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k.d. lang is most known for her 1990s alternative rock hit “Constant Craving.” While the song became famous, lang revealed the recording process was “torturous.” Here’s why making the song was difficult — and why she didn’t initially want to record it.

k.d. lang with an award
k.d. lang | Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

The unorthodox way k.d. lang wrote ‘Constant Craving’

According to The New York Times, lang wrote the song on fax paper because that’s the only kind of paper she had on her at the time. Generally, she prefers to write songs on a typewriter. lang ultimately kept the fax paper she wrote “Constant Craving” on and it’s so sun bleached it’s barely legible.

During an interview with The Guardian, “Constant Craving”’s co-writer, Ben Mink, discussed the song’s original title. “‘Constant Craving’ was originally titled ‘Easter Passover,’ because it was written on a day that coincides with both holidays,” he revealed. “For me it’s like a spiritual, like ‘We Shall Overcome:’ an inspirational song about getting through the sh*tty parts, which may be partly down to how it was made.”

“We Shall Overcome”

Why it was hard to make ‘Constant Craving’ — and why k.d. lang didn’t like it

Elsewhere in the same article, lang revealed why it was so difficult to make ‘Constant Craving.” “Recording it was tortuous,” she said. “I was singing off key and didn’t know why, a shocking thing for a singer to experience. Then it turned out a dental problem was affecting my hearing. I had root canal surgery and was cured. If you’re a terrible singer, get a root canal!”

Beyond the difficulty she had singing “Constant Craving,” lang still disliked the song in some ways. “I was pissed off that we had this song,” she said. “It was poppy, celebratory, upbeat and didn’t fit with the mood of the Ingénue album.”

“Constant Craving”

Why The Rolling Stones Gave k.d. lang a Writing Credit on 1 of Their Hits

She still sang it for a very specific reason. “I knew we needed a 10th song but dragged my heels and was reluctant to sing or record it. I guess part of me knew that it was going to be a big thing.” During an interview with The New York Times, lang said she didn’t want to sing “Constant Craving” because she felt the song made her a sell-out. However, she came to love the song.

How k.d. lang came to embrace ‘Constant Craving’

However, lang came to love “Constant Craving.” Afterward, she started performing the song at the end of all of her shows. She’d put her microphone in the direction of her audience so they could sing the track back to her. The New York Times’ Penelope Green said “Constant Craving” became as integral to lang’s shows as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” became to their shows. Lang had a hard time making “Constant Craving,” however, it became one of the most famous parts of her career.