Never Ever (All Saints song)

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"Never Ever"
Single by All Saints
from the album All Saints
B-side"I Remember"
ReleasedJuly 7, 1998 (1998-07-07) (U.S.)
November 17, 1997 (1997-11-17)
FormatCD single, 12", cassette
Recorded1997
GenrePop
Length6:29 (album version)
5:15 (single version)
4:54 (radio edit)
LabelLondon Records
Writer(s)Shaznay Lewis, Robert Jazayeri, Sean Mather
ProducerCameron McVey, Magnus Fiennes
All Saints UK chronology
"I Know Where It's At"
(1997)
"Never Ever"
(1997)
"Under the Bridge"/"Lady Marmalade"
(1998)
All Saints Japan chronology
"Let's Get Started"
(1997)
"Never Ever"
(1997)
"Under the Bridge" / "Lady Marmalade"
(1998)
 
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"Never Ever"
Single by All Saints
from the album All Saints
B-side"I Remember"
ReleasedJuly 7, 1998 (1998-07-07) (U.S.)
November 17, 1997 (1997-11-17)
FormatCD single, 12", cassette
Recorded1997
GenrePop
Length6:29 (album version)
5:15 (single version)
4:54 (radio edit)
LabelLondon Records
Writer(s)Shaznay Lewis, Robert Jazayeri, Sean Mather
ProducerCameron McVey, Magnus Fiennes
All Saints UK chronology
"I Know Where It's At"
(1997)
"Never Ever"
(1997)
"Under the Bridge"/"Lady Marmalade"
(1998)
All Saints Japan chronology
"Let's Get Started"
(1997)
"Never Ever"
(1997)
"Under the Bridge" / "Lady Marmalade"
(1998)

"Never Ever" is a song by British girl group All Saints. Written by All Saints member Shaznay Lewis along with co-writers Robert Jazayeri and Sean Mather, and produced by Cameron McVey and Magnus Fiennes, it was released on 17 November 1997 as the second single from their debut album, All Saints (1997). The song later appeared on their compilations All Hits (2001), Pure Shores: The Very Best of All Saints (2010) and their remix compilation The Remix Album (1998). The song is structured as a soul and R&B influenced song. Lyrically, the song talks about the girls feeling their first expressions after a sadden break-up, where the girls query what they did wrong in the relationship. The song received very positive reviews from music critics, where critics praised the groups vocal abilities and felt it was a strong highlight to the album. Some critics also listed on their best lists as well.

To date, "Never Ever" is All Saints' most successful single to date, peaking at the top of the charts in countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, while it peaked in the top ten in countries including Ireland, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Norway, Austria and North America. In the United Kingdom, as of March 2013, it is the second best selling single by a girl group of all time, only behind "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.[1]

Two music videos were shot for the single; the European and Australian version, and an American version, due to the mass success in those countries. The North American featured the group in a church, while the European featured the group near a swimming pool and in their homes. All Saints won two BRIT Awards for this single in 1998: Best Single and Best Video.

Background[edit]

After their success of their debut single "I Know Where It's At", the group decided to commence recording and producing their debut full-length studio album. The song was released as the second single from their first sophomore album All Saints (1998). The song was written by All Saint's member Shaznay Lewis along with co-writers Robert Jazayeri and S. Mather, and then produced by Cameron McVey and Magnus Fiennes. Lewis wrote this after splitting up with a boyfriend, but the music conveyed the impression that all would be well.[2] All Saints flew to the US where the song was recorded and produced by Mather and Jazayeri, but due to control issues, London records brought in Cameron McVey to do additional production on the track at London Records request because of time/distance constraints which were present at the time and Cameron's relationship with Shaznay.

For recording, All Saints flew to Washington, D.C. where they recorded the vocals, except for the intro which was recorded at Battery Studios in the UK and were kept from the original demo. This was because the mood could not be replicated and everyone agreed to keep the demo vocals.[2]

However, the song's producing and writing caused controversy. Robert Jazayeri, who write the song had issued a writ against All Saints, and they were granted 40% of the publishing rights to the track.[2] After he wasn't satisfied, Jazayeri had filed a lawsuit towards the groups record label London Records and All Saints management, which was then settled amicably by the parties.[2]

Composition[edit]

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A sample of the song.

