As we all know, “…Baby One More Time” made 16-year-old Britney Spears an instant superstar.
Originally titled “Hit Me Baby,” the catchy tune was written by Swedish music producer and songwriter Max Martin for TLC, the three-woman American R&B group.
Apparently, Martin and his collaborators thought “Hit Me Baby” was American slang for “call me,” explains author John Seabrook in his book “The Song Machine.”
“It’s hard to imagine that anyone for whom English is a first language would write the phrase ‘Hit me baby’ without intending it as an allusion to domestic violence or S&M,” Seabrook wrote.
TLC’s singer T-Boz later recalled in an interview why the trio decided to pass on the song.
“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!” she said, according to Seabrook.
The title of the song was tweaked to “…Baby One More Time,” and passed to Swedish teen-pop queen Robyn.
She passed on it as well before it was given to newly-signed Britney Spears.
On November 3, 1998, Jive Records released Spears’ debut single and sold 500,000 copies that day.
The song spent a cool 32 weeks on the Hot 100 charts and the high-school-set music video was voted as the most requested video of all time on TRL.
Today, the song remains Spears’ longest-charting single, according to Billboard.
Here’s the iconic video that launched Spears’ career:
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