This was written by Anslem Douglas, a musician from Trinidad who wrote it two years before The Baha Men recorded it. Various versions were hits in the Caribbean, but The Baha Men toned down the Calypso rhythm to make it more appealing to American listeners.
We have yet to meet someone who can remember any words to this song other than the chorus, which is: "Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof." The song does have verses and even a hint of meaning - the lyrics are about disrespectful men who hit on women at a party.
Desmond Child helped produce this song. He is a prolific hitmaker who had worked with many artists, including Bon Jovi, Cher, Kelly Clarkson, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Joan Jett. His slick production helped make this accessible to a mainstream audience.
Considering what a sensation this song was in America, it had a surprisingly low chart position, peaking at just #40. While the song seemed to be everywhere, its omnipresence was due more to cultural references than to record sales or airplay. Few radio stations put the song in rotation, and in this pre-download era, consumers had little interest in owning the single. To put it in perspective of other one hit wonders of the era, Lou Bega's "Mambo No 5 (A Little Bit Of)
" made #3, and "Macarena
" spent a shocking 14 weeks at #1.
At many American sporting events, this was used after the home team made a big play.
This caused a spat with the Seattle Mariners baseball team. Catcher Joe Oliver was using it as his theme music, but shortstop Alex Rodriguez wanted to use it. Rodriguez got his way because he was the star. The next year, Rodriquez signed a record $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
The title became a popular catch phrase in America when it was used in the 2000 World Series between the Mets and Yankees. At one point, an exasperated reporter who was sick of hearing the same questions over and over asked Yankees manager Joe Torre if he knew who let the dogs out.
This is very popular with kids. It was voted best video on the Nickelodeon awards.
This was used in the movie Rugrats In Paris. The deal was made before the song became a hit.
Younger, video-friendly singers were brought in to front the group when it became clear this was a breakout hit for The Baha Men.
The Baha Men performed this live on ESPN's Sportscenter in 2000.
This won the 2000 Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
Rick Carey is the only member of the 9-piece Baha Men not to own a dog. He only owned cats.