"Bleeding Love" is a song recorded by English singer Leona Lewis for her debut studio album Spirit (2007). Jointly composed by Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder, and produced by Tedder, the song is the album's lead single; officially, it was Lewis's official second single and followed "A Moment Like This". It was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in October 2007. Debuting at number one on the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart, "Bleeding Love" became the best-selling single of 2007 in both countries. After the single's release, it became a major international hit and was the best-selling single of 2008 worldwide. The single reached number one in 35 countries, including Japan, Germany and the United States, making it only the second song in history to achieve this feat, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" being the first. The accompanying music video first aired on 17 October 2007, and was uploaded to YouTube on the same day.
"Bleeding Love" was initially written for Jesse McCartney, but was later refused by his record label.
In 2006, Lewis entered the third series of the British reality singing competition, The X Factor, and after performing and competing against other aspiring hopefuls, the British public voted her the winner on 16 December 2006, receiving 60% of the final vote. As the winner, Lewis received the prize of a £1 million recording contract with Sony BMG, of which Simon Cowell is an A&R executive, and with Cowell's own record label, Syco Music.
Meanwhile, in February 2007, OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and singer and songwriter Jesse McCartney had written the song "Bleeding Love" for McCartney's third studio album,Departure. However, his record label, Hollywood Records, did not like the song. Tedder believed it was a "massive" song and the record company was "out of [their] mind". Despite his own reality TV background, Tedder had previously made the decision not to work with contestants from the singing competition American Idol, but he had not heard of The X Factor, and on being shown a website about Lewis, he thought that "her voice just sounded unreal", saying that "from a writer's perspective, this girl – with or without a TV show – has one of the best voices I've ever heard". On hearing that Cowell was looking for songs for Lewis's debut album, Tedder rearranged "Bleeding Love", changed the key and tailored it to suit her voice. They pitched the song to Cowell, who said it was "the one". After the success of Lewis's version, the song was re-recorded by McCartney being included as a bonus track on the international version of the album, Departure.
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A 26-second sample of "Bleeding Love" containing the bridge and chorus, backed by drums and a church organ
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"Bleeding Love" is a pop song with R&B undertones set in the key of F major. It moves at 104 bpm and is set in 4 4 time. The album version runs for four minutes and twenty-two seconds and the radio edit runs for four minutes and one second. Lewis' vocal range extends from C4 to B♭5, but has gone higher into the sixth octave in most live performances. "Bleeding Love" is constructed in the common verse–chorus–bridge song pattern. It employs a church organ which is audible throughout the song until the bridge. Synthesized strings are also prominent throughout the song, which intermittently integrates wood block percussion throughout the track. A heavy, distorted marching band-like drum loop backs the song. The song employs a harmonic shift beginning at the bridge. A harmonic shift or harmonic variety generally identifies most song bridges. In "Bleeding Love" the turn around from the common I, vi, IV, V (F, Dm, Bb, C) progression used exclusively up to the bridge for both verses and choruses shifts to focus on the relative minor: vi, IV, I/V, V (Dm, Bb, F/C, C).
McCartney wrote the song about his longtime girlfriend and said: "I kept thinking about being in love so much that it hurts. I was away from my girlfriend for four months at the time and I really wanted to [quit] and fly home. I was so in love that it was painful. It was like bleeding, it cut me open." The song refers to someone in a relationship who is extremely blinded by love. Regardless of the numerous warnings from her friends and the fact that she is emotionally hurt by her lover, she continues to love him and accepts the pain. Metaphorically, this is represented in his "cutting her open". However, all she can do is "bleed love" for him.
The song's first radio play was on the BBC Radio 1Chart Show on 16 September 2007, and was quickly followed by an online exclusive streaming by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. It was reported that over 1.5 million people listened to the song online. The song was also Scott Mills's record of the week from Monday 24 September to Friday 28 September. Lewis went on a two-day regional UK radio tour to promote the single and album on 11 and 12 October 2007. This was followed by an appearance on This Morning on 15 October. Lewis performed the song live on the fourth series of The X Factor on 20 October 2007, and also made appearances on several other TV and radio shows such as T4, GMTV and Loose Women.
Critics noted similarities between Lewis's vocals and those of Mariah Carey
"Bleeding Love" received critical acclaim from music critics. Showbiz Spy described the song as "emotionally fuelled", and opined, "this track perfectly showcases Leona's impressive vocal prowess and from the moment she opens her mouth we are instantly reminded about her amazing voice, capable of heart stopping intensity and a playful light touch".Digital Spy's review of the song gave it four stars out of five, saying it is "easily the best single to be released by an X Factor star", and describing it as "a brilliantly smart pop record, managing to offer the lovelorn balladry that Lewis's X Factor fans are no doubt craving, while also suggesting a hint of street cred in the form of some beefy, vaguely modish beats". It came second in Digital Spy's Top 20 Singles of 2007 announced on 31 December.
However, BBC America's reviewer expressed that "the inventive percussion can't stop 'Bleeding Love' from sounding dated, like filler on some long-lost, late '90s Mariah Carey album. It's one of those mid-tempo numbers – too slow for the club, too fast for the foxtrot. Actually, with its marching band drum beat, it sounds as much like Gwen Stefani's 'Hollaback Girl' as a ballad can." The critic continues to say, "On to the positive: Lewis wisely restrains her vocals, never devolving into those vocal acrobatics that have historically plagued Christina Aguilera."Billboard's review by Singles Review Editor Chuck Taylor for "Bleeding Love", the first ahead of the song's release in the United States, stated it was "a colossal and timeless debut", going on to say "not only a one-listen harmonic show-stopper, it is also hip, soulful, beat-rippling and an undeniable vocal tour de force".The Village Voice described the song as a "perfectly devised emo-pop machine ... the old Mariah is jealous right now".
