Believe (Cher song)

Believe (Cher song)
Single by Cher
from the album Believe
B-side "Believe" (Xenomania Mix)
Released October 18, 1998 (UK)
October 19, 1998 (France)
November 24, 1998 (US)
April 20, 1999 (Canada)
May 25, 1999 (Japan)
Format CD single, CD maxi-single, 7", 12"
Recorded 1998
Genre Dance-pop, house
Length 3:58
Label Warner Bros., Wea
Writer(s) Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, Matthew Gray, Timothy Powell
Producer Mark Taylor, Brian Rawling
Cher singles chronology
"Paradise Is Here"
"Strong Enough"
Cher European singles chronology
"The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)"
"Strong Enough"

"Believe" is a song by American recording artist Cher. It was released on November 24, 1998 as the lead single from her twenty-third studio album of the same name. It was written by Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennen, Paul Barry, Steven Torch, Matthew Gray, and Timothy Powell and produced by Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling. It has since become one of the best-selling singles of all time,[1] selling more than 10 million copies worldwide.[2] It won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording at the 42nd Grammy Awards and also received a nomination for Record of the Year.

Musically, "Believe" is a dance-pop song that incorporates elements of techno and house music and samples the songs "Prologue" and "Epilogue" by British rock group Electric Light Orchestra from their 1981 concept album Time. It also uses heavy amounts of Auto-Tune, which has since become one of the song's most notable features. The song has received generally positive reviews from music critics, with some calling the song "catchy" and the "best thing Cher has recorded in years". It topped the charts in more than ten countries worldwide, becoming one of the most commercially successful singles to date. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), selling more than 1 million in the United States.

An accompanying music video was directed by Nigel Dick and features Cher in a nightclub performing the song in two different sequences: one in which she is seen performing the song on stage and the other as a supernatural being locked in a cage.


Background and composition

As released, the single incorporates the work of six different songwriters, two producers and executive producer Rob Dickins, the erstwhile chairman of Warner Bros, but according to Mark Taylor the creation of "Believe" was a "strange one." Originally written by Brian Higgins, Matthew Gray, Stuart McLennen and Tim Powell and circulated on Warner as a demo for months, nobody wanted it. Mark Taylor said that:

"Everyone loved the chorus but not the rest of the song; As we were already writing other songs for Cher, Rob asked us if we could sort it out. Two of our writers, Steve Torch and Paul Barry, got involved and eventually came up with a complete song that Rob and Cher were happy with."[3]

Once the demo version was agreed, Mark and Brian took over for the actual production, working at Dreamhouse; Mark said:

"We knew the rough direction to take, because Rob had said he wanted to make a Cher dance record. The hard part was trying to make one that wouldn't alienate Cher's existing fans."[3]

The entire track was assembled with Cubase VST on an iMac G3 computer, with other synthesizers, including a Clavia Nord Rack and an Oberheim Matrix 1000, while Cher's vocals were recorded on three TASCAM DA88 digital audio recorders with a Neumann U67 vacuum tube-amplified microphone.[3]

The song was recorded approximately in ten days in Surrey, United Kingdom and also contains samples from the Electric Light Orchestra songs "Prologue" and "Epilogue."

The "Cher effect"

Cher's voice is altered by a pitch correction speed that is "set too fast for the audio that it is processing."[3] Producer Mark Taylor added the effect to Cher's vocal simply as a lark. In interviews at the time, he claimed to be testing out his recently purchased DigiTech Talker.[3] It later emerged that the effect was not created by a vocoder, but by using extreme (and then-unheard-of) settings on Antares Auto-Tune software.[3]

Taylor said about the effect that "this was the most nerve-wracking part of the project, because I wasn't sure what Cher would say when she heard what I'd done to her voice", but that when she heard it she said, "It sounds great."[3] When her record company requested that the effect be removed, she responded, "Over my dead body!".[4] After the massive success of the song, use of Auto-Tune became very popular and many other artists imitated this technique, and it would eventually become known as the "Cher effect".


