Divas, Divas, Divas

1998 in Review
Celine Dion

With Titanic, Celene Dion set sail for success. Was it just the tip of the iceberg?

Dion's album was surpassed only by the soundtrack to Titanic, which contained the diva's mega-hit "My Heart Will Go On" (which also appeared on her album). Titanic found safe harbor at the top of Billboard's album chart for 16 weeks —longer than any other album in 1998— and sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. The phenomenon spawned a sequel and even a tour by composer James Horner. It was also the first primarily instrumental score to top Billboard's album chart since Chariots of Fire in 1981.

But the big ship wasn't the only thing cruising to success in 1998. When the boys and boats weren't topping the charts, divas were. In addition to Dion, the 40-year-old Madonna scored her 40th chart hit of her career when Ray Of Light, the second single from the album of the same name, hit the charts. The album sold 370,000 copies its first week, making it the best opening week tally by any female act in the history of Soundscan. However, her record was shattered a few months later when The Fugees' Lauryn Hill sold 422,500 copies of her solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Hill was then bested by Alanis Morissette, whose follow-up to the phenomenally successful Jagged Little Pill, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, sold 469,000 its debut week.

In addition to Hill, other female R&B singers had a tremendous amount of success in 1988, including Brandy and Monica, whose duet, "The Boy Is Mine," spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 100. Individually they also scored hits, and Brandy continued to expand her acting horizons as co-star of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer with Jennifer Love Hewitt. Aaliyah, Monifah, Faith Evans, Inoj, Kelly Price, and Deborah Cox all followed suit with hits.

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