Fifteen years ago today, a then unknown 16-year-old named Britney Spears released her debut single “…Baby One More Time.” The song would need a few more months to take off, but once it did, Spears was instantaneously launched into pop superstardom. The mega success of “Baby” would only be the beginning of what led Britney to become the best-selling female artist of the 2000s decade. Years later and she is still continuing to conquer music charts today in the wake of her stellar debut single.
After a two-season stint on Disney’s “The New Mickey Mouse Club” in the early ’90s, Spears would take time off to be a normal teenager. She later got the itch to get into the music business and signed with Jive Records in late 1997. After her label ordered a full album from the singer, she recorded “…Baby One More Time” following the song’s rejection by TLC and the Backstreet Boys. As history notes, it would go on to be the biggest hit of her career.
Three instantly recognizable piano notes open “…Baby One More Time,” which Spears follows up with her signature pronunciation of the word “baby.” On the infectious pop track, Britney longs for a lost love, hoping to be hit by some sign of affection. “When I’m not with you, I lose my mind / Give me a sign, hit me baby one more time,” she sings during the powerhouse chorus. “Baby” will always be the most memorable in Spears’ catalog since it was her first big hit.
“…Baby One More Time” was released on September 30, 1998 but the song would not really take off until the music video premiered in November. Britney decided to rock a Catholic school girl outfit with some major adjustments (i.e. tying up her blouse to reveal her stomach). She also pulled off some gymnastics-like choreography around a high school setting. Her iconic daydream video led “Baby” to debut on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the same month. It would soon become her first single to hit no. 1 on the chart in January 1999.
When “…Baby One More Time” was released in September 1998, it was paired with Spears’ often forgotten b-side “Autumn Goodbye.” On the effervescent pop song, Spears lets a summer fling know that it’s the end of the road for them once those red leaves start falling from the trees. “I never promised you a happy ending / You never said you wouldn’t make me cry,” she sadly sings to her lover. Among the remixes “Baby” received, the Davidson Ospina Club Mix is still the best. Ospina made Britney’s biggest hit dance club ready with his house music makeover.
Britney’s debut album, also titled “…Baby One More Time,” debuted atop Billboard in January 1999 and it remains to be the best-selling record by a teenage artist. In a time when pop groups, a majority of which were boy bands, dominated the charts, Spears broke through the trend as a successful solo artist.
Since then, Britney has hit no. 1 on Billboard’s albums chart six times (2007’s “Blackout” peaked at no. 2) and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. She also has five no. 1 hits on the Hot 100. Spears’ latest single “Work B**ch” previews her eighth studio album, which drops on December 3.
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