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"Umbrella" is a R&B song performed by Rihanna and features Jay-Z from Rihanna's album Good Girl Gone Bad. It was written by Jay-Z, Terius Nash and Christopher Stewart. It was released on March 29, 2007 as a single and digital download. It was very successful worldwide reaching number one in numerous countries. The song is 4 minutes and 35 seconds long.
Background and single release
The songwriters of "Umbrella" offered the song to a number of labels before Rihanna finally accepted and recorded it. The song was first offered by Britney Spears which she turned it down. Although it was released officially on March 29, 2007, it was released in some parts of the United States on March 28. In the United Kingdom, the single was released as a digital download on May 14 and as a physical single on May 28.
The music video for "Umbrella" was directed by Chris Applebaum on April 13, 2007. It premiered on April 26 at the thisisrihanna.com website. The video was released on May 11, and reached the number one spot for eight weeks.
The video features Jay-Z rapping in the beginning while in a rain of sparks. Rihanna is then shown singing in a steamy place. In the first chorus, Rihanna walks around en pointe while in the rain. In the second verse, she is seen dancing with an umbrella in a different place. Later, she is painted silver and posing in several positions while nude. At the end of the video, Rihanna is again dancing with an umbrella while in a shower of sparks falling like rain.
"Umbrella" reached the number one spot in a number of countries. It topped the charts in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland at the same time. It peaked at the top spot in the United Kingdom for ten weeks in a row from May 20 to July 29, 2007. It was the longest running number one song since "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet in 1994 (that song spent 15 weeks). It was knocked off the number one spot in the UK by Timbaland's "The Way I Are".
The song's reign at number one in the UK happened when the country was hit by extreme rainfall and flooding, which led some people to jokingly suggest the two events were related, calling it the "Rihanna Curse". Interestingly in Greece (the single's worst performing market) "Umbrella" was released at a time when people were suffering through a summer of several heatwaves topping 45C/113F and the worst forest fires of modern history, killing 60. The song only reached number fourteen in the Greek singles chart.