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Musically, the song incorporates musical influences of Hip-Hop, pop, Contemporary R&B, swing and adult contemporary.[3] According MusicNotes.com which was published by Universal Music Publishing Group, the song is written in the key of C Major.[4] The groups vocals span from the key note of G3 to the key note of B4.[4] The piano instrumentation notes span from the key note of C2 to the key note of A5.[4] The song is set in common time at a tempo of 120 beats per minute.[4] Lyrically, the song talks about the girls feeling their first expressions after a sadden brake-up, where the girls query what they did wrong in the relationship.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic had described the musical content as an "extraordinary gospel-tinged" song.[5] Nick Butler from Sputnikmusic had, however described the musical content as a "power ballad".[6] According to Dusk411; ""Never Ever" is a flaky, monotone song about heartbreak. Opening with a half-sung, half-talking solo, in which the girl wants some answers and then blames herself for the entire breakup."[7] An opening monologue of one of the member's start and last for 43 seconds long.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

"Never Ever" received positive reviews from music critics. Nick Butler from Sputnikmusic stated that, ""Never Ever" is a fantastic song; quite rightfully, it still gets a fair bit of airplay today, and I still enjoy it whenever it appears on one of those VH1 Power Ballad days or whatever."[6] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic had listed the song as an album highlighted on the studio album, and said the song "lead[s] the way" from their career.[5] He then reviewed the All Hits album and said the song was a "basic hit", but highlighted the song as an album standout.[8] Dusk411, however noted the groups vocals and felt they were "weak". He praised Lewis' vocal abilities, while he said that the rest of the groups vocals were "all flat and nasal."[7]

Chart performance[edit]

Never Ever debuted at number three on the UK Singles Chart, before rising to number one for a sole week. The song remains the group's longest single on those charts and stayed in the top ten for fifteen weeks, but charted for twenty-six weeks. It has sold 1.31 million copies in the UK as of November 2012.[9] The song was very successful worldwide. The song debuted at thirty on the Australian Singles Chart and rose to number one, staying there for seven consecutive weeks and stayed in the charts for twenty-two weeks. It was successful in the charts and was certified 2x platinum by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) with sales of 140,000. The song was successful in New Zealand as well, debuting at number one and staying there for five consecutive weeks. It was the groups only number one single in that country. It stayed in the charts for thirteen weeks in total.

The song was very successful in European markets. It debuted at ten in the Swedish Singles Chart, peaked at three for one week and stayed in the charts for twenty weeks. It was certified gold in that country. It debuted at twenty-seven on the French Singles Chart, and peaked at four for a sole week. It stayed in the charts for twenty-one weeks. The song peaked at four in The Netherlands for three consecutive weeks, and lasted twenty-four weeks in the chart. The song debuted at twenty-nine on the Austrian Singles Chart, and peaked at seven for two consecutive weeks. It lasted for nineteen weeks in the charts. The song debuted at fifteen in Norway, and peaked at six, staying in the charts for twelve weeks. The song wasn't as successful on the Finnish Singles Chart, peaking at twelve and staying in the charts for two weeks.

Never Ever was successful in North America as well. The song debuted at number thirteen on the US Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at number four on the charts, becoming the group's first top ten and their highest peaking single on those charts. The song peaked at four on the Canadian Singles Chart as well.

Legacy[edit]

The song was featured on the Guinness World Records for Top British Singles.[10] A total of 1,263,658 copies[11] of the single were sold in the UK, making it All Saints' biggest hit; 770,000 copies were sold before it became #1 which makes it more than any single ever before in the UK chart history. All Saints won two BRIT Awards for this single in 1998: Best Single and Best Video.

The music of the song is based upon an overlay of Amazing Grace which according to Ger Tillekens is the reason why it became so successful. Even though the lyrics are very different and the music sounds different, it is based on a familiar and popular song.[12]

Track listings and formats[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Never Ever".

CD 1 / Australian CD
1."Never Ever"5:15
2."Never Ever" (Nice Hat Mix)5:13
3."I Remember"4:08
CD 2
1."Never Ever"5:15
2."Never Ever" (Booker T's Vocal Mix)6:19
3."Never Ever" (Booker T's Down South Dub)6:28
4."Never Ever" (Booker T's Up North Dub)5:55
Cassette/Two track
1."Never Ever"5:15
2."I Remember"4:08
12 inch
1."Never Ever" (All Star Remix)3:59
2."Never Ever" (Booker T's Vocal Mix)6:19

