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Chart Rewind: In 1996, Celine Dion Hit No. 1, ‘Because’ Of Course She Did

"I feel like it was a leap in my craft," songwriter Diane Warren told Billboard in 2018 of "Because You Loved Me," which Celine Dion took to No. 1 on the Hot 100 dated March 23, 1996.

“I feel like it was a leap in my craft,” songwriter Diane Warren told Billboard in 2018 of “Because You Loved Me,” which Celine Dion took to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated March 23, 1996.

“I felt that when I wrote that song, it was better than I was at the time, if that makes sense,” Warren mused. “I was like, ‘Whoa, this is probably my best song.’ There’s something lyrically about it.”

That Warren would rate the song so highly is especially impressive given her success to that point. The ballad, inspired by her father’s support of her music early on, became her 22nd Hot 100 top 10 and sixth No. 1. She’s since upped her totals to 32 top 10s and nine No. 1s.

“Because” also marked a new best for Dion: Her second of four Hot 100 No. 1s reigned for six weeks, passing the four-week rule of her first leader, “The Power of Love,” in 1994. In 1998, she topped the chart two more times, with her Titanic smash “My Heart Will Go On,” for two weeks, and “I’m Your Angel,” her R. Kelly duet that went on to match the six-week command of “Because” for her career best.

Also notably, “Because” dethroned the then-longest-leading hit in Hot 100 history: Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s 16-week No. 1 “One Sweet Day,” a mark that Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, tied in 2017 and Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, topped with its 19-week domination in 2019.

“Because” was released as the lead single from both Falling Into You, Dion’s first No. 1 Billboard 200 album (of five, through 2019’s Courage), and the Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer film Up Close and Personal. Despite her hit track record, Warren still had to convince director Jon Avnet to make the song the movie’s theme. “He wasn’t telling me for a couple months,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘You know this song’s the one. Come on.’ “

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The song garnered Warren her lone Grammy Award to date, for best song written for a motion picture or television, and her second Academy Award nomination for best original song; she earned her 12th and most recent Oscar nod in 2021 for “Io sì (Seen),” with Laura Pausini, who recorded it in Italian. The song is from the film The Life Ahead, starring Sophia Loren.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had a song in another language in a movie,” Warren said recently. “People are really responding to it. They say, ‘The song made me cry, and I don’t even know what it’s saying.’ “