The Story of Pop: 1998 (Chapter 14)

This is The Story of Pop: 1998, continuing to offer up our weekly revisit, hit by hit, and artist by artist, of the UK singles chart as it looked 25 years ago. And here comes another memorable chart smash from 1998…

  • Artist: Billie Myers
  • Song: Kiss The Rain
  • Released: 30/03/1998
  • Writers / Producers: Billie Myers / Eric Bazilian / Desmond Child
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #4
  • Weeks on Chart: 9

One thing that might not have escaped your notice so far this series is that we’ve covered songs which, although they didn’t appear to be mega huge hits when they charted, were such a part of the fabric of the soundscape of 1998 that it would seem wrong not to write about them.

Tin Tin Out from a couple of weeks ago are one example of this, but so too is this week’s featured artist. Born in Coventry in 1971 to a Jamaican father and English mother, Billie Myers had had careers as varied as nursing and insurance brokering.

But it was being spotted in a nightclub by record producer Peter Harris that was her fairytale moment, as he approached her and asked if she’d be interested in recording some songs.

She started working together with him soon after that. Combining pop, rock and jazz influences, the bedrock of her musical sound was being formed for what would become her debut album, Growing, Pains, produced by the legendary producer Desmond Child, who had worked with everyone from Cher and Kiss to Bon Jovi and Aerosmith.

It was after hearing “Glycerine”, a song by UK rock band Bush, which he mistakenly heard as “kiss the rain” that he kept the misheard lyric for his own song, which Billie would co-write with him on. And thus “Kiss The Rain” was born.

A stirring, anguish ridden power ballad, it was demonstrative of Billie’s soaring vocals and her ability to convey emotion in song, as she sung of being in a relationship that is at its end but not wanting to admit it, and the jealousy and insecurity of knowing your former lover has moved on, building in strength and power by the time it reaches its final chorus.

After she signed to Universal Records in 1997, it was released first over in America as the album’s first single. Reaching the top 20 of the US Billboard charts, thanks to its use on the soundtrack of the first season of American teen drama Dawson’s Creek, when released back in her native Britain in the spring of 1998, it soared straight into the top 10, peaking at #4, as well as becoming one of the biggest radio airplay hits of the year, despite only spending nine weeks on the sales chart.

Much like “Here’s Where The Story Ends”, it was a record that at some point over the course of that year, you heard blaring from a speaker somewhere. The Growing, Pains album was eventually certified gold, and led to her being nominated for two BRIT Awards in 1999. But aside from one more low charting top 30 hit that July with the second single, “Tell Me” (it peaked at #28), that was all that Billie Myers’ UK chart career wrote. Still, if you’re going to be remembered by one song alone, “Kiss The Rain” is definitely a powerful one.

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 1998. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments, Tweet us or message us on Instagram, using the hashtag #StoryofPop1998.

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