‘Glee’ Covers ‘All By Myself’: The Story Behind The Song

Guest star Charice belts Eric Carmen's 1975 power ballad in 'Night of Neglect' episode.

After weeks of being absent, both “Glee” and Charice were back at McKinley High on Tuesday.

The latest installment, titled “A Night of Neglect,” was the first new airing since the Fox show’s March 15 “original songs” episode . It also marked the return of singer/ “Oprah Winfrey Show” phenom Charice . Last seen in the season-two opener “Audition,” the 18-year-old guest star revived her role as the talented rival glee club member, Sunshine Corazon.

Wanting to prove that she wasn’t a spy for Vocal Adrenaline, that she was only there to contribute to New Directions’ upcoming benefit show, Sunshine took to the stage to sing the classic ballad about loneliness, “All By Myself.”

Of course, it’s hardly the first time the song has been covered, as it’s been done by everyone from Sheryl Crow to Axl Rose to Celine Dion (who recorded, arguably, the most popular rendition of the song), and even a recently eliminated “American Idol” hopeful . So we thought we’d give you a brief history of Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself.”

Although the song is now known primarily as a cover — not to mention a karaoke staple for the especially brave — it was written and performed back in 1975 by a newly solo Eric Carmen, appearing originally on his self-titled debut album. Released on December 1, 1975, “All By Myself” had hit #2 on the Billboard chart by December 20, making it not only one of his biggest hits, but also a pop/soft-rock radio mainstay. (Carmen, once part of the Raspberries before going solo, is also behind hugely popular singles like “Hungry Eyes” from the movie “Dirty Dancing” and “Almost Paradise” from “Footloose.”)

During a 1991 interview, the singer/songwriter discussed how “All By Myself” was actually inspired by (and samples from) Rachmaninoff. “When I was writing that album, I was listening to my favorite music which was Rachmaninoff. ‘All By Myself’ incorporated a melody from his 2nd piano concerto as the verse,” he said at the time.

Carmen also divulged that the song had three different titles before he settled on “All By Myself,” and explained that he borrowed the song’s first notes from the opening verse of his other lovelorn song, “The Way We Used to Be.” Granted, the song was a smash thanks to Carmen, but it took on a whole new life after Dion covered it.

Dion already had hits from her 1996 certified-gold album, Falling Into You, including “Because You Loved Me” and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” She followed suit with her soaring take on Carmen’s ballad. The Canadian pop star’s version, released on October 6, 1996, features the songstress hitting (and holding) the staggering high notes in the song’s swelling conclusion. It topped the Hot Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Dion put the David Foster-produced song on her ’99 greatest hits and 2008 compilation albums. And in that time, the song has only continued to gain in popularity. As Carmen put it, Dion’s version “pretty much established ‘All By Myself’ as a franchise.”

The song has since been featured in films like “Clueless” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” as well as on television, particularly during reality competition shows. “X Factor” victor Leona Lewis sang “All By Myself” on her season’s finale, while recent “American Idol” contestant Pia Toscano performed it before her controversial exit. Interestingly enough, “Glee” had already paid homage to the song last season, when Jayma Mays (as guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury) dramatically cried the chorus during the “Showmance” episode.

While it did seem strange, even borderline inappropriate, that teen Charice was crooning the memorable opening lines, “When I was young/ I never needed anyone / And making love was just for fun / Those days are gone,” the song’s strength matched with the young singer’s stirring voice made it a number to remember during “A Night of Neglect.”

What did you think of Charice’s “Glee” cover of “All By Myself”? Tell us in the comments!