Billboard gave the song a positive review, saying that the song is "the best darn thing that Cher has recorded in years".[5]

Chart performance

The song, recorded and released in 1998, peaked at number one in 23 countries worldwide.[6] On January 12, 1999, it reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one on the chart on March 2, making Cher the oldest female artist (at the age of 52)[7] to perform this feat. Cher also set the record for a solo artist with the longest span of time between #1 hits. Her previous #1 hit, "Dark Lady" had been in 1974. "Believe" also was ranked as the number-one song of 1999 by Billboard on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Dance Club Play charts, and became the biggest single in her entire career. In the United Kingdom, "Believe" spent seven weeks at number one,[8] and became the biggest-selling single of 1998 on the British charts. As of January 2011 "Believe" is still the best selling single by a female artist overall in Britain.[9] According to The Official Charts Company, the song has sold 1,672,000 copies there.

The success of the song not only expanded through each country's singles chart, but also most countries' dance charts. In the United States "Believe" spent 23 weeks on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart, five of those weeks at #1, and 22 weeks on the European Hot Dance Charts. "Believe" also set a record in 1999 after spending 21 weeks in the top spot of the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, it was still in the top ten even one year after its entry on the chart.[10]

On 13 October 2008, the song was voted #10 on Australian VH1's Top 10 Number One Pop Songs countdown. "Believe" was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Dance Recording at 42nd Grammy Awards, the latter of which it won.

Music video

The official music video for "Believe", directed by Nigel Dick, features Cher in a nightclub in a double role as singer on stage, and wears a glowy headdress and as supernatural being in a cage (with auto-tuned voice), surrounded by many people to whom she is giving advice. The video includes a woman who is in club and looking for her ex-boyfriend and broken hearted and feels that she cannot go on when she sees her ex-boyfriend with a new a girlfriend. The version on The Very Best of Cher: The Video Hits Collection is slightly different to the previous version (the version that is also included on the Mallay Believe Bonus VCD) with additional scenes towards the end that were not in the original video. There are also 2 'rough' versions of the video as the song was released in The UK and Europe before a video was completed. The first is a compilation of scenes from the videos of Cher's previous singles "One by One" and "Walkin' in Memphis" and the second includes a brief scene of the Believe video where Cher sings the chorus while the rest of the video is composed of scenes from "One by One".

Three official remix videos exist for this song. Two of the remix videos were created by Dan-O-Rama in 1999. Both follow different concepts from the original unmixed video. Instead of showing the significance of the lyrics the videos mostly show Cher with different colored backgrounds and people dancing. The two remixes used for these videos were the Almighty Definitive Mix and the Club 69 Phunk Club Mix. The third video entitled Wayne G. Remix was released by Warner Bros. and the concept is similar to the Club 69 Phunk Club Mix video.

Cher performed the song during the Do You Believe? Tour, The Farewell Tour and the Cher at the Colosseum. While she would lip-synch the entire song on various television programs[original research?], she would only lip-synch the synthesized verses when performing on her Believe and Farewell tours, the Colosseum shows and on the 2002 edition of VH1 Divas Live.[original research?] Since 1999, the song has been the encore to all of Cher's concerts.

Formats and track listings

US CD single[11]

  1. "Believe" (album version) – 3:59
  2. "Believe" (Xenomania Mix) – 4:20

US/Canadian maxi single[12]

  1. "Believe" (album version) – 3:59
  2. "Believe" (Phat 'N' Phunky Club Mix) – 7:42
  3. "Believe" (Club 69 Phunk Club Mix) – 8:44
  4. "Believe" (Almighty Definitive Mix) – 7:36
  5. "Believe" (Xenomania Mad Tim and the Mekon Club Mix) – 9:15
  6. "Believe" (Club 69 Future Anthem Mix) – 9:20
  7. "Believe" (Grips Heartbroken Mix) – 9:12
  8. "Believe" (Club 69 Future Anthem Dub) – 7:33
  9. "Believe" (Club 69 Phunk Dub) – 7:04
  10. "Believe" (Phat 'N' Phunky 'After Luv' Dub) – 6:22

European/UK CD single version 1[13]

  1. "Believe" (album version) – 4:01
  2. "Believe" (Almighty Definitive Mix) – 7:38
  3. "Believe" (Xenomania Mix) – 4:20

European/UK CD Single version 2[14]

  1. "Believe" (album version) – 3:58
  2. "Believe" (Grips Heartbroken Mix) – 9:12
  3. "Believe" (Club 69 Future Mix) – 6:50

Official versions

  • Main version (4:01)
  • Edit (3:45)
  • Radio mix (3:30)
  • Radio edit (3:58)
  • Video edit (3:55)
  • A cappella (2:43)
  • Almighty Definite Mix (7:35)
  • Almighty Essential Mix (8:03)
  • Almighty Definitive Radio Edit (4:46)
  • Almighty Definitive Video Remix Version (5:12)
  • Club 69 Anthem Mix = Club 69 Anthem Mix Edit (5:26)
  • Club 69 Future Anthem Mix (9:20)
  • Club 69 Future Anthem Dub (7:35)
  • Club 69 Future Anthem Dub Edit (7:13)
  • Club 69 Future Dub (7:45)
  • Club 69 Future Mix (9:14)
  • Club 69 Future Mix Edit (6:50)
  • Club 69 Phunk Club Mix = Phat 'N' Dolls Remix Edit (8:43)
  • Club 69 Phunk Dub (7:04)
  • Club 69 Phunk Video Mix (4:54)
  • Extended album version – Roger's Resumed Mix (5:40)
  • Grip's Heartbroken Mix (9:12)
  • Grips Heaven Dub (6:50)
  • Love to Infinity Power Mix = LTI Mad Mix (7:01)
  • Phat 'N' Phunky After Luv Dub (6:22)
  • Phat 'N' Phunky After Luv Dub Edit (6:07)
  • Phat 'N' Phunky Club Mix (7:42)
  • Xenomania Mix (4:20)
  • Xenomania Mad Tim and the Mekon Club Mix (9:15)
  • Wayne G. Heaven Anthem Mix (9:48)


Weekly charts

Chart (1998)[15] Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[16] 1
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[17] 1
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Belgian Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Danish Singles Chart 1
Dutch Mega Top 50 Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 1
European Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 1
Finnish Singles Chart 6
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 1
New Zealand's Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Spanish Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swedish Airplay Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart[18] 1

Annual charts

Country (1998) Position
Australia[19] 43
Austria[20] 16
Belgium (Flanders)[21] 4
Germany[22] 14
Netherlands[23] 82
Switzerland[24] 18
UK[25] 1
Country (1999) Position
Australia[26] 6
Austria[27] 21
Germany[28] 38
Netherlands[29] 9
Switzerland[30] 8
U.S.[31] 1

End of decade charts

Chart (1990–1999) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[32] 31

All-time charts

Country Position
UK[33] 16[A]
  • A ^ This is the biggest selling single by a female artist ever in UK Chart history.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[34] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[35] Platinum 30,000x
France (SNEP)[36] Diamond 750,000*
Germany (BVMI)[37] 5× Gold 1,250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[38] Platinum 75,000^
New Zealand (RIANZ)[39] Gold 7,500*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[40] 2× Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (IFPI Sweden)[41] 3× Platinum 90,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[42] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] 2× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] Platinum 1,000,000^

