Way before Britney Spears was shaving her head, she was a 90’s pop star with a girl next door sweetness and her singles “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops, I Did It Again” were the number one songs on the charts. We all know that the lyrics to this song, as clipped from the title is “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Which is such a mouthful to say when you aren’t singing it the way she did. But, the way this came to be the title of the song is pretty unexpected.
Bubblegum Pop Hit
The bubblegum pop hit was written by a songwriter from Sweden. This is both where the story starts and what makes it so good. This man, a former glam rocker, and not quite yet successful music producer was named Max Martin. Little did her know, he would later become the genius behind successful pop bands, creating hits such as Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way,” and NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me.”
Way before creating those hits, Martin was the understudy of Denniz Pop at Jive Records, who wrote “All That She Wants” performed by Ace of Base. After hearing Spears sing, they gave her a deal nearly on the spot and started working on music for her. Pop became ill during the producing process, which is when Martin asked producer Rami Yacoub for help. After six songs were finished, Spears flew to Cheiron Studios in Sweeden, where all three co-produced. It later became apparent that she had a vision for her image, but he was the voice behind her songs. “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was the first song they recorded in Sweden while working on her debut album.
TLC Vs. Britney
Jive Records was hoping a repeat in locale would imitate the success of the newly minted Backstreet Boys, who had recorded in Stockholm, Sweden as well. Britney wasn’t the first artist to be given the song. Allegedly the song was written for TLC. The group, however, gave it a hard pass. This might have been for the same reason that most radio stations were trying to pass on giving the song any air time before it came out. You know, because of that “hit me” part in the chorus. Hence changing the title to ” …Baby One More Time”.
Apparently, there is a super laughable reason for this name change. As we know, Martin was Swedish, and at times, words and phrases translated from other dialects don’t always land the way they are meant to in another. In the case of “…Baby One More Time” it was apparent from the perspective of a lover wanting some reciprocation from the object of their affection and wanted them to contact them. As in “hit me up on the phone one more time” or something of that sort. Instead, we got “hit me baby one more time.” Weird, right? But it definitely happens. Have you ever heard “Cake by the Ocean?”
The video hit featuring Spears in a high school dancing, midriff bared, premiered on MTV and went almost immediately straight to number one. The rest is, as they say, history. At almost twenty years post, “…Baby One More Time” is one of the most iconic tunes of Britney Spears’ career and also the entirety of the 90’s pop game.
Editors Note: This post was edited on November 4, 2019, after the original article published on September 26, 2019, contained misleading information. The original article stated Max Martin wrote “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base. Max Martin was the understudy of Denis Pop at Jive Records, who originally wrote “All That She Wants,” not Martin. Max Martin, Denniz Pop, and Rami Yacoub all produced Spears’ debut album in May 1998.