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Released 1 December 1997

Angels

By November ’97, many a music journalist had written Robbie off as being ‘famous for being famous'. But, guns a blazing, Robbie pulled the epic ‘Angels' out of the bag and, as a result, 1998 equalled success of titanic proportions.

Angels

“Angels.” Ring any bells?

Incredibly, given its ongoing ubiquity, it reached only number four in the UK charts, but it was a hit around the world, and it remains, inarguably and for all his later, greater efforts, the single song most closely associated with its singer. Released on December 1, 1997, with an atmospheric video directed by Vaughan Arnell, a collaborator almost as central to Robbie’s story as Guy Chambers, “Angels” was – and is – a triumph: a sweeping, soaring, soloing four minutes and fifteen seconds of raw emotional power, intimate yet epic, that speaks directly to its millions of listeners; a secular incantation as well as a showstopper, a karaoke favourite, a weddings and funerals standard and a future Glastonbury chant-along. The lyrics are ambiguous but the sentiment is direct. The song transformed Robbie from a fading teen idol into a world-beating, grown-up performer loved with a rare intensity.

“Angels.” Ring any bells?

Lyrics

I sit and wait
Does an angel contemplate my fate
And do they know
The places where we go
When we're grey and old
'Cause I have been told
That salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I'm lying in my bed
Thoughts running through my head
And I feel the love is dead
I'm loving angels instead
And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call, she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead
When I'm feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I'll always be blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
She breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I'm loving angels instead
And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call, she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead
And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call, she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

Watch Angels

Listen to Angels