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


Preceded by
for Ray of Light
Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording
Succeeded by
Baha Men
for Who Let the Dogs Out?
Preceded by
"Candle in the Wind 1997" by Elton John
Top selling single of the year (UK)
Succeeded by
"...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears
Preceded by
"Gym And Tonic" by Spacedust
UK Singles Chart number-one single
October 25, 1998 - December 6, 1998
Succeeded by
"To You I Belong" by B*Witched
Preceded by
"Irreplaceable" by Kerri Ann
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
November 14, 1998 - December 19, 1998
Succeeded by
"Goodbye" by Spice Girls
Preceded by
"Chanter pour ceux qui sont loin de chez eux" by Lââm
Belgian (Wallonia) number-one single
January 2, 1999 - February 16, 1999
Succeeded by
"Mais qui est la belette ?" by Manau
Preceded by
"Goodbye" by Spice Girls
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
January 10, 1999
Succeeded by
"Take Me There" by Blackstreet featuring Mýa, Mase and Blinky Blink
Preceded by
"Big Big World" by Emilia
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
January 16, 1999
Succeeded by
"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" by The Offspring
Preceded by
"Mais qui est la belette ?" by Manau
French SNEP Singles Chart number-one single
January 23, 1999
Succeeded by
"Tu m'oublieras" by Larusso
Preceded by
"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" by The Offspring
Australia ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
January 24, 1999 - February 21, 1999
Succeeded by
"..Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears
Preceded by
"Angel of Mine" by Monica
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
March 13, 1999 - April 3, 1999
Succeeded by
"No Scrubs" by TLC
Preceded by
"The First Night" by Monica
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
December 12, 1998 - January 9, 1999
Succeeded by
"Up and Down" by Vengaboys
Preceded by
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith
Billboard Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
November 21, 1998 - February 20, 1999
Succeeded by
"Big Big World" by Emilia


  1. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 1999". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  2. ^ Cashmere, Paul (2003-09-09). "Cher and Share Alike". Archived from the original on 2005-11-12. Retrieved 2005-11-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Jonpaulusa (February 1999, with later correction appended). "Recording Cher's 'Believe'". Sound On Sound. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  4. ^ Neil Strauss (March 11, 1999). "Cher Resurrected, Again, by a Hit; The Long, Hard but Serendipitous Road to 'Believe'". New York Times ( Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  5. ^ Single reviews. Billboard
  6. ^ ""Believe" #1 in 23 countries". Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  7. ^ "Record-Breakers and Trivia". Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  8. ^ "List of UK Number 1's 1990's". Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Record-Breakers and Trivia -". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  10. ^ ""Believe" Dance Singles Sales record". Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  11. ^ "Believe Single". 
  12. ^ "Believe Single". 
  13. ^ "Believe Single". 
  14. ^ "Believe Single". 
  15. ^ "Believe", in various Singles Charts . Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  16. ^
  17. ^ - Cher - Believe
  18. ^ UK Singles Chart [1] . Retrieved October 31, 2010.
  19. ^ Australian Recording Industry Association (1998). "ARIA charts — End of year charts". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  20. ^ 1998 Austrian Singles Chart [2] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  21. ^ 1999 Belgium Ultratop [3] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  22. ^ 1998 German Singles Chart [4] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  23. ^ 1998 Dutch Top 40 [5] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  24. ^ 1998 Swiss Singles Chart [6] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  25. ^ Official UK singles chart (1998). "UK charts; End of year charts". Retrieved 2009-05-23. [dead link]
  26. ^ Australian Recording Industry Association (1999). "ARIA charts — End of year charts". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  27. ^ 1999 Austrian Singles Chart [7] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  28. ^ 1999 German Singles Chart [8] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  29. ^ 1999 Dutch Top 40 [9] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  30. ^ 1999 Swiss Singles Chart [10] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  31. ^ The Billboard Hot 100 1999 [11] . Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  32. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  33. ^ "U.K. all-time chart". Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  34. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  35. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Cher – Believe" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Cher in the field Interpret. Enter Believe in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
  36. ^ "French single certifications – Cher – Believe" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  37. ^ "German single certifications – Cher – Believe" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  38. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Cher – Believe" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  39. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Cher – Believe". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 
  40. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Cher – Believe" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  41. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (in Swedish) (PDF). IFPI Sweden. 
  42. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Cher; 'Believe')". Hung Medien. 
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Cher – Believe". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Believe in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  44. ^ "American single certifications – Cher – Believe". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links

  • About Cher on the official Cher site (mentions "Believe")

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