Published on March 10th, 2009 | by Darren Byrne4
Tuesday Tune – …Baby, One More Time
No, the track is not called ‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time’. Jive Records’ executives felt it sounded like they were condoning domestic violence, so changed the title to ‘…Baby, One More Time’. Much better!
Britney Spears’ first single was a huge smash hit and it to date her biggest selling track. Reaching number 1 in almost every country in which it was released, Baby made Britney an instant household name. In fact, the only country it didn’t make it to the top spot in was Mexico, where it peaked at a measly number 2.
A feat of PR and marketing genius, producers Max Martin and Rami Yacoub created something incredible in Britney Spears. They took this trailer park trash, Madonna-wannabe and molded her into Pop’s ultimate princess at the tender young age of 17. Though we now look at the Princess as a figure of ridicule and pity, it’s easy to forget how important she was to the lives of millions of teenagers (and middle-aged men).
‘…Baby, One More Time’ was written and produced by Max Martin. In 1999, Martin was having one hell of a successful year. He was chalking up hit after hit writing for Backstreet Boys, including ‘I Want it That Way’, the band’s biggest hit to date. He wrote Baby for the Boys and, after they turned it down, it was passed to TLC who also declined the track. Thus, it fell into the batch of songs being prepared for young Britney. It was a bouncy, cheery, typical pop song and would undoubtedly do well, but when it was combined with Nigel Dick’s music video, it was destined to be huge.
The story goes: Nigel Dick had originally envisioned a high concept cartoon video to attract younger audiences to buy the single. Apparently Britney herself felt it would be better to do something a bit more mature and suggested the school setting and her, now iconic, school uniform look.
The outfits looked kind of dorky, so I was like, “Let’s tie up
our shirts and be cute”.
Britney Spears, 1998
Shot in two days in August 1998 at Venice High School (the same place Rydell from Grease was set) in California, the music video for Baby begins with Spears in a particularly boring class right before the end of the day. When the bell rings, Spears runs out into the hall and begins a choreographed dance. Her love interest in the video is played by her real-life cousin, Chad. The video became an instant hit on MTV and other music channels and sparked many a copycat routine in girls’ bedrooms across the world.
Baby has been covered by numerous artist including the unlikely Evanescence, The Offspring, Travis and Tori Amos. So large an effect it had on pop culture that is has featured in numerous TV shows including the US soap, The Young and the Restless, and was also used as the title for the short lived Vernon Kay reality TV show about one hit wonders, Hit Me Baby One More Time.
Is it a good song? No, probably not. It’s clichéd pop cheese and the only reason it became so huge was Britney’s scantily clad body dancing around in that music video, but there’s no denying it’s impact and there’s no getting away from the fact that it thrust Britney Spears onto the front pages of the tabloids for the first of many times over the last 10 years. Click here for the original in all its cheesy glory, or press play below for Travis’s interesting ‘…Baby, One More Time’: