In 1991, the songwriters Anne Preven and Scott Cutler wrote this song with Phil Thornalley, a producer who had worked on albums by The Cure, XTC, and Edwyn Collins. The song was first recorded by the Danish singer Lis Sørensen as "Braendt," with Danish lyrics written by Elisabeth Nielsen, appearing on Sørensen's 1993 album Under Stjernerne Et Sted
Preven and Cutler formed a band called Ednaswap, and released the first English version of "Torn" on their 1995 debut album. Ednaswap got little attention, but the song was released in Denmark again in 1996, this time by the Norwegian singer Trine Rein and with the English lyrics.
"Torn" found its way to Natalie Imbruglia when the song's co-writer Phil Thornalley ended up working on her first album. Imbruglia is an Australian actress who was on the Aussie soap opera Neighbours
from 1992-1994 (the same one Kylie Minogue starred in). Thornalley had her record the song, and it was released as her first single in 1997, launching her singing career. Imbruglia's debut album Left Of The Middle
was released in 1998 with "Torn" as the first track. Thornalley co-wrote five other songs on the LP, and became one of the most popular producers in pop, with a client list including Ronan Keating, Bryan Adams, and Mel C. He and Preven teamed up again to write the #1 UK hit "Mama Do
" for Pixie Lott.