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JCM20
post Aug 25 2016, 07:40 AM
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Remembering Aaliyah on the 15th anniversary of her death

We look back at the career of one of R&B's brightest stars, who passed away in 2001.

On 25 August 2001, singer Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash, cutting short the life and career of one of the brightest and most promising talents in pop and R&B.

The music world was, understandably, in shock Aaliyah was just 22 and, while she had been having hits since her early teens, was beginning to enter the most successful and innovative phase of her career.

To mark 15 years since the pop world lost a superstar, we look back at some of the milestones in Aaliyah's short but prolific career.

Back and Forth and debut album

Aaliyah's debut single Back and Forth, a laidback, new jack swing classic, became one of her signature songs and was her first hit off her launch album Age Ain't Nothing But A Number a reference to the fact that the album had been recorded when Aaliyah was 14. If Aaliyah sounded wise beyond her years, it's because she'd been a signed artist since the age of 12, and counted R Kelly as a mentor. She was primed for success.




Age Ain't Nothing But A Number spawned five Top 40 singles: the most successful being Back and Forth (16) and (At Your Best) You Are Love (27).

Meeting Timbaland and Missy Elliott

There was a change of pace for Aaliyah's second album she left behind R Kelly and her original label and signed a new deal. Along with working with Jermaine Dupri and Rodney Jerkins, she also established a working relationship, and close friendship, with Timbaland and Missy Elliott that would endure for the rest of her career.

Timbaland and Missy were nowhere near as well-known as they are now, and If Your Girl Only Knew, the lead single from Aaliyah's second album One in a Million, was one of the very earliest songs that showed off Timbaland's now much-imitated production style.

The original is great, but this remix by Timbaland which appeared on the single release in 1996 samples Bristol trip-hop group Portishead. It's quite a mashup and was groundbreaking for the time.




Five Top 40 hits came from One in a Million, with the most successful, a 1998 rerelease of If Your Girl Only Knew, giving Aaliyah her second Top 20.

She'd then land a third Top 20, and her UK chart personal best, with Are You That Somebody, from the Eddie Murphy comedy Dr Doolittle, which reached Number 11 and scored her a first Grammy nomination. Bigger success was just around the corner.

The new millennium, baby

In 2000, anything felt possible in pop, and the dawn of the new millennium inspired artists and producers to explore more futuristic sounds. Aaliyah, with Timbland, cleverly tapped into this vibe with Try Again, taken from the soundtrack of Romeo Must Die, which gave Aaliyah her first movie acting role.

Try Again's stark beats, in contrast with Aaliyah's sweet but attitude-packed vocal not to mention Timbaland himself giving it some serious adlibs finally gave Aaliyah her first ever UK Top 10, reaching Number 5. It's also her biggest selling single in the UK, shifting over 205,000 copies.




Third and final studio album

Aaliyah seemed unstoppable, and a year after Try Again, she kicked off the campaign for her self-titled third album with the dark and moody We Need A Resolution, which made the Top 20. It was, sadly, to be her last UK hit in her lifetime.

Just a month after the track made its chart debut, Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas, returning back to the US after shooting a video for future single Rock the Boat.

Making chart history

It would be another five months before it was deemed appropriate to honour Aaliyah's legacy and carry on the campaign, and with that first release, More Than A Woman, Aaliyah made chart history twice.

Aaliyah replaced George Harrison's My Sweet Lord at the top of the Official Singles Chart, and as the former Beatle had also passed away, it was the first time in chart history one posthumous Number 1 had replaced another.




Not only that, but More Than A Woman was the first ever posthumous Number 1 by a female artist in the UK.

The music goes on

Rock The Boat was the last hit from Aaliyah's third album, reaching Number 12. A fourth album, I Care 4 U, consisting of previously unreleased material, was released in 2003 and spawned one Top 40 hit, Don't Know What To Tell Ya. Aaliyah's voice has also been used in tracks by Drake and Chris Brown, and artists who've cited Aaliyah as a major influence include Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Drake.

