Born on February 4, 1975, in Sydney, Australia, Natalie Imbruglia is the second born out of four sisters to a father of Italian descent and a mother who is a descendant of one of the convicts that arrived at the island nation in the First Fleet. Although born in Australia, Natalie Imbruglia grew up in New South Wales before moving back to Sydney with her family when she was fifteen years old. As a teenager, she studied ballet, Highland dancing, and tap in hopes to embark on a dancer’s career. In the meantime, she appeared in Australian commercials for Coca-Cola and its national snack called Twisties.
When she was sixteen years old, she dropped out of school to pursue an acting career. The move saw her land a role on the Australian soap opera, Neighbors. Imbruglia played the character known as Beth Brennan and had shared a house with fellow actor, Ben Mitchell, who played the role of Cameron Hudson. After finishing her second year with the series, Imbruglia moved to London in 1994 which saw her embark on a singing career. With the help of manager Anne Barret, Imbruglia signed her first record deal with BMG.
Natalie Imbruglia’s career as a recording artist brought her first real taste of international fame in 1997 after the release of her first studio album, Left of the Middle. Of the six studio albums, she has recorded and released in total, Left of the Middle remains as her bestseller as it earned multiple platinum certifications at a worldwide level. In her home nation, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified it five times over, followed by the triple-platinum certification it received from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Music Canada (MC). The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) saw the album reach double platinum. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) of Switzerland also certified the album at platinum. Gold certifications were earned from the Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld – en geluidsdragers (NVPI) and France’s National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing (SNEP).
On November 5, 2001, Natalie Imbruglia’s second studio album, White Lilies Island, became certified gold with ARIA and BPI, followed by the April 4, 2005, release of her third studio album, Counting Down the Days, which became certified gold. On October 5, 2009, Imbruglia’s fourth studio album, Come to Life, was released, then July 31, 2015’s Male, and finally the September 24, 2021 release of Firebird. In addition to these studio albums, Imbruglia has also recorded and released a compilation album and an extended play (EP). In total, she has sixteen singles to her credit so far.
Top 10 Natalie Imbruglia Songs
#10 – Identify
Recorded for the 1999 soundtrack, Stigmata, “Identify” was a song that was written by Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame. Performed by Natalie Imbruglia, this moody, dreamlike single also demonstrated Imbruglia’s growth as an artist. Her broody performance definitely added drama to a song that focused heavily on self-identification and awareness. Soft, somber, and dramatic, Identify played out as a haunting lyrical style that marked this song as a favorite among fans who seem to be in agreement that nobody could have performed this single as well as Imbruglia.
#9 – Counting Down the Days
The title track from the album, Counting Down the Days, was the second of its two singles to realize chart success. Inspired by the feelings Natalie Imbruglia had at the time with her then-husband, Daniel Johns, whom she yearned for while their work schedules kept them apart from each other, thus ending their relationship and causing them to divorce. There are two versions to this song where the album version has a pre-chorus whereas the single does not.
On the music charts, the piano-rich ballad peaked as high as number twenty-three on the UK Singles Chart and at number twenty-five in Italy. In Australia, the song charted as high as number fifty-two and at number seventy-one on the European Hot 100 Singles. Originally, this single was titled Sanctuary and was even sent to the radio stations as such. This occurred while the radio version single was still performing on the music charts of various radio stations.
#8 – Glorious
From Natalie Imbruglia’s compilation album, Glorious: The Singles 97-07, the acoustic single, “Glorious” was released as the album’s only unique single from what’s otherwise a greatest hits album of what was deemed the artist’s best vocal work at the time. It was a number ten hit among the nations of Belgium and Slovakia, as well as a number nine hit in Italy. On the UK Singles Chart, Glorious peaked at number twenty-three and charted as high as number thirty-eight in Australia. On the European Hot 100 Singles chart, Glorious reached number sixty-four.
#7 – Beauty on the Fire
“Beauty on the Fire” was the third and final single from the album, White Lilies Island. On the UK Singles Chart in 2001, it peaked as high as number twenty-six and it appeared at number ninety-seven on the Eurochart Hot 100. When “Beauty on the Fire,” was aired on an episode of BBC One’s Holby City in 2008 and regained a bit of popularity a second time. Enigmatic, “Beauty on the Fire’s” synthetic style featured Natalie Imbruglia lyrically carrying out a rich, easy-listening favorite that is easy to get swept up into its rhythmic wave, as well as Imbruglia’s narrative.
#6 – Wrong Impression
In 2002, “Wrong Impression” was released as the second single from White Lilies Island and became the first official hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-four. Previously, the US Billboard Hot 100 had certain rules and stipulations in place that disallowed album cuts without a respective single release. It played an instrumental role in why Natalie Imbruglia didn’t have more of her hit singles appear on that specific chart. “Wrong Impression,” peaked as high as number seven on the US Billboard Adult Top 40, which has fewer restrictions in place.
