The Story of... 'You're Still The One' by Shania Twain

25 August 2023, 11:15

The story behind Shania Twain's enormously successful country pop crossover ballad, 'You're Still The One'.
The story behind Shania Twain's enormously successful country pop crossover ballad, 'You're Still The One'. Picture: Mercury Records

By Thomas Edward

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"You're still the one I run to, the one that I belong to."

Those are the unforgettable opening lyrics to Shania Twain's hugely successful country pop crossover ballad, 'You're Still The One'.

They are words that have been echoed by couples ever since its release - words that reinforce relationships that may have had rocky periods but have ridden through them.

It's that universal sentiment which is likely why it's considered to be one of the most heartfelt, enduring, and popular songs of Shania's illustrious career.

But who wrote the song? What's the backstory? Was it a success after it was released? Here's all you need to know:

Who wrote 'You’re Still The One'?

Shania Twain - You’re Still The One (Official Music Video)

'You're Still The One' was co-written by Shania Twain and her long-time producer Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, who was also her husband.

At the time, Shania described the song as her "own personal victory song". The theme of the song is about "the kind of triumph you feel, when you have a successful relationship and you win against the odds".

In her 2012 autobiography, From This Moment On, she revealed that they worked on the song separately, but later put their heads together.

When she sang the chorus over again and again while figuring out the perfect lyrics, Lange came up with the counter-melody as backing vocals, leaving Twain "feeling very excited."

What’s the story behind the song?

Shania Twain faced continued criticism about her marriage to producer 'Mutt' Lange. (Photo by Gareth Davies/Getty Images)
Shania Twain faced continued criticism about her marriage to producer 'Mutt' Lange. (Photo by Gareth Davies/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

'You're Still The One' is about Shania and Mutt's love for one another, and fighting through the odds despite the increasing amount of naysayers about their relationship.

After first working together in 1993, their relationship soon became romantic which drew criticism from all quarters because of their differing cultural backgrounds, and Mutt was seventeen years her senior.

One critic even claimed Mutt was "a Svengali-like producer who demands total control in the studio and treats Twain as a puppet".

Obviously, this angered Shania, knowing people didn't believe their love was real, it wouldn't last between them, and that Mutt was simply using her to better his own career.

So they wrote 'You're Still The One' together as an ode to their marriage, expressing that love conquers all despite the many doubts.

As history tells us though, the naysayers were ultimately correct - ten years after the song was released, and after seventeen years of marriage, the couple divorced as Mutt had an affair with Shania's best friend.

Why was the song re-recorded?

Shania became a global star after the release of crossover album, Come On Over. (Photo By Michael Okoniewski/Getty Images)
Shania became a global star after the release of crossover album, Come On Over. (Photo By Michael Okoniewski/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Shania was a country sensation by that point, though record executives at Mercury Records felt she had the potential to be a star outside of the country music world.

They chose 'You're Still The One' to be the first single from her lauded 1997 album Come On Over that was sent to pop-playing radio stations, but felt it needed to grab the attention of the mainstream pop charts.

By removing the steel guitar and dampening down the fiddle in the final worldwide recording, it had less of a standard country music sound, making the track a country pop crossover hit in the process.

However, the record company was wary about alienating Shania's growing fanbase in the country music realm.

Label boss Luke Lewis said at the time: "We don't want to wreck a career just because we want to maximize a record."

"Shania's concerned about it, too. But at some point it becomes unfair to an artist to say, 'We're not going to get as much exposure as possible, because we might piss off some people at Country.'"

How did ‘You’re Still The One’ perform after it was released?

Shania Twain - You're Still The One (Live)

Safe to say that 'You're Still The One' was an outstanding success for Shania Twain, both commercially and critically.

She achieved the crossover hit she aimed for, and subsequently became one of the biggest pop stars in the world, gaining the moniker the 'Queen Of Country Pop' at the same time.

A top ten hit on the UK and US Billboard charts, 'You're Still The One' went to number one in Australia and scored four nominations at the Grammy Awards, winning Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

To this day, Come On Over is the best-selling country album ever, the best-selling album by a Canadian artist, and one of the top ten best-selling albums of all time.

Why was the music video deemed controversial?

The music video for &squot;You&squot;re Still The One&squot; was deemed too "sexual" by the country music community.
The music video for 'You're Still The One' was deemed too "sexual" by the country music community. Picture: Mercury Records

Much of Shania Twain's fanbase at the time 'You're Still The One' was released was made up of the country music community.

Traditionally, country music fans hold more conservative views, and many of them were outraged after seeing the accompanying music video.

Inspired by the cinema from the classic age of Hollywood, complete with dramatic lighting and black-and-white tones, the music video sees Shania writhing on a Malibu beach in a silk dress with wet hair.

When the video was deemed too sexual by country music critics, Shania responded by saying that was "totally ridiculous".

She replied: "There is nothing revealing about it. I'm wrapped up to the gills. The video is sensual and has a surreal feel about it, but there is nothing sexual about it. When you start kissing and touching, it's sexual. But sensual? That's fine, in my opinion — it's a very romantic song."

Has anyone else ever covered 'You’re Still The One'?

Harry Styles, Kacey Musgraves - You're Still The One (Cover) Live at Madison Square Garden - 4K

As one of Shania Twain's most beloved ballads, 'You're Still The One' has had many admirers from within the music industry.

The likes of Harry Styles, Kelly Clarkson, Elton John collaborator Rina Sawayama, Teddy Swims, Michael Ball, and Tim McGraw have all covered the gentle country pop song in recent years.

However, the most impressive - at least in Shania's eyes - was when Prince covered the song under the title 'Ur'e Still the One' as a duet with Marva King.

Shania gushed about Prince's version after hearing it, saying: "It was very Prince-esque. And that version made the most impact on me. I realized that, wow, really this song could live anywhere genre-wise and style-wise".