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Unison (Celine Dion album)

Unison is the English-language debut album of Canadian singer Celine Dion, released in 1990 in North America and the next year in the rest of the world. Counting her previous French-language releases, it is her 15th album.


 [hide*1 Prologue


Before Unison, Dion already had a solid music career in the Francophone market. She had released 14 albums in her native language: 11 in Canada and 3 in France. She had won numerous music awards including 15 Félix Awards, 2 Yamaha Music Festival AwardsEurovision Song Contest Grand Prix or MetroStar Award. Dion received gold and platinum certifications for several of her albums (4 gold, 3 platinum awards) and singles (3 gold awards). She was very successful as a French artist but still unknown in the English-speaking world.

In 1985, Dion recorded her first English single called "Listen to the Magic Man" for the movie The Peanut Butter Solution. The soundtrack also contained "Michael's Song." The same year she released a live album, Céline Dion en concert which contained a few English songs: "Up Where We Belong," "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Feeling."

In 1989, she released her second English single in Canada "Can't Live With You, Can't Live Without You," a duet with Billy Newton-Davis. Dion also recorded "Listen to Me" with Warren Wiebe. This was the title song for the movie starring Kirk Cameron. Also in 1989, she recorded her third duet withDan Hill, called "Wishful Thinking."

After all those duets and movie songs, it was time for Dion's solo effort, an entire album in English that would introduce her to the world. For the release, CBS Records had originally offered $25,000, which would allow Dion to record new vocals over the original musical tracks from the French album Incognito. Three events would raise the ante. First, Dion performed a duet in English with Dan Hill at CBS Canada's 1987 convention. The performance impressed the company's president Bernie DiMatteo enough for him to raise the budget to $100,000 so that some new songs could be commissioned. Next, at the Juno Awards she sang "Have a Heart" - the English version of "Partout je te vois" from Incognito. After the performance the budget rose to $300,000. When David Foster later saw it on videotape, he told DiMatteo that $300,000 was not enough, so they were given an unlimited budget. The record ended up costing $600,000. Dion worked with three well-known producers: David Foster, Christopher Neil and Andy Goldmark.

Album information[edit]Edit

Unison was recorded in London, New York and Los Angeles. Singles from the album include: "(If There Was) Any Other Way," "Unison" (cover of Junior's song for the Tom Cruise movie All the Right Moves), "Where Does My Heart Beat Now," "The Last to Know" (previously recorded by Sheena Easton), and a radio single "Have a Heart" (English version of Dion's 1987 song "Partout je te vois" from Incognito).

Unison earned Dion two Juno Awards for the Album of the Year and the Female Vocalist of the Year.

Dion did the Unison Tour in Canada to support the album. During the tour, she took part in the recording of "Voices That Care," a charity single recorded by a group of popular musicians, entertainers and athletes to help boost the morale of U.S. troops involved in the Gulf War, and also support the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Unison home video with music videos from the album and live performances was also released.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [1]
Chicago Tribune [2]
Entertainment Weekly B[3]

The album met with mixed reviews. It was largely influenced by the 1980s soft rock sound that was a fit for the adult contemporary radio format.Unison hit all the right notes with critics: Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Dion's vocals were "tastefully unadorned," and that she never attempted to "bring off styles that are beyond her."[3] Stephen Erlewine Thomas of Allmusic declared it as "a fine, sophisticated American debut."[1]Jan De Knock of Chicago Tribune said that "though Dion's big voice invites comparisons to the power-pop stylings of Taylor Dayne and Laura Branigan... she also has a deft touch with an R&B groove."[2]

Chart success[edit]Edit

"Where Does My Heart Beat Now" is considered the single that broke Dion into the English world of music, reaching number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Unison has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.[4][5] The album's biggest success was in Canada and the United States where it peaked at numbers 15 and 74 respectively, going 7x Platinum in Canada,[6] and Platinum in the United States.[7] According to Nielsen SoundScanUnison has sold 1,227,000 copies in the United States.[8] However this number does not include first 6 months of sales, as Unison was released in September 1990, and Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data in March 1991.