The song has been ranked 129th by Billboard on its 600 most massive smashes over the chart's six decades.
In the United Kingdom, "Bleeding Love" debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 28 October 2007 ― for the week ending dated 3 November 2007. With "Bleeding Love" reaching number one, Lewis became the first contestant from The X Factor to achieve two number-one singles. It was reported to be outselling Take That's "Rule the World" by three-to-one in chain store Woolworths. The single went on to sell 218,805 copies in its first week, gaining the biggest one-week sales in 2007, a feat it maintained until "When You Believe" by Leon Jackson - her successor as winner of the UK X Factor - was released in December 2007. In its second and third weeks on sale the single sold 158,370 copies, and 111,978 copies respectively, bringing the total sales to 489,153 and making "Bleeding Love" the biggest-selling single of 2007 after just three weeks of release. It stayed at the top of the chart for seven weeks, the longest run from a homegrown female solo artist in British chart history. By the end of 2007 the single had sold a total of 788,000 copies, becoming Britain's biggest-selling single of 2007. It was the first time a single by a British female solo artist had topped the end of year singles sales chart in the then fifty five-year history of the Official Charts Company. The British Phonographic Industry certified "Bleeding Love" platinum on 18 January 2008 and triple platinum on 5 March 2021. In February 2014, it was confirmed by the Official Charts Company that "Bleeding Love" had sold total of 1,180,000 copies in the United Kingdom, making it the 103rd song overall to sell a million copies in Britain, with Lewis the fourteenth female singer to achieve the feat.
In Australia, "Bleeding Love" debuted at number nine on the ARIA Singles Chart on 24 December 2007, and went on to top the chart on 21 January 2008. On 10 February 2008, the single received a platinum certification, with sales of over 70,000. In New Zealand, Lewis became the first British female solo artist to have a number one single since the Sugababes’ "Push the Button" topped the chart in January 2006; it stayed at number one for five weeks. It also reached number one in Switzerland, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. In Spain, the single reached number two on the Spanish Singles Chart by PROMUSICAE. It was certificated Platinum with sales over 40,000 units. "Bleeding Love" was a hit on radio stations around the world, reaching number one in the airplay charts of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Luxembourg,Slovakia, Latin America,Estonia and Japan. In the Greek Airplay Chart, it reached number two. In Italy the song peaked at number 2 on the FIMI Singles Chart based only on digital downloads; instead it peaked at number one on the Italian Musica&Dischi Singles Chart, which is based on digital downloads and CD single sales, for 13 non-consecutive weeks.
In the United States, the single was released digitally on 18 December 2007, and debuted on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at number 11. The song officially debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 1 March 2008 at number 85. The song became Lewis's first U.S. top ten hit, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times: twice for one week and once for two weeks. It also hit number one on subsidiary charts, including Hot Digital Songs, and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks, where it spent 52 weeks. Lewis is the third female artist from the UK to have a number one hit with a debut U.S. single, following Petula Clark with "Downtown" (1965) and Sheena Easton with "Morning Train (Nine to Five)" (1981). It became the second single to have three separate turns atop the Hot 100, following Chic's "Le Freak" (1979). During this time, the parent album Spirit debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making Lewis the first solo British artist in 18 years to simultaneously top both the Billboard albums and singles charts. On the Billboard End of Decade Chart, "Bleeding Love" was 17th. The song has sold 4,589,000 digital downloads in the U.S. by December 2013.
In Canada, the song peaked at number one on the Canadian Hot 100 dated 5 April 2008.
Lewis wearing a Dolce & Gabbana crystal gown in the music video for "Bleeding Love"
There are two music videos for "Bleeding Love". The first was directed by Melina Matsoukas and was filmed in Los Angeles. It is set in a mock apartment block and features six storylines about couples in different stages of relationships. Lewis stated that it is "real colourful, very funky, has lots of extras and I get to really perform". Melina explained her meaning of the video in an interview on MTV's Making the Video, saying that the water in the video is a metaphor for the tenants' love problems, as if the apartments are bleeding love. The international version of the video was first posted to YouTube on 17 October 2007, and which now has over 187 million views.
Lewis filmed a second video in New York City for the US release of "Bleeding Love". The treatment for the video was written by Ryan Tedder, and centres on a storyline involving Lewis arguing with her boyfriend, played by model Nicholas Lemons. It was directed by Jessy Terrero. The video premiered in the United States on 29 January 2008 on Yahoo! Music, and was uploaded to YouTube on 30 January 2008. Its television debut was on 4 February 2008 on VH1 as part of their "You Oughta Know" campaign. This video has over 234 million views on YouTube.
The international version of the music video was nominated for Best UK Video at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. The US version was number one on the VH1 Year-End Top 40.
"Bleeding Love" was covered by Belgian singer-songwriter Tom Dice after he won the Flemish version of The X Factor in 2008. He released his version, on 25 May 2010, from his debut album, which he titled Teardrops. The single reached number 7 in Belgium.