On this day in music history: March 13, 1999 -…

On this day in music history: March 13, 1999 – “Believe” by Cher hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks, also topping the Club Play chart for 4 weeks on December 12, 1998. Written by Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, Matthew Gray and Timothy Powell, it is the fourth solo chart topping single (fifth overall) for the pop music icon and Academy Award winning actress. After focusing on her film career for much of the 90’s, Cher turns her attention back music when she signs to the UK division of Warner Bros Records in 1998. Working with dance music producers including Junior Vasquez, Todd Terry, Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling, it will be the singer’s first dance oriented album in nearly twenty years since the release of her Casablanca albums “Take Me Home” and “Prisoner”. Rather than going for the retro-disco sounds of those works, the new material is cutting edge and in step with the current techno dance phenomenon dominating the club music scene. British songwriter and producers Taylor and Rawling (Gina G, Danni Minogue), presents Cher with the song “Believe”. She asks them to re-write the lyrics a number of times before agreeing to record the song. After recording Cher’s vocals, the producers hit upon the idea of processing some of the vocals with a Digitech Talker (aka “Autotune” processor). At first, they are nervous to play the track with the altered vocals, but once Cher hears what they’ve done, she immediately loves it. Warner Bros initially does not like the autotuned vocals and wants the effect removed, but the singer insists they remain as they are. “Believe” is an immediate smash in the UK, spending seven weeks at number one. Warner Bros in the US picks up the record for release on the back of its UK chart success. Entering the Hot 100 at #99 on December 20, 1998, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. Cher makes history by having the longest time span between her first number one single (“I Got You Babe”) and “Believe”, which is thirty three years, seven months and three weeks. She also becomes the second oldest artist in Billboard chart history to top the Hot 100 (Louis Armstrong is the record holder at sixty two years, ten months and one week old at the time “Hello Dolly” is at number one), as she is fifty three years, nine months and three weeks old at the time “Believe” tops the chart. The single is also a massive worldwide hit, topping the charts in twenty three countries. “Believe”  wins Cher her first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2000, also receiving a nomination for Record Of The Year. “Believe” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.