Celine Dion’s husband and brother passed away within a week of each other but the Queen of Power Ballads knew the show must go on. While performing her international hit “All By Myself” she triumphantly nailed the famously difficult F5 high note at the climax of the song, leaving nothing on the stage, but after that, she broke down crying.
Dion’s emotion with singing that particular song while grieving was on display for all of the audience, but she remained onstage while she collected herself, showing how much of a consummate professional she is. You can see the moment in the video below, which has been viewed 7.8 million times.
Dion’s manager and husband of 22 years René Angélil died at age 73 of throat cancer on 14 January, 2016. Two days later, on what would have been Angélil’s birthday, Dion’s brother Daniel died from cancer at age 59. This double whammy was the backdrop for Dion’s Las Vegas performance, which took place the following month and was her first show since the tragedy.
Dion showed remarkable composure by getting through the most difficult part of the song, which is the climatic vocal part ending in “anymore”. The high F5 note at the end of this section which leads into the song’s outro is known as a particularly difficult note to nail. You can even see a compilation below which pits Dion’s F5 in the original recording with several other famous divas who also try their hand at the part, including Katy Perry.
As her manager, Angélil guided Dion to chart success in her early years as a French language artist. In 1988, their professional relationship turned romantic when Dion was aged 20. They kept their romance out of the public eye for five years, although they eventually went public in 1992. They subsequently got engaged on 30 March 1993 on Dion’s 25th birthday, before marrying the following year. Angélil continued managing Dion throughout her increasingly successful career in the following years, only stepping down from his role in 2014 following his cancer diagnosis.
“All by Myself” was originally written and recorded in 1975 by American singer-songwriter Eric Carmen, although the verse is based on Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 1900–1901 Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18. Carmen’s song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but many listeners will probably most closely associate the song with Dion’s 1996 cover.
The Dion version of “All by Myself” was released as the third single from her fourth English language album Falling into You. The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming one of Dion’s biggest US hits, as well as remaining one of her most popular songs on streaming services to this day. Its lyrical theme of loneliness in old age and being estranged from friends and lovers no doubt made getting through the song extremely difficult for Dion while she was grieving.