Charts and sales[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1997/1998)Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[13]1
Austrian Singles Chart[14]7
Canadian Singles Chart[15]4
Dutch Top 40[16]4
Finnish Singles Chart[17]12
French SNEP Singles Chart[18]4
German Singles Chart[19]18
Irish Singles Chart[20]2
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[21]1
Norwegian Singles Chart[22]6
Swedish Singles Chart[23]3
Swiss Singles Chart[24]4
UK Singles Chart[25]1
US Billboard Hot 100[26]4

End-of-year charts[edit]

End of year chart (1997)Position
UK Singles Chart[25]16
End of year chart (1998)Position
UK Singles Chart[25]13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[27]42

Certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationSales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[28]2× Platinum140,000^
Belgium (BEA)[29]Gold25,000*
Sweden (GLF)[30]Gold15,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[31]Gold25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[32]2× Platinum1,310,000[9]
United States (RIAA)[33]N/A470,000[34]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Music video[edit]

When this song was first released in Europe, it featured the girls first in a swimming pool and later in a house. The video was shot by fashion photographer Sean Ellis.

For the United States, the video was re-shot and re-edited in a church. When All Saints – The Video was released, it was decided to release both versions on the video, because the European audience never had the opportunity of seeing both. In Canada Much Music played both versions.

Quotes[edit]

"I never believed that so much good could come out of such a bad situation."

Shaznay Lewis in tears over the success of "Never Ever", since it was written about a personal broken relationship.[35]

Remixes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ UK's million-selling singles: the full list theguardian.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Never Ever by All Saints www.songfacts.com.
  3. ^ http://www.discogs.com/All-Saints-Never-Ever/master/7107
  4. ^ a b c d All Saints - Never Ever Sheet Music www.musicnotes.com.
  5. ^ a b All Saints - All Saints www.allmusic.com.
  6. ^ a b http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/10757/All-Saints-All-Saints/
  7. ^ a b Never Ever dusk411 review.
  8. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/all-hits-mw0000034178
  9. ^ a b Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  10. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-113669/Guinness-World-Records-British-Hit-Singles--100-singles.html
  11. ^ Top 100 UK single
  12. ^ Soundscape.info November 1999 Volume 2: The Amazing Grace of Never Ever
  13. ^ NewsFeeds Australian Music Charts Accessed October 15, 2006
  14. ^ AustrianCharts.at "Never Ever" page. Retrieved: October 28, 2006
  15. ^ MuchMusic archive Canadian chart July 17, 1998 Retrieved: November 2, 2006
  16. ^ "Single top 100 over 1997" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 20 April 2010. 
  17. ^ FinnishCharts.com "Never Ever" page. Retrieved: October 29, 2006
  18. ^ LesCharts.com "Never Ever" page. Retrieved: October 29, 2006
  19. ^ Infinity Charts German Top 20 - The Chart Of March 1998 Retrieved: November 2, 2006
  20. ^ IrishCharts.ie Irish chart search (Accessed: November 2, 2006)
  21. ^ charts.org.nz "Never Ever" page. (Retrieved June 8, 2008)
  22. ^ NorwegianCharts.com "Never Ever" page. Retrieved: October 28, 2006
  23. ^ SwedishCharts.com "Never Ever" page. Retrieved: October 29, 2006
  24. ^ SwissCharts.com "Never Ever" page. Retrieved: October 29, 2006
  25. ^ a b c "Never Ever, Certification". BFI. Retrieved 2006-10-29. [dead link]
  26. ^ Billboard.com All Saints page. Retrieved: October 15, 2006
  27. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1998". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  28. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  29. ^ "Ultratop 50 Albums Wallonie 1998". Ultratop. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  30. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for SWEDISH CERTIFICATION.
  31. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (All Saints)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  32. ^ "British single certifications – All Saints". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2011-09-28.  Enter All Saints in the field Search. Select Artist in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  33. ^ "American single certifications – All Saints". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  34. ^ Sexton, Paul (18 November 2006). "Back for Good? Take That, All Saints Return To Records Shops". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  35. ^ All Saints - The Video

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Perfect Day" by Various Artists
UK Singles Chart number-one single
11 January 1998 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"All Around the World" by Oasis
Preceded by
"As Long As You Love Me" by Backstreet Boys
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
11 January 1998 – 22 February 1998 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Cherish" by Pappa Bear
Preceded by
"It's Like That" by Run DMC vs Jason Nevins
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
22 March 1998 – 3 May 1998 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"You're Still the One" by Shania Twain