Unison achieved top 10 status in Norway, reaching number 8, its highest position around the world. Five years after its initial release, Unison peaked at number 55 in the United Kingdom. The album was also certified Gold in France and the UK.[9]

Track listing[edit]Edit

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "(If There Was) Any Other Way"   Paul Bliss Christopher Neil 4:00
2. "If Love Is Out the Question"   *Bliss Neil 3:53
3. "Where Does My Heart Beat Now"   *Robert White Johnson Neil 4:32
4. "The Last to Know"   *Brock Walsh
  • Phil Galdston
Neil 4:35
5. "I'm Loving Every Moment with You"   *Tom Keane*Eric Pressly *David Foster*Keane 4:08
6. "Love by Another Name"   *Foster Foster 4:51
7. "Unison"   *Andy Goldmark Goldmark 4:12
8. "I Feel Too Much"   *Keane
  • Pressly
  • Keane
9. "If We Could Start Over"   Stan Meissner Foster 4:21
10. "Have a Heart"   *Aldo Nova*Billy Steinberg
  • Ralph McCarthy
Foster 4:12

Production and personnel[edit]Edit

  • Tracks 1-4 Produced By Christopher Neil. Engineered & Mixed By Simon Hurrell at West Side Studios, (London).
    • Paul Bliss: Drum & Keyboard Programming, Vocal Backing; Phil Palmer: Guitars; Paul "Wix" Wickens: Bass & Keyboards (track 3 only); Andy Duncan: Drums & Percussion (track 3 only); Steve Piggott: Keyboards, Bass & Drums on track 4; Christopher Neil, Celine Dion, Alan Carvell, Linda Taylor: Vocal Backing
  • Tracks 5 & 8 Arranged & Produced By David Foster. Track 5 Arranged By David Foster & Tom Keane; Track 8 Arranged By Tom Keane. Engineered By Jeffrey "Woody" Woodruff at Chartmaker Studios; assisted by Dave Reitzas. Mixed By Keith Cohen at Larrabee Studios; assisted by Andy Batwinas.
    • David Foster: Keyboards; Tom Keane: Keyboards & Synthesizer Programming; Michael Landau: Guitars; Randy Jackson: Bass on track 5.
  • Tracks 6, 9 & 10 Produced By David Foster. Track 6 Arranged By David Foster & Clif Magness. Track 9 Arranged By David Foster, Randy Kerber & Tom Keane. Track 10 Arranged By David Foster & Aldo Nova. Tracks 6 & 9 Engineered By Jeffrey "Woody" Woodruff; assisted by Dave Reitzas. Track 10 Engineered By Humberto Gatica & Jeffrey Woodruff. Track 6 Mixed By Keith Cohen. Tracks 9 & 10 Mixed By Humberto Gatica; assisted by Laura Livingstone.
    • David Foster, Robbie Buchanan: Keyboards; Randy Kerber, Clif Magness: Keyboards, Synthesizer Programming; Michael Boddicker, Rick Bowen: Synthesizer Programming; Paul Jackson Jr., Michael Landau: Guitars (Jackson on track 6 only); John Barnes: Synclavier & Vocoder on track 6; Jeff Porcaro: Drums & Percussion on track 10
  • Track 7 Arranged & Produced By Andy Goldmark. Engineered By Dave Dachinger, Mike Brooks & Jack Rouben. Mixed By Bob Ross At Science Lab.
    • Andy Goldmark: Drum Programming, Synth Bass, Keyboards; John Barnes: Keyboards; Fran Manzella & Dave Dachinger: Additional Programming; Paul Pesco & Charles Fearing: Guitars; Freddie "Ready Freddie" Washington: Electric Bass; Fonzi Thornton: Oral Percussion


Weekly charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1990–91) Peak


Canadian Albums (RPM)[10] 15
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[11] 8
US Billboard 200[12] 74
Chart (1995) Peak


UK Albums (OCC)[13] 55
Chart (1997) Peak


Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[14] 80
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[14] 56

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1990) Position
Canadian Albums (RPM)[15] 100
Chart (1991) Position
Canadian Albums (RPM)[16] 63

Certifications and sales[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[17] 7× Platinum 700,000^
France (SNEP)[18] Gold 100,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Platinum 1,227,000[8]^
Worldwide 3,000,000[4][5]

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Year Award show Award
1990 Billet Platine Billet Platine for the Concert Céline Dion
1991 Juno Awards Album of the Year – Unison
1991 Juno Awards Female Vocalist of the Year
1991 Félix Awards Quebec Artist Achieving the Most Success in a Language Other Than French

Release history[edit]Edit

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Canada April 2, 1990 Sony MusicColumbia CDLPcassette 80150
United States September 11, 1990 Epic 46983
Japan February 21, 1991 Sony Music Japan, Epic ESCA-5184
Australia, United Kingdom, France March 4, 1991 Sony Music, Epic, CBS, Columbia 467203 2

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