Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time

In 1997, britney Jean kirche was a high institution freshman aching zu get out of the quiet stretch von Louisiana that bumps trost against Mississippi. The most significant thing about her at die time was one off-Broadway credit and her status as a previous Mouseketeer. A year later she would come to be one des the biggest pop stars bei the world, many thanks to die strength of herstellung debut single, "…Baby One more Time." Produced von Max martin — a failed sweden glam-metal rocker who was making coffee operation while his mentor, Denniz Pop, was producing "The Sign" and "All that She Wants" weil das Ace von Base — the lied would go on to define at an early stage '00s pop music.

Du schaust: Britney spears - one more time

Twenty years after its relax (on Oct. 23, 1998), us take a deep dive right into one von the most groundbreaking hits in history.

Jive documents had nur started branching the end from that is stable des R&B plot (they'd nbiologischelandbouw.orgly signed those Backstreet Boys) wie a photo of 15-year-old britney landed weist their office.

Barry Weiss, president des Jive Records: Jeff Fenster^ had come into bei A&R meeting und shown united state a picture of this yes, really pretty young woman on a red and white picnic blanket, practically like a tablecloth from one of those small, regional Italian restaurants. It was kind of funny. I think she might schutz had a dog in the picture as well. Almost like straßenstadt from Kansas.

Larry Rudolph, bei entertainment lawyer und family freund of ns Spearses, brought produziert into Jive for an audition.

Barry Weiss: She was wearing a schwarze farbe cocktail dress and high heels. She sang live for us: Whitney Houston ballads, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton. She really was a great singer. She looked amazing. She was like, fünfzehn years old. Und we kind of thought, Wow, this ist really left des center. There's no female popular music artist the end there appropriate now.

John Seabrook, author des The das lied Machine: Inside die Hit Factory: Clive Calder, that was die head des Jive, signed herstellung to a provisional contract. This was a very far-reaching moment in pop history: die signing of britney Spears as a sort des girl-next-door teenager, fairly than as a Whitney Houston-esque diva. One of the calculations there was, Clive Calder was notoriously cheap, and Whitney Houston was notoriously expensive. So britney Spears seemed favor she would be cheap too, since she was just a teenager from Louisiana, and wasn't demanding bei any way.

Star secured, ns Jive team needed, well, music. They turned zu Swedish producer-songwriter max Martin, of Cheiron Studios, who had operated with Ace von Base und co-produced some lied on die Backstreet Boys' self-titled debut album.

Barry Weiss:  There weren't numerous U.S. Mainstream popular music producers that could do young artists. Ns pop at the time was very appropriate down ns middle. Yet we were looking weil das edgier, younger-sounding records. Us had in A&R office punkt Jive in Hilversum, outside Amsterdam. Martin Dodd was our A&R guy, and the max Martin und Cheiron connection.

Max Martin*: I was bei Florida und Jeff asked me kommen sie stop von the office in York to meet this mädchen while i was in America. She was all dressed up. She was 16. She thought i was a 50-year-old producer from the old school. Ich had really lang hair at die time — ich looked favor Ozzy Osbourne. It was pretty obvious that she had something, even though she was very quiet and very shy.



Max Martin*: I create on ns Dictaphone. Ich came up with the melody first. Ich wrote ns chorus; you nur hum that in. Thanks to , that song sounds die way it does. He ist much more urban und R&B than me. I'm more von a melody man. So he's a big reason that the song turned out die way the it did.

NaNa Hedin, backup vocalist: I remember that ich thought the das lied was for teenagers but the production was filled v a grown-up attitude and with sound that ich really liked. I was dafür impressed über how a male like Max und the other writers can write lyrics that got into ns hearts and spoke to teenage thinking. It really stood for entirety generation, notfall them.

Barry Weiss: Martin Dodd had this demo, which was then referred to as "Hit Me infant One much more Time," und he sent it into us und said, "This zu sein a song maximal had written zum TLC, however they didn't really want to cut the record." i think Arista wanted Deborah Cox — she was ns heir apparent kommen sie Whitney, und Clive Davis was really into her. But max was not down with that… wie the song came into us, us thought, let's reduced this with Britney. Let's send produziert to Stockholm. The magic that functioned with die Backstreet Boys, why wouldn't it arbeiten again for britney Spears?

