One of the most iconic and recognizable songs in the history of music and movies is about to turn 20 years old in 2017. When Céline Dion recorded "My Heart Will Go On" in May of 1997, she helped bolt the movie "Titanic" to the top of the box office as viewers flocked to theaters time and time again to not only view history put in motion but to fall for the love story between Jack and Rose. "My Heart Will Go On" was released on Dec. 8, 1997 on CD, cassette and 12". The love theme has since become Dion's signature song.
Director James Cameron initially didn't want a theme song for his masterpiece. Musicians James Horner and Will Jennings had composed a song that went along with the motifs throughout the film and at first, Dion didn't want to record the song after the success of "Beauty and the Beast." However, Horner met with Simon Franglen who was working on pieces of the score and he had worked with Dion in the past. Franglen programmed and arranged a demo that would be taken to Dion and was convinced by her husband and manager René Angélil to put her voice on the demo, something she had not done in some time. The rest is history.
Dion did the song in one take and left the room speechless. It was perfect the first time around and Horner waited until the perfect moment to present Cameron the track to be used in the end credits. Cameron listened several times and gave it the green light so Franglen expanded on the demo and mixed it for the soundtrack. This version is different from the one that appears on Céline Dion's 1997 record Let's Talk About Love. There are added guitars and strings as well as rearranged portions, the end chorus in particular. Another version appeared with dialogue from the movie and was included on a second soundtrack.
"My Heart Will Go On" debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with 360,000 in sales. It would spend two weeks on the now non-existent Hot 100 Singles Sales chart and 10 weeks on the Hot 100 Airplay (those two charts are now merged in what is now the Hot 100 songs chart). Once the film kicked off, "Heart" became the world's best-selling single and has since sold over 15 million copies becoming one of the best singles of all time.
When it came time for awards, "My Heart Will Go On" without much surprise took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song. At the Grammy Awards, "Heart" won four Grammy Awards, two of which Céline Dion would take home herself. The track won Record of the Year which the producer and artist win and Dion won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It also won Song of the Year, a songwriter award and Best Song From a Motion Picture.
Overall, the song helped the Titanic soundtrack sell over 10.2 million copies in the U.S. and Dion's Let's Talk About Love move 9.6 million also in the U.S. Both albums have sold over 30 million and 31 million copies worldwide.