20 years after ‘A Thousand Miles,’ the Vanessa Carlton hit has been played a bazillion times


(CNN)Few debut hits have had the broad and lasting impact of “A Thousand Miles.”

Just ask Terry Crews, who can thank it for his big break.

    Vanessa Carlton’s debut single — released 20 years ago on February 12, 2002 — was an undeniable smash.

      Now, after 1,000 and 20, here are a few more “By the Numbers” facts about the distinctive earworm, whose enduring trajectory somehow touches ’60s pop, ’70s rock, and “America’s Got Talent.”

        One: Number of Previous Titles on Soundtracks to Reese Witherspoon Movies

        Before its release as a single, “A Thousand Miles (Interlude)” was included in “Legally Blonde.”

          Five: Top Position on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Australia chart

          The tune hit No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts, and hit big around the world.

          Three: Grammy Nominations

          The tune had the misfortune of going up against Norah Jones and lost Record of the Year and Song of the Year to “Don’t Know Why.” It was also up for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).

          Three: Times the Song Is Featured in the ‘White Chicks’ Movie

          The 2004 comedy starred Shawn and Marlon Wayans, but it gave actor-host Crews the catalyst to stardom he needed. “How did you know? I love this song!” he says enthusiastically when one of the title characters mockingly plays it.

          One: Rock Music Luminaries Who Officiated Carlton’s Wedding

          On December 27, 2013, Carlton was married — by Stevie Nicks.

          June 25, 2019: Date of Carlton’s Broadway Debut

          Despite never repeating the smash success of her first hit, Carlton continued to record — and even made it the Great White Way as Carole King in the musical “Beautiful.”

          Three: Seconds in the Piano Intro

          Rolling Stone calls it “arguably the most easily identifiable first three seconds to a song of the last two decades, and quite possibly the most instantaneously recognizable piano riff ever.”

            Unknown: Number of Possible Inspirations for the Song

            Carlton says she wrote the tune for a now-famous movie actor, whose name or even gender she won’t reveal.