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This was written by Linda Perry, who was a member of the group 4 Non Blondes. When Aguilera and Perry first met they didn't get on. Perry told Aguilera: "Everyone knows you can sing, but it's not convincing emotionally." Aguilera was apparently offended by this, but later thought it would be a good idea to work with Perry because of how she helped revive Pink's career.
Before recording the song, Aguilera and Perry talked, and Christina recalled suffering physical abuse at the hands of her father. Apparently, she began to cry and asked for the session to be abandoned, but Perry thought it was the perfect opportunity to record the song. She told Q magazine: "I know it sounds ghoulish, and she didn't think she could do it, but I made her do the song in tears." (thanks, Adam - Dewsbury, England, for above 2)
Linda Perry wrote this with the intention of having it as her comeback single, but when she played it to Christina Aguilera, she hadn't yet recorded it. Perry recalls in 1000 UK #1 Hits
by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: "I played it to Christina who immediately fell in love with it, so I gave her the chance to demo it. Her first vocal take, reading the lyrics from a piece of paper in my living room, were so fulfilling that we used that version on the single. It had a very raw feeling, which I liked, but Christina wanted it re-done to technical perfection. I said no and it took me 7 months of arguments until she finally agreed."
The gay community embraced this song. The video shows a cross-dressing man and a homosexual kiss. It was honored by the Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for its positive portrayal of alternative lifestyles. Linda Perry is gay.
The first single from the album was "Dirrty
," which featured a lascivious video but not much of a beat. It didn't get much radio play and Aguilera was taking a lot of heat for the video, so this was quickly issued as the second single. The message of self-acceptance went over well and helped put the focus more on Christina's singing and less on her lack of clothes.
This won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal, and Aguilera performed the song on the show. A week before The Grammys, Janet Jackson created lots of controversy when her breast was exposed during the halftime show. CBS, who also broadcast the Super Bowl, ran a 5 minute delay on The Grammy awards to make sure nothing like that happened. They almost had to use the delay when Aguilera accepted her award - she was wearing a very revealing dress and looked like she was in danger of popping out. She made a few comments about it before accepting the award and thanking Perry for writing the song.
Elvis Costello recorded a cover of this song for an episode of the TV program House. (thanks, Louise - Sheffield, England)
During this song a faint rhythm track can be heard in the background. This was caused by headphone bleed, which is sound leaking from her headphone monitor into the microphone. Dave Pensado, who mixed the song claimed: "The song was about being beautiful and honest in every way. That bleed is honest. It was one of the most honest vocal performances I had ever heard. It was actually the scratch vocal."
This song was performed on the sixteenth episode ("Home") of the American TV series Glee
by new cheerleader Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley). Music producer Adam Anders told MTV News that her moving rendition almost didn't happen. "Amber Riley didn't want to sing it," he said. "Don't let her tell you otherwise. She really respects Christina Aguilera and wanted to do it justice. Like when she did 'And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going
,' she was really nervous about it. But as everyone knows, she killed it."
was Aguilera's sophomore album, and it found the young songstress reacting against the pop tunes her label got her to record on her debut record. She explained in Chicken Soup For the Soul: The Story Behind The Song
: "I called the CD Stripped
because I wanted to strip away the pieces of myself from the first record that I felt weren't me. I was searching for truth. We can all look at our pasts, childhoods, home lives and it's easy to be a victim or victimize yourself -- but I didn't want to do that. I was feeling lots of pent up emotions and they all came to a head in 'Fighter
I wanted my songs to have positive empowering messages, especially to women so they could feel strong and speak for themselves. My father dominated our household and I didn't want to feel weak."
She added: "I try to write lyrics and music that people can relate to and that help them to find personal strength. I try to communicate universal ideas and thoughts that help them to get through the day or the year a bit better."
This came top of a poll conducted by the UK gay rights organization Stonewall, where they asked their supporters which track recorded in the 21st century they felt had the most empowering message. In second place came Boyzone's "Better
," and in third Lady Gaga's "Born This Way
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