The Story Behind Ace of Base's Hit Single "The Sign"
The song is from their first North American studio album, The Sign (1993), as well as their re-released debut studio album, Happy Nation (1992), titled Happy Nation (U.S. Version).
This achievement made Ace of Base the first Swedish group to have a number-one song and album on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts, respectively.
This song was an instant hit that topped charts worldwide and became one of the most iconic pop songs of the 90s. In this article, we will explore the story behind the song's creation and how it became a global sensation.
BACKGROUND AND DEVELOPMENT
"The Sign" was initially intended to be included in Ace of Base's next album. Still, the head of Arista Records, Clive Davis, heard the song's demo, then produced by Ulf Ekberg and Jonas Berggren and passed it on to Swedish producers Douglas Carr and Denniz PoP, looking for something different from Happy Nation.
The demo only had the instrumental, which PoP thought the verse was the chorus, unlike their 1992 hit single "All That She Wants."
Ace of Base members Linn and Jenny Berggren re-arranged the song as a duet between women. Jenny played around with the chords at the end and composed the harmonies around it.
In an interview with Idolator Jonas Berggren, who wrote and co-produced the song, they stated that Jenny and Linn split the chorus into two parts, with the former singing the second and fourth parts.
He acknowledged that it "was hard to sing" since there was no breathing time. The song was recorded at a loud volume, which caused the producers PoP, Douglas Carr and Jonas Berggren, to lower the sound by three decibels during audio mastering.
The Success of "The Sign"
"The Sign" was released in Europe on 1 November 1993 and in the US on 14 December 1993. It became an instant hit and topped the charts worldwide. It reached number one in Australia, Canada, Germany, and New Zealand and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart.
In the United States, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six non-consecutive weeks, allowing Ace of Base to become the first Swedish group to simultaneously have a number-one song and album on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, respectively. Consequently, the song was ranked as the number-one song of 1994 on Billboard's year-end chart.
"The Sign" was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
The song's accompanying music video was directed by Mathias Julien and shot on Filmhuset in Stockholm in November 1993. The video's opening was a homage to Depeche Mode's 1990 song "Enjoy the Silence."
"The Sign" was released as a single in different versions, with varying lengths and mixes. The US CD single contained the following tracks:
- (Ultimix) - 6:49
- "The Sign" - 3:08
- "Young And Proud" - 3:56
- "Happy Nation" (12" Version) - 6:40
The UK and Europe release included the following tracks:
- (Radio Edit) - 3:08
- (Long Version) - 4:43
- (Dub Version) - 5:10
This track by Ace of Base is a timeless pop song that resonates with fans worldwide. Its catchy melody and upbeat tempo make it an ideal piece for dancing and singing along.
The song's success speaks volumes about the talent and creativity of Ace of Base and their ability to craft an unforgettable pop tune that has stood the test of time.
- Who wrote "The Sign"?
- When was "The Sign" released?
Released as a single in Europe on November 1, 1993, and in the US on December 14, 1993.
- What awards was "The Sign" nominated for?
Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.
- Where was "The Sign" recorded?
Recorded at Cheiron Studios in Stockholm, Sweden.