More than 41 million albums sold in the U.S.; the top selling female artist in history; multi-platinum album sales in 32 countries including Canada, Australia, the UK, Indonesia, Holland and Norway; the sixth-biggest selling album of all time and 17 top ten songs, half of which reached #1. Shania Twain is a phenomenon.
Most amazing of all, Shania has reached beyond all feasible music boundaries with just three albums – all of which have received Diamond certification by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for sales of 10 million copies in the U.S. She is the only artist to have three consecutive albums sell more than 10 million copies.
Behind all those statistics are millions of individuals who hear their own stories and feelings in her lyrics. Whether her songs are bursting with attitude or declaring her love in sweet and simple terms, they resonate with listeners. Now she’s brought together all of the singles that fans have come to love on one record. Shania Twain Greatest Hits boasts 17 favorites, plus three new songs.
One of the new songs, and the first single from the album, “Party for Two,” is a flirty, fun duet with country artist Billy Currington that is receiving immediate kudos from critics bowing to its unabashed catchiness. There is also a second version of “Party for Two” with Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath. Entertainment Weekly deemed Shania Twain Greatest Hits one of the most anticipated albums of the fall, noting, “Let the hoi polloi lust after her hits. To the bubblegum aficionados among us, Twain and husband/producer Mutt Lange are the Queen and King of Pop. That’s why we’re craving the new confections, which include the ballad “Don’t” and “I Ain’t No Quitter,” a country foot-stomper harking back to her twangier days.”
Though she released an album in the early 1990s with little fanfare, most people consider 1995’s The Woman In Me to be the first true Shania Twain album. That’s because, unlike her debut record, it contained songs that Twain herself wrote and delivered in her own distinctive way. Produced by husband Mutt Lange, The Woman In Me stunned the country music world, brilliantly bringing a catchy pop sensibility to the genre. “Mutt, as a producer, obviously gave country a sound that it never had before,” Twain said at the time. “That was a big bonus, it was a big risk too, but it turned out to be a bonus. Then you've got Mutt the co-writer who has done wonders for me as a songwriter, because so many of the titles or concepts for the songs on this album were things I had already written the year before for my first album and didn't get taken seriously the first time around. But I got together with Mutt and worked on those songs with him, and he was like, ‘Wow, I can't believe this got overlooked. This is great!’ He gave me a new confidence I had never had before, and that just opened up all kinds of doors. He contributed in a big way to my confidence, and that just made all the difference.”
“Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” the first single from the album made an impression, but the brash and sassy “Any Man of Mine” really set the tone for Twain’s impact on country music. A runaway hit, complemented by a video that showed Twain’s star power off to dazzling perfection, the song became her first #1 followed by the equally attitude-filled “I’m Outta Here,” and the more low-key “No One Needs To Know.” The Woman In Me went on to sell over 12 million copies in the U.S., replacing Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits as the best-selling album by a female country artist, and earning Twain a Grammy in 1996 for “Best Country Album.”
She followed that remarkable success with Come On Over in 1997, which saw one single after the next hit the top of the charts. “Man, I Feel Like A Woman!,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “Love Gets Me Every Time” and “You’re Still The One” solidified her musical persona as a strong, but playful woman who believed in and demanded true respect. With sales of 19 million in the U.S., the album became the biggest seller by a woman in any genre of music. Not only did Twain reach beyond country music to reach pop fans, she crossed oceans, becoming a top selling artist worldwide. “Shania has become what a lot of stars seek to become,” Billboard editor Chet Flippo said. “Which is a sort of global star with no discernible genre.”
In May of 1998, with two wildly successful albums, and enough hit songs for a solid show, Twain set out on her first headlining tour, Come On Over. Over the course of 19 months, she performed for more than 2.5 million screaming fans, silencing critics who wondered if she could re-create her music in a live setting. “I have a lot of fun with the touring, it’s the big reward,” Twain said. “I can see on their faces what the songs mean to them. I’m affected by music when I sit and listen. I’m high by it so when I see I’m affecting them the same way, I really feel I’ve done what I came to do.” The tour was the highest-grossing tour in country music history, and having done what she came to do, Twain finally took a break.
She and her husband retreated to their home in Switzerland, had a baby boy in 2001, and generally lived their lives for the next few years. Her distinctive voice was missed, and Country Music magazine ran an article that read like a letter to Twain, begging her to come back with more music. At the end of 2002 she did.
UP! didn’t disappoint. Released in the U.S. as a 2-CD set - one offering a country version of the songs, the other a pop mix of them, the album delighted fans, who snapped up nearly three million copies in less than a month. The first single, “I’m Gonna Getcha Good,” showed that motherhood and time away had not drastically altered Twain’s approach to her music. “There is a typical Shania attitude in the lyric, a definite female confidence,” Twain said of the song. “In my experience it’s more typical to run into guys with such confidence. I thought it would be fun to write with that same confidence, but from a woman’s point of view. I wanted the first single to reflect that playful attitude because I wanted people to relate to the Shania they already knew, at the same time, hearing a fresh new sound.” Time magazine called UP!, “Easily the best pop album of the year...with the kind of energy that reminds you how much fun the genre can be.”
Once again, the proof of Shania’s power as songwriter and performer was seen in the sales chart. UP!, certified at 10 million U.S. sales, made Twain the only artist in history to have three consecutive 10x Platinum RIAA-certified albums [the other two being The Woman In Me (12x platinum) and Come On Over (19x platinum)]. Her UP! tour was the top-grossing country tour of 2004, and often caused jaded music critics to talk in Shania-like exclamation points.
With three powerhouse albums to draw from, Shania Twain Greatest Hits is the ultimate exclamation point to her career so far. “I wanted to put together all of my favorite songs from over the years for a fun, high energy album,” she says. “This record is exactly that, as well as a dedication to all of the passionate fans who have enjoyed the music and supported me throughout the years.”