Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#16); 1997

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Duncan Sheik hails from Montclair, Jersey and spent his formative years in South Carolina. The music muse called to Duncan at the tender age of five, and by 12 he was exercising his guitar chops in a covers band called Slightly Off.

While attending Brown University, he played guitar behind Lisa Loeb in the group Liz & Lisa, and put together his own demo tape. Two years of knocking on record company doors finally brought him a real deal in 1994.

Duncan’s debut album hit the street in on June 4, 1996, as he was opening for Jewel on her first national tour. Boosted by this exposure and some network television appearances, Barely Breathing slipped into the Hot 100 just after Thanksgiving, and peaked in May of 1997.

When Breathing finally fell off the charts after 55 weeks, Barely Breathing found itself tied with Missing at the #5 position for longest chart run of the twentieth century.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Rupert Hine

Lyrics Written by:

  • Duncan Sheik