Alannah Myles (born December 25, 1958) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and the daughter of Canadian broadcast pioneer William Douglas Byles (1914–1988), who was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in 1997. When she decided to pursue a career in entertainment at the age of 19 she changed her last name to Myles. After more than a decade of modelling and acting in TV commercials to pay for music demos, she weathered countless rejections in her home country of Canada before recording masters for three songs. Those songs included "Who Loves You" accompanied by a video of "Just One Kiss," directed by photographer Deborah Samuel, and matched financing from songwriting collaborator and Much Music (City TV) DJ and program director, Christopher Ward and FACTOR. Ward and Myles were involved romantically for some time but had only a professional relationship during their search for major label support. She signed her first record contract with Atlantic Records in 1987.
In the early fall of 1987, Warner Music Canada's director of artists and repertoire (A&R) Bob Roper sent the three-song video package to all of Warner Music Group's U.S. affiliates and, sight unseen, a coveted seven-year contract (with an option for eight) was offered from Atlantic Records (WMG) by head of A&R Tunc Erim and Atlantic label founder Ahmet Ertegun. Myles opted out of a lucrative acting career by co-writing and recording the remainder of her first album with collaborator Christopher Ward and producer David Tyson. In 1989, she released her self titled debut album and toured internationally for 18 months. Her first album was awarded the Diamond Award for sales of over one million units; she is the only Canadian debut artist to attain that award. Her first album was reported to have sold upwards of six million copies internationally and remains a classic-selling album to date.
Her first record, Alannah Myles, achieved top 10 hits in several countries around the world beginning with "Love Is," "Still Got This Thing for You," and her only number one 1990 hit in Canada, "Lover of Mine." Her entire repertoire, spanning 60 multi-faceted recordings, has not outshone the popularity of her fourth American 1990 single, "Black Velvet." It remained at number one for two weeks (with a bullet) on the U.S. Billboard Top 40 Chart and became a worldwide hit. It also won the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
In 1992, Myles was nominated for a second Grammy award for Best Rock Vocal Performance Female for the title track "Rockinghorse," which was on the flip side of her first single, "Song Instead of a Kiss," from her second CD "Rockinghorse." "Song Instead Of A Kiss" was a 60-piece orchestrated ballad that went to number one on several radio stations around the globe but was met with little response in America, which may have grown accustomed to the slow southern style of Black Velvet.
Toronto rock singer Alannah Myles spent several years struggling unsuccessfully to secure a Canadian record deal, so she and songwriting partner Christopher Ward set their sights south of the border.
Myles recorded a demo and video for the song "Just One Kiss," which got the attention of several companies and ended up on her self-titled 1989 debut album.
“Love Is" established her in her home country and made Alannah Myles the biggest-selling debut in Canadian history, but it was the smoky, sensual "Black Velvet" that became a worldwide hit, reaching number one in the U.S.
An American release of "Love Is" fizzled as a follow-up, and Myles thus far remains something of a one-hit wonder to U.S. audiences. She released a follow-up album, Rockinghorse, in 1992.
"Black Velvet" is a blues verse with a rockchorus written by Canadian songwritersChristopher Ward and David Tyson, recorded by Canadian singer songwriter Alannah Myles. It was released in December 1989 as one of four singles from Myles' 1989 eponymous CD from Atlantic Records. It became a number one hit for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1990 and reached number one on the Album Rock Tracks chart, as well as number one in Canada and number two on the UK Singles Chart.
Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell
Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high
Mama's dancin' with baby on her shoulder
The sun is settin' like molasses in the sky
The boy could sing, knew how to move, everything
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for
Black velvet and that little boy's smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees
Black velvet if you please
Up in Memphis the music's like a heatwave
White lightening, bound to drive you wild
Mama's baby's in the heart of every school girl
"Love me tender" leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle
The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for
Every word of every song that he sang was for you
In a flash he was gone, it happened so soon, what could
chorus repeats 2x
If you please, if you please, if you please