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“Water and a Flame”
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Single by Daniel Merriweather featuring Adele
from the album Love & War
Released
November 2, 2009
Genre
Soul, soft rock, R&B
Length
3:39
Label
Columbia Records
Writer(s)
Eg White, Daniel Merriweather
Producer(s)
Eg White
Adele singles chronology
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Make You Feel My LoveRolling in the Deep
Love & War track listing
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“Getting Out” “Live By Night”
Audio

“Water and a Flame” is a single by Daniel Merriweather featuring Adele from his second studio album, Love & War. It charted at #180 in the United Kingdom on the UK Singles Chart[1], making it the lowest charting single on which Adele appears to date. The song was released on November 2, 2009 as the fourth and final single from Love & War.

A music video was released for the song on December 4, 2009, but does not feature Adele, who was recording 21 at the time.[2] The video was directed by Philip Andelman.[3]

BackgroundEdit

Lyrically, the song, which lasts for three minutes and 39 seconds, speaks of “the seven days after you break up with someone,” according to Merriweather.[4]The song was produced by Mark Ronson, a friend and collaborator of Adele’s, and Eg White, who also worked with Adele on several songs from 19, as well as “Take It All” from 21. Merriweather and White co-wrote the song, making this one of the few songs Adele provided vocals on but did not write.

Merriweather initially planned for the song to be sung only by him, but asked Adele to perform it as a duet with him and “adapted it to suit a female perspective in the second verse.”[5]

“She [Adele] is such a sweetheart and she has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard,” Merriweather said in an interview with ILikeMusic. “I’ve known her for a couple of years and I had this song and just thought how amazing it would be if she could sing it with me. She is just lovely to work with. So, that was amazing.”[6]

He later told The Daily Mirror that, “I’ve been out with Adele and she’s very quick-witted. I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of any of her insults—so, I guess she would be the flame.”[7]

Live performancesEdit

Merriweather performed the song on tour, though one of his backup singers sang Adele's part.[8] However, Adele appeared at Merriweather’s show at Shepherd’s Bush on November 10, 2009 to perform the song with him.[9] 

Track listingEdit

Digital download[10]
No. Title                  Writer(s) Length
1. “Water and a Flame” Eg White, Daniel Merriweather 3:39
2. “Water and a Flame (Buzz Junkies Remix)”  Eg White, Daniel Merriweather 7:16

ChartsEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2009) Peak

position

UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 180

Céline Dion versionEdit

Céline Dion covered the song for her 2013 album Loved Me Back to Life. She reportedly planned to name the album after the song, but eventually chose the title Loved Me Back to Life instead. Dion released her cover of “Water and a Flame” as a single on March 24, 2014.

ControversyEdit

British musician Samantha Ronson, a friend of Merriweather’s, tweeted to him after Dion appeared on Katie Couric’s self-titled television show and discussed her new album and its title track. Ronson noticed that Celine Dion had wrongfully given Adele credit for writing the song while failing to mention Merriweather or Eg White.

Merriweather responded to the controversy in a Facebook post, stating:

It is astounding that Celine Dion tries to pass off lyrics that I wrote as her own. Now, if I had written the song for her, it wouldn’t bother me so much, but ‘Water and a Flame’ is a very personal song that I wrote right after a breakup I was going through and is one of my personal favourite songs on my album Love & War. This song has every ounce of my heartache and pain in it and she pretends as if she wrote it herself. Don’t get me wrong, I am genuinely flattered that anyone would want to cover one of my songs, but there is an age old etiquette amongst artists that one gives credit where credit is due. Thank you Celine Dion for singing my song, but if you had seen even half of what I have seen in my life time, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning let alone sing, so just be mindful of the fact that songs are a connection to the ether, and an insight to our inner most thoughts and feelings and for some of us it may be all we will ever have.[11]

Dion's management responded to the claims in a post on her official website, callng them “grossly inaccurate” and “hurtful.” They further added:

Daniel Merriweather’s comments originated from Celine’s one appearance on Katie Couric a few months ago when she played a portion of ‘Water and a Flame’ during an in-studio interview. Before playing the song, Katie asks Celine about her ‘new favorite artist,’ Adele, and Celine tells Katie how much she loves Adele. Celine continues by talking about ‘Water and a Flame’....about how much she loves it....and how it’s a bit different from what she’s used to singing. She doesn’t mention anything about who wrote the song. Despite the headlines that have emerged from Daniel’s publicity, Celine certainly doesn’t claim in any way whatsoever that she wrote the song. While we can understand Daniel’s disappointment by not having his name mentioned during Katie Couric’s interview, it’s rather unfair to Celine to be on the receiving end of the many disparaging comments that have now become public.

Throughout Celine’s 32 year career she has always been very vocal about sharing the credit for her successes. She has been very vocal about the fact that she does not write her own songs...and that she is fortunate to have wonderful and talented writers to provide these gifts to her. For her to be accused of ‘stealing’ a song is not only grossly inaccurate, but also very hurtful. During the thousands of interviews that she’s given over the years, it’s often that she will not mention the names of the writers involved. It’s something that may not come up a lot in the interviews. That said, when a Celine Dion album is released, we always include complete and accurate writer credits in an updated bio, and of course, inside the CD packaging. Celine's new English album will be released worldwide this Fall. We are very excited about this new album, and we hope to have great success with it....and great success for all those who have contributed.

She loves Daniel Merriweather and Eg White’s song so much, and would never want to do any harm to them....nor take away anything from them....in fact, the opposite would be true.

We hope this clears up any misconceptions regarding Celine’s intentions.[12]

Merriweather replied to this in another Facebook post, saying:

In hindsight, I was wrong to say that Celine ‘stole’ my song, from a songwriting point of view this is not the case at all ... It turns out that she didn’t realize that ‘Water and a Flame’ was my song from my album Love & War, instead she thought it was an Adele song.

She should’ve just done her homework before she decided to cover my song ... name her album after it ... and then publicly imply credit to the featured act on the song (Adele).

I get that Adele is a major artist and that the association helps her sell albums, but Adele is my friend; and she guested on my song, simple and plain, and that should’ve been acknowledged before Celine decided to rewrite history.[13]

Credits Edit

Personnel[14]

  • Daniel Merriweather – vocals, songwriting
  • Adele – vocals
  • Eg White – songwriiting, producer, mixer, recording, backing vocals, music

LyricsEdit

Seven days is gone so fast
I really thought the pain would pass
It’s been nearly an hour since I thought of you

But you’re not answering the phone
I’d settle for a busy tone
At least by that I’d know that you’re okay
A girl like you ain’t meant to go away, oh...

And now you’re gone, there’s nothin’ else I want
And now that it’s over, there’s nothin’ else I want
And what have I done?
Looks like I was wrong
Is everything really meant to change?
I guess we're like water and a flame, water and a flame

I’m tired of this empty house
I need a drink to get me out
A couple more ‘til I forget your name

I saw a boy that looked like you
I didn’t know quite what to do
It took a power of will to break my stare
I realized what I wanted wasn’t there

Now you’re gone, there’s nothin’ else I want
Now that it’s over, there’s nothin’ else I want
What have I done? Looks like I was wrong
Is everything really meant to change?
I guess we’re like water and a flame, water and a flame

If you see me comin’
I look away, I look away
And if your mind is made up
I look away, I will look away

If you’re worried ‘bout me
I’m okay, I’m okay, yes, I am
And all this sorrow and this pain
Is gonna go away, oh no, no, no

Now you’re gone, there’s nothin’ else I want
Now that it’s over, there’s nothin’ else I want
What have I done? Looks like I was wrong
Is everythin’ really meant to change
I guess we’re like water and a flame, water and a flame

ReferencesEdit