This Is The Night

Album: Measure Of A Man (2003)
Charted: 1
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  • This was the first single released by Clay Aiken, who was the runner-up in the second season of American Idol, coming second behind Ruben Studdard. On the May 20, 2003 episode of the show, Aiken and Studdard were the only contestants left, and each performed three songs. Aiken did this one, along with two classics from the '60s: "Here, There And Everywhere" by The Beatles and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel.

    "This Is The Night" was a new song, written by Chris Braide, Aldo Nova and Gary Burr. It didn't go over well with the judges - Randy Jackson said, "Whereas I hated that song and I hope they don't make it your first single, dude, you blew your brains out on that. Dude, you sang your face off." Simon Cowell was also underwhelmed by the song, saying it "was like American Idol the musical."

    At the results show the next night, Aiken lost to Studdard and did "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as his send-off song. Jackson's fears were realized when "This Is The Night" was released as Aiken's first single - sort of. The single contained both songs and was packaged as "Bridge Over Troubled Water and This Is The Night." Marketed as a "double A-side," the Claymates bought nearly a million copies, and although the vast majority were buying it for "Bridge," for chart purposes "This Is The Night" was designated as the single, so that song got the glory of being the #1 single.
  • This song was released as a single on the same day (June 3, 2003) as Idol winner Ruben Studdard's first single, "Flying Without Wings," creating another competition of sorts that sent sales soaring for both tracks (both singles were released in collaboration with labels associated with the show). Aiken's song debuted at #1, with Studdard following at #2. With this accomplishment, Aiken became the first artist to go straight to #1 on the Hot 100 with a debut single. Buoyed by the flip side "Bridge Over Troubled Water," it went on to sell over a million copies and was the best-selling single of 2003. It was also the fastest-selling single since Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997."
  • In the first season of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson was given the song "A Moment Like This" to perform on the show, and when she won, it was released as her first single. This set a template for Idol songs done by late-stage contestants: sweeping, triumphant tracks about treasuring a moment in time. "This Is The Night" fits that mold, but it wasn't written specifically for the show. According to its co-writer Chris Braide, the song was written after the September 11, 2001 attacks and is about appreciating your loved ones and treasuring the time you have together. The song serves the Idol stage very well though, with lyrics like:

    I've been waiting forever for this
    This is the night
  • This song was written by an American, and Englishman, and a Canadian. The American is Gary Burr, who later wrote the Joe Nichols song "It's All Good." Chris Braide is the Englishman; he co-wrote the song "Anything Is Possible" for Will Young, who performed the song on Pop Idol (the UK version of American Idol) and won that show's first season. After his victory, the song was released as Young's first single, and Simon Fuller, who created both Idols, was pleased. When Fuller heard "This Is The Night," he made sure Aiken performed it on the show.

    Oh, and about the Canadian co-writer: that's Aldo Nova, an acclaimed rocker who also has a knack for writing uplifting pop hits. He also wrote the Celine Dion song "You And I."
  • A good gauge of this song's popularity is its digital download sales, since those don't come with "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Those tally about 36,000, compared with about a million for the physical single. And while downloading was relatively new, Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" sold over 400,000 digital copies the previous year. It's clear that the chart success of "This Is The Night" is mostly due to "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Studdard's single "Flying Without Wings" had similar results; it was backed by a cover of the Carpenters classic "Superstar." Digital downloads of "Flying" tallied 42,000, while the single sold over 700,000.


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