Twenty-one years ago today (Dec. 25, 1999) was a Christmas to remember for Faith Hill: It was on that date that the singer landed at the top of the country charts with her hit single, “Breathe;” the song stayed in the No. 1 spot for an astonishing six weeks.
“Breathe,” written by Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar, was the lead-off single from and title track of Hill’s fourth studio album. With sexy lines such as, “I can feel you breathe / It’s washing over me / Suddenly I’m melting into you / There’s nothing left to prove / Baby, all we need is just to be / Caught up in the touch / The slow and steady rush / Baby, isn’t that the way that love’s supposed to be? / I can feel you breathe / Just breathe,” the song also became Hill’s first and only No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart, where it remained for 17 weeks; crossed over and peaked at No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100; and was named the No. 1 single overall on Billboard‘s year-end countdown in 2000.
The success of “Breathe” was undoubtedly assisted by the song’s accompanying music video, which shows Hill, dressed only in a sheet, rolling around in a bed. While some found the video too racy, it propelled Hill’s image as a sexy singer and helped launch her crossover success into the pop world; the video also won the Mississippi native an ACM award, for Video of the Year.
“Breathe” won a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, and the album won Best Country Album. In addition, the success of the single helped Hill win both an ACM and a CMA for Female Vocalist of the Year.
The record Breathe, which includes one more No. 1 hit, “The Way You Love Me,” has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide; the single “Breathe” is also featured on Hill’s 2001 album, There You’ll Be, as well as 2007’s The Hits.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
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