This was the first single from White Ladder
, Gray's do-or-die album. He had been dropped by his label, EMI, and spent his own money to make it. He's British, but enjoyed ardent support in Ireland, where he released the album independently at the end of 1998. Early in 1999, he issued "Please Forgive Me" as a single in the UK, where it climbed to #72 in April, quite impressive for an independent release. He secured a UK deal with the EastWest label, which issued the album there and put out "Babylon
" as a single. It took a while, but both caught on, with "Babylon" climbing to #5 in July 2000. EastWest then re-released "Please Forgive Me," which went to #18 in October.
Meanwhile, in America he got a record deal with ATO, a spanking-new label formed by Dave Matthews and his cohorts. Gray and Matthews occupy a different creative space, but White Ladder
was already a proven winner in Europe and Matthews was keen on introducing it to America. ATO issued it in early 2000 with "Babylon" as the first single. Gray became a promotional troubadour, showing up at radio stations to play the song before doing his concerts at night. The strategy worked, with White Ladder
selling a million copies there by February 2002. "Please Forgive Me" was released as a single a short time later but didn't chart.