How Do I Live

Album: You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs (1997)
Charted: 7 2
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Songfacts®:

  • Written by prolific hitmaker Diane Warren, this country crossover ballad was originally recorded for the soundtrack to the Nicolas Cage movie Con Air by two different artists: LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. Warren offered it to Rimes, the teen sensation who was fresh off the success of her debut single, "Blue." Rimes brought the tune back to Texas, recorded it with an orchestra, and shot a video - but it was all a bit premature, as the song hadn't even been chosen for the movie yet. Fortunately, Con Air producer Jerry Bruckheimer loved the ballad, but he wanted some changes that Wilbur Rimes (LeAnn's father and producer) was unwilling to make, so Bruckheimer suggested that Yearwood record the version for the movie. Warren agreed, but she refused to take the song away from Rimes because she knew she'd have a hit with it, so two simultaneous versions were born.

    Because no one wanted to jeopardize their individual success, everyone involved was angry with Warren until the song blew up. "They all kind of hated my guts for a while," the songwriter told iHeartRadio. "The hit makes everyone forget they hate you."

    Not only was it a huge hit for Rimes, it also earned Yearwood the #2 spot on the Country chart and #23 on the Hot 100. Even Bruckheimer, who swore he'd never work with Warren again after the "How Do I Live" fiasco, was softened by the profitable outcome and used her song "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" in his next big blockbuster, Armageddon.
  • Yearwood knew that Rimes had already recorded a version before she was brought on board to cover it, but she had no idea the young singer planned on releasing it as a single - and on the same day as hers, no less. "And I was so lucky, because we were on tour and we were heading to Europe," Yearwood told SiriusXM in 2021. "So I was out of the country, thank God, for all of the 'Play this version and this version, vote on what you like best.' I was gone for all of that." She added that the controversy probably helped both versions become as successful as they were.
  • At the 1998 Grammy Awards for the first time in history, two different artists were nominated for the same song in the same category. LeAnn Rimes performed the song at the award show, and Trisha Yearwood won the Best Country Vocal Performance Grammy for the song.
  • Rimes' rendition was released as a non-album single when she was just 14; she was 15 when it became a hit in December 1997. An extended version was included on her second studio album, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs. It was the first album to ever debut simultaneously at #1 on the Billboard 200, Top Country Albums and Contemporary Christian charts.
  • The song's 69-week run on the Hot 100 was the longest for 11 years until the chart dated August 29, 2009 when "I'm Yours" by Jazon Mraz logged its 70th week on the survey.
  • This was used on the HBO series Barry in the 2019 episode "ronny/lily." It plays on the radio while Barry fights a Taekwondo expert in a supermarket.
  • Rimes was discouraged by the ordeal surrounding the song and was worried her version would be overshadowed by Yearwood's. "I was very aware of it. I was 14 and that was my first taste of the industry, I guess, in a way. It didn't feel good, that's for sure. I remember thinking that my version of the song would never be heard and I'm glad I was really wrong about that," she told Apple Music in 2021. She credits Mike Curb, the founder of Curb Records, for giving it a shot and releasing it to pop radio.

    She added: "That was kind of my breaking out of that one box of, 'Oh, she's just this, she's the little girl who sings country music.' That was kind of the first... I was crossing over when people didn't cross over and got my hand slapped big time for that, but it was also one of the most, I mean, it's the most successful song by a woman ever still to this date."
  • This was the sixth best-selling single of 1998 in the UK, where it stayed on the singles chart for 34 weeks. "How Do I Live" broke chart records in America too, spending 32 weeks in the US Top 10, 58 weeks in US Top 50 and 69 weeks in US Top 100, all longest-running records. In addition, it spent 200 weeks on the American Country chart, the first single to reach the 200 mark on any chart and it was the first multi-platinum country single selling over 3 million copies.
  • "How Do I Live" was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1997 Academy Awards but lost to the Titanic smash, "My Heart Will Go On."
  • Warren wrote three out of five of the most-performed love songs of the '90s: "How Do I Live," "Un-Break My Heart," and "Because You Loved Me."

Comments: 3

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyWas nominated for Best Song at the 1997 Academy Awards {Lost to "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie "Titanic"}!!!
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThis song bugs me but at least Leann sings it good.
  • Dylan from Cincinnati, OhYou Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs was actually released in 1997.
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