second version of the song can be found on Ednaswap's self-titled first album. The sound is much darker than Imbruglia's version, but has an almost identical structure. It is characterized by haunting and somewhat harsh electric guitars, a longer bridge that does not include a breakdown (which the Imbruglia version, Trine Rein version and Lis Sørenson version all do), and a very long outro that fades out before it is finished. The bridge is the only part of the song where the acoustic guitar chords that are prominent in every other version can be easily heard.

After Ednaswap released their original album, it was covered by Norwegian singer Trine Rein on her 1996 album Beneath My Skin. Trine Rein's version is almost exactly like Imbruglia's version (and is even in English), but has a much more melodramatic feel, with piano chord hits throughout and harder electric guitar accents. The Trine Rein version has a similar bridge to Lis Sørenson's version, as long as the original Ednaswap version, but with a breakdown like Imbruglia copied.

In 1996, Ednaswap released a completely retooled version on Chicken. The song is much slower and has a sparser texture. The first verse is very subtle, and kicks into high gear after the first chorus. There is no bridge, and a very short outro without the guitar solo that is in almost every version. In all, it is presented as a power ballad and sounds much "rawer" and harder than the other versions.

In 1997, Ednaswap released Wacko Magneto, which has a remixed version of the song from the "Chicken" EP. The only difference between the two are the imperceptible background vocal effects and screeching guitars at some points of the song.

In 1998, Ednaswap released a "Radio Mix" of the song on their single "Back on the Sun." There are many electronic accents throughout the song. There is no bridge, and the outro is sung by Ednaswaps's lead singer Anne Preven rather than played on an electric guitar.

Other covers include those done by dance cover artist Natalie Browne, punk band Off by One, rock band Hands Like Houses, and many Latin American artists.

The Uzbek band Bolalar has recorded a version of Natalie Imbruglia's cover called "Sogʻindim ishon" ("Believe me, I miss you").

Reggae fusion artist Terro 3000 sampled the song in 2008 on his song "This Is How I Feel". The song appeared in the television series Charmed, in the episode "I've Got You Under My Skin". In October 2011, Megan Mullally and Casey Wilson performed the song together on the sitcom Happy Endings, in the episode "Yesandwitch". The Australian comedy band The Axis of Awesome sang the chorus of the song in their 4-chord song mashup of pop hits with the same 4 chords.

In Chile, Imbruglia's versión of the song was soundtrack of TVN soap opera Separados.

In 2014, Australian rock band Hands Like Houses covered the song for Punk Goes 90s Vol. 2.

In May 2017, Alex Lahey covered the song on Triple J, Like a Version.

In October 2017, the New York-based international gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello covered the song for an episode of the A.V. Club.

In September 2018, the Welsh pop-punk band Neck Deep covered the song for the Songs That Saved My Life compilation album from Hopeless Records.

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit