Hit Me….Baby One More Time

Oh baby baby, it’s been 22 years since Britney Spears broke onto the pop scene with her debut single “….Baby One more Time.”

And while it’s hard to imagine anyone besides Brit voicing the iconic hit, the song was actually shopped around to several other artists before landing in the hands of the then 16-year-old ex-Mouseketeer.

Britney Spears in October 1998

The Max Martin-written song was first offered to R&B trio TLC who rejected it because they interpreted the lyrics to be about domestic violence.

“I was like: ‘I like the song but do I think it’s a hit? Do I think it’s TLC?’ Was I going to say, ‘Hit me baby one more time’? Hell no!”

T-Boz, MTV in 2013

Turns out something was lost in the translation when Martin wrote the song.  He mistakenly believed “hit me” was American slang for “call me.”

After TLC turned down “…Baby One More Time” Martin offered it to then budding pop songstress and fellow Swede, Robyn.   Then Simon Cowell attempted to snag the song for UK boy band 5ive but Martin said no.

Finally it landed with Spears and her interpretation of  “….Baby One More Time” turned the singer into a megastar overnight and launched the millennial teen pop genre.

It was the lead single from Spears’ first album of the same name and marked the beginning of her iconic career and a remarkable run of smash hits.  The album sold over 25 million copies, making it one of the best selling albums of all time. 

The iconic song had an equally iconic video to go with it and Britney gets much of the credit for the video’s concept.

She shot down director Nigel Dick’s original concept telling him that she wanted to make a video where she was stuck in a classroom thinking about boys. The director says the controversial school uniform look, that included braids and a bare midriff, was Spears’ idea too.

The video was an instant pop culture moment that was following up by the controversial 1999 Rolling Stone cover shoot featuring Spears lying on her childhood bed in her underwear clutching a Teletubby.   

They don’t call her Britney, Bitch for nothing.

For more stories from the 1990s, make sure to check out my podcast “History of the 90s” on ApplePodcasts, Spotify, Google Play and anywhere else you stream audio. You can also listen at http://www.curiouscast.ca

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