This became one of Creed's most popular songs, but it took a while to get there. The My Own Prison
album was first released in April 1997 on an independent label called Blue Collar Records. It sold well enough in their home turf of Florida to get the attention of BMG subsidiary Wind-Up Records, which signed the band and brought in producer Ron Saint-Germain to remix it.
Wind-Up re-released the album and launched a promotional campaign, breaking the band nationally by distributing the title track
to radio stations and commissioning a video, which did well on MTV. The next promotional single was "Torn
," which was followed by "What's This Life For." By this time, the band was picking up traction on radio and the album was a top-seller.
In an effort to boost album sales, the Creed singles at this time weren't sold in the US, which made them ineligible for the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, Billboard had another chart that perfectly suited Creed's sound: Mainstream Rock. In September 1998, "What's This Life For" became the band's first #1 on that chart, taking the top spot for six weeks. The first single from their follow-up album, Human Clay
, was "Higher
," which stayed at #1 for 17 weeks, longer than any other song in the chart's history to that point.