Loving Angels Instead – The Story of Robbie Williams’ “Angels”

“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”

Released in December of 1997, Robbie Williams’ “Angels” can be considered as one of the most career-defining songs of his solo career. This song was serviced as the fourth single from “Life thru a Lens” – his debut album as a solo artist after being a part of the phenomenal pop group Take That. Unfortunately, Williams’ solo effort was considered to be lackluster especially in comparison to the chart success of their releases as Take That. “Angels”, however, turned the tables as it became the singer’s commercially successful singles. Despite not topping the charts (peaking at number four), the song has sold more than a million copies which propelled it to one of Williams’ best selling songs. Even years after “Angels” was released, the said songs has repeatedly appeared in charts thanks to its high number of downloads.

“Angels” also carried a legacy on Williams’ career as it has received numerous accolades. The BRIT Awards named “Angels” as the best song of the past 25 years, cementing its impact and influence to the listening public. The song has been covered by many artists (from Jessica Simpson to Beverly Knight) and has been sung in different languages (Spanish and Italian). Part of the impact of the song’s success would be its lyrical content and the message that it spreads. The song alludes to a guardian angel that guides and cares for the song’s protagonist in times of distress. It may also refer to a specific person whom we can confide into whenever we feel down or troubled. Although the character in the song feels that the world has turned back on them, they find their saving grace by “loving angels instead”.

This is the reason why “Angels” is considered as one of the most commonly played funeral songs. It serves as a tribute to the person that has passed away by comparing them to angels that would always look over us even though they are far away from us. When played during funeral services, “Angels” reminds people that the said person was someone who lived a good life and a human filled with beauty inside and out – deserving of being compared to an angel.