Britney Spears*: I didn't know what zu expect. It was my zuerst time overseas. Lock had six songs, i had a week.

Max Martin*: She was very well prepared. Since "…Baby One more Time" was the zuerst song, us really didn't understand where to take it. We nur kept on recording. Us tried a couple des different styles. After ~ a while, i could hear herstellung stomach growl in the microphone. Ich asked if she was hungry. We'd to be going zum eight hours. She said, "No, I'm fine." i said, "Let's take a break," und she had actually three burgers.

John Seabrook: In those days, and maybe this is blieb true, max made all ns demos himself. He would certainly sing the different harmony components himself, too. Maximal has in amazing voice, und very couple of people oase ever in reality heard that demo. I did listen it, und Max sounds exactly like Britney, consisting of all the wenig sounds that sound improvised; die mow-woww sounds. So britney ended trost sounding exactly like Max.

Chris Molanphy, chart analyst and pop critic: The factor why it continues to be one of the many iconic songs von the 1990s teenager pop boomlet ist it's kind of a perfect marriage von song und artist und songwriter. If max Martin is John Hughes, he discovered his Molly Ringwald. His muse-vehicle for his particular feuer of writing. You can't bild it gift sung von anybody else.

Barry Weiss: I remember wie man we gott it rückseitig with britney on it, she had actually that "oh BAY-BAY BAY-BAY," these advertisement libs. We assumed it was really weird at first. It was strange. That was notfall the way maximal wrote it. But it worked! We assumed it could be a really an excellent opening salvo zum her.

NaNa Hedin: The magic ist the attitude. Deep underneath die pop sound it has a sexy absent rebel attitude, native a young schoolgirl and her voice.



John Seabrook: Before the das lied came out, nobody an America liked ns hook, "hit me baby one more time." Everybody thought it was some sort des weird allusion zu domestic violence or something. But what the really was was die Swedes utilizing English not exactly correctly. What they yes, really wanted to say was, "hit me trost on die phone one more time" or something. But hinweisen that point, Max's English wasn't the great. So it come out sound a wenig bit weird in English. But wie they tried to get er to adjust it, the said, "No, that can't be changed. That's it."

Barry Weiss: I in reality changed the lyric. I was concerned around going zu U.S. Radio with a song called "Hit Me infant One more Time." i don't understand if I'm proud des this or not: ich came up with the "…Baby One more Time."

Barry Weiss: I go immediately to Nigel Dick, ns video director. He had actually done ns Backstreet Boys video "Backstreet's Back," "I want it that Way."

Nigel Dick, director, "…Baby One more Time" video: Interestingly, a gbiologischelandbouw.orgächs of people ich worked v at ns time said me i should walk far from the project. "She's in unknown girl. She's 16 year old. It's candy-floss pop." I'd done rather a gbiologischelandbouw.orgächs of ingredient which was a bit an ext meaty: Oasis, Guns und Roses, blah, blah, blah. I just assumed the song was really, really good.

Barry Weiss: Nigel came up with an idea, like, britney is in outer space. She comes und lands ~ above Mars ~ above a spaceship, and then she breaks into this dance routine. i m sorry Dick so directed.> i was like, "Wow, this zu sein great!" and Britney looked punkt this und said, "This ist horrible. No way am I act this. This ist really cheesy. Allow me obtain on die phone through Nigel Dick."

Barry Weiss: Her idea was the whole Grease thing, dancing bei the hallway. She gave die kernel of the idea to Nigel, and he came trost with the rest.

Nigel Dick: Your anfangsverdacht reaction kommen sie this is, I'm being told von a 16-year-old-girl what i should do this mädchen is 16 und I'm a get an impressive man; probably she has actually a much better perspective on her audience than ich do. Deswegen I swallowed mine pride.

John Seabrook: Britney much better than die adults what human being wanted and I think that's deshalb significant, because ich think die adults began to realize the they didn't necessarily understand what the kids want anymore.

Nigel Dick: was very easy. There was no ja wirklich drama. What i did notfall know at the time was that, of course, you oase this suffer with die Mickey computer mouse Club. As much as ich, she was just a schoolgirl from the South. she was very relaxed in front of the camera. She was very, very drilled through her tanzen routine. I've operated with produziert four times, and I've yet kommen sie work with somebody that puts an as viel preparation, and was as eager kommen sie rehearse, together she was.


Every article des clothing an the video was purchased hinweisen K-Mart and cost much less than $17. An inauspicious beginning zum what would become a renowned (or infamous, relying on your point von outfit weil das the underage performer.

Nigel Dick: ich don't have kids, deswegen my understanding von what adolescents wore was limited kommen sie driving home from die office and seeing kids standing by a bus stop. Deswegen I suggested they would be attract jeans und t-shirts and sneakers und would schutz backpacks, und Britney said, "Well, shouldn't i be put on a schoolgirl outfit?" and I was very dubious around this idea. But ich was overruled.

Chris Molanphy: I can't prove this, but, the fact that all female teen pop stars zum the next approximately three years had zu shoot a video with their belly button bared — britney made the look iconic.

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Vanessa Grigoriadis, reporter, "The Tragedy of britney Spears": She said to Rolling Stone, "All ich did was tie hoch my shirt. I didn't do anything." und this has always been the question with Britney: go she know what she's doing? It was very much on the edge of what was acceptable then.

Nigel Dick: Certainly, my anfangsverdacht reaction was, "Are sie sure we must be going under this path with this young lady?" and the human being who were bei control, ns record label and whatnot, said yes, this zu sein the route we want zu take.

Britney Spears**: There are dafür many other adolescents out there that dress more provocatively than ich do and no one states anything about them. How kann sein I describe this? i don't see myself — hand on ns Bible — ich know I'm not ugly, but ich don't see myself together a geschlechter symbol or this goddess-attractive-beautiful person at all. Wie man I'm ~ above stage, that's my time to do mine thing und go there und be that — and it's fun. It's exhilarating just to be something that you're not. Und people often tend to glauben it.

Nigel Dick: I was kind of aware that some human being might feel that that was exploitative. And as it turned out, I gott a substantial amount des grief around it once ns video come out.

John Ivey, President des CHR Programming zum iHeartMedia: I was programming Kiss 108 an Boston, dafür Jack Fader brought her into ns station. Right here she come in, wenig kid, no makeup. You tun können tell how young she is. But very wise, already. Lock had just gotten ns final edit des the video VHS. We entered this office und I'm sitting there watching it with her, and I'm looking hinweisen her, und looking at die video, like, hey, what's going on here? It showed what was going zu happen very quickly. When you lakers it you're like, omigosh, this whole schoolgirl thing, it's a little sexy. Yet then I'm sit here und she's really little, she's got no makeup on, she's just a little kid.

Vanessa Grigoriadis: When ich was reporting this article, a last of human being said britney wanted to it is in sexy. Und the world who are regulating her, all die guys who were dafür involved in her image, they to be trying zu make herstellung look less slutty, basically, was die word someone used zu me. And she wanted kommen sie push ns boundaries. I think the it's impossible to know if it's in reality true.

Britney Spears**: i guess it's because ich do oase a younger audience that, you know, parents concern about the role modell thing…. However when ich was younger, ich looked up zu people, but i never wanted zu be them. I always had my own identity. I'm in entertainer wie man I'm on stage…and castle need to explain that zu their kids. That's not my arbeit to do that.

"…Baby One much more Time" was released ~ above October 23, 1998. That debuted on the Billboard warm 100 much less than a month later and spent 32 main on the charts.

Barry Weiss: We had herstellung a top top a shopping center tour, handing the end cassette singles, an the summer and the fall. The video come out nice simultaneous with ns song. It was just in absolute explosion… über November the was nur a worldwide phenomenon.

John Ivey: We felt favor it was a hit. There's sometimes sie get records, , I want to play the as quickly as ich can. ich know ich wasn't ns only person that felt favor that. Most von the time, zum a record like that, ich said, I'll anfang it out hinweisen night, seen what the kids think, and see what happens before we spread out it the end to ns day. Und obviously it came to be a huge monster hit.

The video came out just as MTV combined two existing program ("MTV Live" und "Total Request") into the, Carson Daly-hosted, soon-to-be-pop-phenomenon "Total request Live." 

Chris Molanphy: I'm certain if you were 40 und wanted zu call TRL, sie could. But no one over 20 was calling TRL. So it was this mainline, hooked zu your veins, of what teenagers were many obsessed with. And it was either the stuff that made them feel choose a difficult badass or the stuff that made castle swoon. And Britney come just together this is beginning. Die way she was presented as this schoolgirl unable to do bad, it had actually a combination of Swedish pure popular music crossed through a little frisson von edge. It could not schutz been more perfect for the era von TRL.

John Seabrook: MTV had, up kommen sie that point, tried zu resist mainstream pop, because they wanted to be regarded as cool… But ich think v Britney, und the video an particular, and the fact that TRL had actually launched punkt around the same time, that really readjusted MTV.

John Ivey: Britney had the second level. Civilization saw this video und thought, what zu sein this girl? Because anyone latched onto this immediately. The wasn't very lang after that, she was on rojo Stone.

"…Baby One an ext Time" didn't nur launch Britney's career: that kicked off ns teen popular music boom des the late '90s, clearing ns way weil das a fleet of britney also-rans und boy bands to dominate TRL und the airwaves pretty much until adolescents stopped watching TRL and listening to the radio. It so was ns breakout moment for maximal Martin, who went on zu become one des the many successful, prominent pop producers bei modern history, und all ns Swedish producers who followed.

Barry Weiss: What it was like was worldwide domination. Und the differential v "…Baby One more Time" and why it was such a cataclysmic event, that was ns reemergence des pop music.

John Ivey: It would certainly be in the oberteil percentile von singles in the previous 25 years. Since it broke herstellung as bei artist und what she became. It's like Madonna's "Like a Virgin," or Prince's "Let's walk Crazy." It's the song that do her britney Spears.

John Seabrook: It was instrumental an putting Cheiron und Max und Sweden on die map. Other Swedish songmakers gott the idea that they didn't just schutz to write weil das Swedes or probably Brits; they might write weil das Americans and really tap right into that substantial market.

Barry Weiss: I mean look, was she affiliated with composing those songs? maximal Martin zu sein a genius, okay? He's brilliant. The tailor-made those records zum her. Yet she would never schutz had ns career without herstellung vision. She has this natural ability kommen sie move die media.

Joe Levy, Rolling Stone editor:  The windy perception zu sein that this is all created, that ns record agency created this — die artist, the music, ns image. I oase to tell you, if the record agency could schutz created more than one britney Spears, castle would oase done it, and they tried! und people, Mandy Moore is in actress.

Joe Levy: Britney Spears is someone who, from ns time she was a child, wanted to be a star. Die drive, ns determination, ns ambition — you schutz to give this woman the same sort of respect that justin Timberlake gets. Otherwise, I'm sorry, but you're engaging in a twin standard.

Twenty years later, "…Baby One more Time" sounds together sharp together it ever did: Sultry, catchy together hell, both totally of its time and like something that could schutz been released this morning.

John Seabrook: I think die melody zu sein eternal, or punkt least, transcends its late '90s period. Und I think ns words, the zuerst time sie hear it, it's constantly going zu be something that makes you go, what? kann I say that? kann sein I sing in addition to that?

Chris Molanphy: The way the song ist structured, how die chorus goes zu this chorus von voices — die song zu sein structured kommen sie deliver preferably pleasure.

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John Ivey: There's some songs that just schutz a timeless feel. Ich imagine if freundin said, "Sing a britney Spears das lied to me," that's ns one human being would sing the hook to. That's what's ingrained right into your mind together what she is. And the thing is, when you look weist her, she still looks the same. I mean, she's older, but you ausblüten see ns same boy there… when you look weist Brit, you still see her. You ausblüten see ns same girl. Und you know, it's one des those things, i always schutz the feeling auch that world root weil das her.

^Jeff fenster stepped under as Warner Bros documents EVP von A&R tonnage December, after he was accused des sexual misconduct über a female former executive *From The Billboard Book von No. 1 Hits**From a 2001 with entertainment Weekly