The album was such a brilliant fusion of country, pop and rock that it quickly solidified Twain’s legacy, with 11 of the 16 songs hitting the top 30 on the Hot Country Songs chart (8 of which were in the top 10, including three No. 1s). What’s more, Come On Over has sold 15.7 million copies in the U.S. to date – the top-selling country album and the best-selling album by a female artist in any genre in Nielsen music history, since the company started tracking sales in 1991.
Certified Diamond by the RIAA on April 7, 1999, Come On Over sent Twain around the world touring for a year-and-a-half straight, with the album’s final single being released in 2000. Though Come On Over’s success was legendary, Twain today admits, “the album was outlasting me,” which partially accounted for the eventual 15-year break the singer-songwriter took before picking things up where she left off earlier this year with her fifth LP, Now, which topped the Billboard 200 albums chart.
In honor of the album’s 20th anniversary, Billboard chatted with the superstar about how she approached following up her first Diamond record, why she wanted to push the limits with Come On Over, and the impact the album had on her career from 1997 to Now. Below, see an edited transcript of her look back.
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We were very surprised by how big The Woman in Me became in the first place. So that was already something that went beyond my expectations. I really just felt very lucky, and wasn’t sure that it was even possible to get another Diamond album off the back of that one.
I didn’t tour off The Woman in Me, and that was partly because I really felt I needed more powerful music under my belt to get out and do a really powerful show, and one where I wasn’t doing any covers -- I’d spent my whole career up until then doing covers to make a living. It was important to me to focus a lot on the songwriting, and not be touring at the same time.
One thing I learned [from] the gap between the first two [LPs] was that you can’t rush writing good songs -- you’ve got to take your time, you can’t be distracted doing other things. I can only speak for myself, but I was looking around me and noticing a lot of other artists were putting out a lot more records. They were putting out a record once a year, or once every two years, and they were getting one song hit off the album, and then that was pretty much it. And it just felt like it was a trend for me in the way I was working, and the way Mutt was also working, that it just takes longer to make a truly great album, if you want it to be that great.