Here's Aaliyah's Official Top 10 biggest selling songs in the UK:

TITLE PEAK YEAR
1 TRY AGAIN 5 2000
2 MORE THAN A WOMAN 1 2002
3 ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY 11 1998
4 ROCK THE BOAT 12 2002
5 BACK AND FORTH 16 1994
6 DON'T THINK THEY KNOW (WITH CHRIS BROWN) 94 2013
7 IF YOUR GIRL ONLY KNEW/ONE IN A MILLION 15 1998
8 WE NEED A RESOLUTION 20 2001
9 JOURNEY TO THE PAST 22 1998
10 IF YOUR GIRL ONLY KNEW (ORIGINAL) 21 1996

2016 Official Charts Company . All rights reserved.

*If Your Girl Only Knew features twice as it was rereleased as a double-A side with One in a Million in 1998. The song at Number 7 counts sales of the physical copy only; downloads for each song have been counted as part of each individual songs' tally, putting If Your Girl Only Knew at 10.
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Cremey
post Aug 25 2016, 08:04 AM
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heart.gif

What an absolute star, can't believe it's been 15 years though?! I was too young at the time to really know about her, but I remember hearing about her death and then hearing 'More Than a Woman' on the radio a lot soon after. So tragic.

'Aaliyah' is one of my favourite albums of all time. It's crazy to think just how successful she could've been considering she was only at the start of her career! The influence she's had on a lot of current artists is just proof of that I think.
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SKOB
post Aug 25 2016, 09:52 AM
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Love her, she was such a talent
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jakewild
post Aug 25 2016, 11:30 AM
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I can't imagine how it must have felt hearing the news. I was too young to really take it in but it would be like an Ariana Grande dying in a plane crash today when you sorta see them as too young successful and invincible to. always been intrigued by what she woulda gone in to do. AALIYAH is a classic
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Ne Plus Ultra
post Aug 25 2016, 11:51 AM
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An angel. Her music will always be timeless. wub.gif
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paulgilb
post Aug 25 2016, 12:49 PM
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QUOTE
Aaliyah replaced George Harrison's My Sweet Lord at the top of the Official Singles Chart, and as the former Beatle had also passed away, it was the first time in chart history one posthumous Number 1 had replaced another.


Incorrect - it was George Harrison who knocked Aaliyah off #1.
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No Sleeep
post Aug 25 2016, 03:52 PM
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Angel angel.gif

I love Aaliyah so much. I wish I was old enough to appreciate her when she was here cry.gif Her music just never gets old no matter how many times I listen to it. I can't believe she was younger than me when she made Age Ain't Nothing But A Number lol, that album... heart.gif I used to kind of neglect it over the other two but since last year I've really got into it.

Ughhhh it's not fair. I wish she was here. I wish we got a tour and more performances and more movies and obviously more music... I can't even imagine what she would be making today.
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___∆___
post Aug 25 2016, 10:35 PM
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So tragic - Still remember this when it happened, still listen to her music now and it still sounds relevant she really was just on the verge of becoming a global star.

If you're not familiar with Aaliyah stream her greatest hits - I also love the track they released a few years ago with Chris Brown 'Don't Think They Know' it really should have been HUGE.


This post has been edited by ___∆___: Aug 25 2016, 10:36 PM
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all is vanity.
post Aug 25 2016, 10:42 PM
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What could have been. sad.gif I can't believe it's been that long. I love her music.
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AaronTM
post Aug 26 2016, 12:48 PM
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It's crazy to think it's been 15 years and it always shocks me how young she was. Sometimes I think she'd be past it by now, but she'd only be 37 so there's no reason why she wouldn't still be making hits. Her voice was always years ahead of her actual age, when I listen to songs from her first album it doesn't sounds like a 14 year old singing (perhaps because songs like "Back And Forth" are a bit mature for someone of that age)

Anyway, yes, she is sorely missed. I think a lot of artists in that genre have been inspired by her. Would Ciara even exist if Aaliyah was still around?!
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Ne Plus Ultra
post Aug 26 2016, 01:09 PM
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QUOTE(AaronTM @ Aug 26 2016, 12:48 PM) *
It's crazy to think it's been 15 years and it always shocks me how young she was. Sometimes I think she'd be past it by now, but she'd only be 37 so there's no reason why she wouldn't still be making hits. Her voice was always years ahead of her actual age, when I listen to songs from her first album it doesn't sounds like a 14 year old singing (perhaps because songs like "Back And Forth" are a bit mature for someone of that age)

Anyway, yes, she is sorely missed. I think a lot of artists in that genre have been inspired by her. Would Ciara even exist if Aaliyah was still around?!


I think she would. I also think Timbaland would have saved the productions he made for Nelly Furtado & Keri Hilson for Aaliyah (who would have released 2-3 more albums come 2006-2007). What could've been. sad.gif
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