The Story of Pop: 2002 (Chapter 44)

Keeping the spirit of the UK charts from two whole decades ago alive and well every Thursday at 9am, this is The Story of Pop: 2002. This week: a dance flavoured take on a classic single by one of Canada’s best known male solo artists…

  • Artist: DJ Sammy feat. Yanou and Do
  • Song: Heaven
  • Released: 28/10/2002
  • Writers / Producers: Bryan Adams / Jim Vallance / DJ Sammy / Yanou
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #1
  • Weeks On Chart: 37

There are some acts for whom their overnight success can come many years after they started out. Just ask Spanish DJ and producer Samuel Boriah – otherwise known by his stage name of DJ Sammy.

He had begun his career in 1984, playing DJ sets in many of the major nightclubs and pubs during the summer season in Mallorca. By 1992, he was resident DJ at the Joy Palace Club in Arenal, with a dancer, Marie-José Van Der Kolk, acting as his vocalist.

The two released a single together in 1995, “Life Is Just A Game”, which became a breakthrough top 10 hit in his native country. More singles and an album followed. But it wasn’t until seven years later that his true success came in the rest of Europe – and the UK in particular.

First released in November 2001 under his own record label, Super M Records, “Heaven” was the title track from his second album, a cover of Bryan Adams‘ 1985 single which had been a Billboard chart topper in the States, but had only got as high as #38 here in the UK.

Additional production and remixing came from DJ Yanou, whilst the hauntingly beautiful vocals came from Dutch singer Do. In fact, there were two versions of the song; the faster and more commercial mix played in the clubs and on the radio, and then a stripped back “Candlelight Mix“, which was minimal production with just Do’s vocal at the forefront.

It was this that was probably responsible for giving the song such wide appeal, and when eventually licenced for UK release through Ministry of Sound’s new Data label imprint at the end of October 2002, and having charted as high on import sales at #76, on full release “Heaven” did what Bryan Adams had failed to do with it here and took the song all the way to number one.

It also reached #8 in the Billboard charts in the States, as well as topping the chart in Ireland and Australia. Spending 37 weeks on the chart, it set up DJ Sammy for even further success over the year that followed; with an alternative vocalist Loona, a cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys Of Summer” reached #2 in March 2003, whilst his own original song “Sunlight” became another top 10 hit in June of that same year.

His final UK chart appearance to date was in the spring of 2005, when a cover of Annie Lennox’s “Why” was another top 10 hit, reaching #7. DJ Sammy still records and actively performs all over the world – his most recent single was released in 2020 – but where Britain is concerned, his epic reimagining in more ways than one of “Heaven” will be what he is best remembered for.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2002. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments, Tweet us or message us on Instagram, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2002.

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