It also peaked as high as number twenty-seven on the US Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and at number thirty on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. As far as the European and Oceania charts are concerned, Wrong Impression charted as number two on Belgium’s Ultratip chart and was a number ten hit in New Zealand and the UK.
#5 – Wishing I Was There
From Natalie Imbruglia’s debut album, Left of the Middle, “Wishing I Was There” was the third out of four singles that earned itself as a hit on the music charts. It was the second occasion the single was released into the North American market, which saw Wishing I Was There chart as high as number thirteen on the US Billboard Adult Top 40 and at number fifteen on the US Billboard Mainstream Top 40. It fared even better with RPM Canada Top Singles at number five. As for the European market, the song also charted as high as number five among the nations of Belgium, Hungary, and Iceland.
On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number nineteen and it charted as high as number twenty-four in Australia. In 1999, “Wishing I Was There” earned Natalie Imbruglia an ARIA Award for Best Female Artist, as well as Outstanding Achievement. With a hint of Alanis Morissette meets Sheryl Crow, “Wishing I Was There,” featured Natalie Imbruglia at her lyrical best, which the critics and fans seemed to have no trouble noticing themselves.
#4 – Shiver
When “Shiver” was released in the UK, it became Britain’s most played track on the radio stations, as well as a music video. It was also heavily favored for commercial use across Europe. The song’s acoustic popularity saw it covered by Maximo Park, as well as Season 5 Australian Idol’s Lara Krost. On Hungary’s Top 40 music chart, Shiver peaked at number one. Elsewhere among the European nations, it peaked at number eight on the UK Singles Chart, as well as neighboring Scotland’s Singles Chart.
In Australia, Shiver peaked as high as number nineteen, as well as in Ireland. Shiver was instrumental as a catchy feel-good-style single that saw the studio album, Counting Down the Days a BPI-certified gold album. In 2005, it was the second-longest-running single on the charts since her debut and had earned a number of nominations from Australian and European music industries due to its popularity. It earned the UK’s PPE Award for Most Performed Track in 2005.
#3 – That Day
As a European and Oceania release only in 2001, “That Day” became a number ten hit on the official singles chart of Australia and a number eleven hit on the UK Singles Chart. On the Eurochart Hot 100, the song peaked as high as number thirty-seven and was at least a top forty hit among most of the European nations. That Day was the first of three singles released from Natalie Imbruglia’s second studio album, White Lillies Island.
The inspiration behind the song, as well as the album came from the experience Imbruglia felt while residing beside the Thames River near Windsor, England. The lyrical and musical style of “That Day” is considerably different from the rest of her work as an artist. It was more rock than pop, which alienated the record label she was with at the time as they refused to release it at first. It was the final occasion she’d work with RCA before signing up with Brightside Recordings as she refused to conform to the style of music they wanted her to play.
#2 – Big Mistake
“Big Mistake” was the second single released from Natalie Imbruglia’s debut album, Left of the Middle, but not for the North American market. It was a number two easy-listening hit among the nations of Ireland, Scotland, and the UK, as well as a number twenty-seven hit on the Eurochart Hot 100. In Australia, “Big Mistake,” charted as high as number six and at number nineteen in New Zealand.
Elsewhere among the European nations, it was a top mostly a top twenty hit, aside from the Netherlands where it charted at its highest at number thirty-seven and in Sweden where it peaked at number twenty-four. As far as certifications go, “Big Mistake” became gold in Australia and silver in the UK. The narrative of a woman scorned letting the target of her animosity know about the big mistake that was made to ruin their relationship was well-received by the fans who felt they could relate to the tale.
#1 – Torn
Natalie Imbruglia’s debut single was “Torn,” which came from her debut album in 1997. Originally performed in 1994 in the Danish language by Lis Sorensen, then in English by Ednaswap, Torn did not become as globally recognized until Imbruglia’s performance in 1997. As an acoustic guitar pop classic, Torn topped the music charts among a multitude of nations, including Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Sweden, and on three different US Billboard charts, namely the Hot 100, Adult Top 40, and Mainstream Top 40.
Where it didn’t reach number one, it at least charted within the top ten, including as high as number two on the UK Singles Chart and the Australian Singles Chart. With the UK’s BPI, Torn became a triple platinum-certified seller. It also became platinum in Australia, Belgium, and Sweden. Gold certifications came from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland. On the MTV Europe Music Video Awards, “Torn,” earned Natalie Imbruglia the win for Best New Artist while the ARIA Music Awards recognized “Torn,” as Single of the Year in 1998, as well as Breakthrough Artist – Single.
Although Torn underwent US Billboard regulations that affected its chart ranking on the Top 100, it still won its Top Adult Top 40 Track during its 1998 awards ceremony. The simplicity of the song, which depicted the tale of an emotionally torn up woman confessing her feelings about two different relationships, really struck a chord among the fans, as well as the critics as the vulnerability behind Imbruglia’s vocals was nothing short of magnificent with this performance.
Top 10 Natalie Imbruglia Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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