Canadian recording artist Céline Dion has released a 25th-anniversary video this week for her hit 1997 single “My Heart Will Go On.” The song became Dion’s signature song after appearing on her album Let’s Talk About Love and notably the soundtrack for the film Titanic.
Topping music charts around the world, it is now the second-best-selling physical single by a woman in music history, and one of the top-selling physical singles of all time. The track won a number of awards including Best Original Song at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes; while it won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Performance, and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.
This is of course not the first video for the song to be posted to YouTube. In fact, in addition to the original music video, directed by Bille Woodruff, that has been on the platform for at least a decade, in January 2018 a director’s cut was also posted to the video sharing service.
New Official Version
The new version of the video, which was released on Thursday, was actually to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dion’s performance at the Academy Awards in 1998. It wasn’t newly filmed however, and instead included a fresh video transfer from the original 35mm film reels and presented in 4K – likely to make it look better on today’s big-screen TVs.
Though visually improved from the original music video, it is also notable in that it doesn’t include any footage from Titanic. This video is instead all about Céline Dion.
Céline Dion – My Heart Will Go On (Official 25th Anniversary Alternate Music Video)
Since being posted, the new anniversary video has already racked up more than 165,000 views on YouTube. However, given the increased hype that artists have for reaching a billion or more views on the video-sharing platform, a question could be asked as to why Dion would release a version.
The short answer could be that there is no shortage of videos of the track available on YouTube, while the original “official” video has actually been buried by a plethora of live performances, fan-posted videos with lyrics, and plenty of cover versions. This newly remastered video could become the de facto version, and perhaps help ensure that Dion is able to reap the rewards from the song.
“We’re in an interesting time with YouTube, where fan creations can impede the work of the original artist,” said Bruce Barber, professional in residence and general manager at 88.7 WNHU at the University of New Haven.
“We see that fans are creating their own takes on the original work, but the musical artists don’t always reap the benefits,” added Barber. “People are doing these great and very creative mash-ups of copyrighted material. And we can also see that too many of these versions can diminish the original work. That is simply the downside of success.”
Titanic Song Without Titanic Footage
It is also notable that the new 25th-anniversary video has taken out the footage from the film that made it a hit. That could turn off some fans of the original video, but in a way, it could also make “My Heart Will Go On” even more closely tied to Dion in the process.
“Titanic‘s success was such that there was a burn factor that even resulted in a backlash,” said Barber. “We saw its popularity ebb and flow over time. Now with its 25th anniversary release last December, a new generation of fans is discovering the film, and some may even be hearing the song for the first time.”
This video can play into that renewed popularity yet be untethered from the film that helped drive its original success. Of course, the two will be forever tied together – not least because the song’s melody is based on James Horner’s score.
“This asks the question whether it was a great song because it was part of a great film, or if it could stand on its own,” noted Barber. “That remains to be seen, but now we’ll have the chance to find out.”