The horns, which are the star of this song musically, were sampled from the 1970 Chi-lites track, "Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)." That song reached #72 in the US, a surprisingly low position considering the mighty horn riff. But unlike Beyoncé's song, that one wasn't able to carry the energy from the horns throughout the track. "Crazy In Love" is about as good as it gets in terms of samples, taking a killer section from a relatively obscure song and building around it to give it support.
Jay-Z did the rap. He and Beyoncé were dating, which made it convenient for him to make many guest appearances performing his rap. When Beyoncé married the 12-years-older Jay-Z on April 4, 2008, the couple shared their first dance to "Crazy in Love."
The two met in 2000 at MTV Spring Break, and started dating two years later. Their first musical collaboration was the track "'03 Bonnie And Clyde
," which appeared on Jay's 2002 album Blueprint 2: The Gift And The Curse
Grammy-winning producer Rich Harrison played all the instruments on this song, including the sequencers and the congas. He even took care of all the samples. Harrison had treasured the Chi-lites sample long before he met Beyoncé. He knew he could do something special with it, and was reluctant to leak it to the wrong artist. He explained to MTV News: "I hadn't really shopped it much, because sometimes you don't want to come out of the bag before it's right. People don't really get it and you'll leave them with a foul taste in their mouth. So it was just something that I held on to until I got the call from B."
When Harrison first played the beat to Beyoncé, the Texan singer initially had doubts as it seemed too retro, no one used horn riffs in the 21st century. However she came round to the idea and gave the songwriter two hours to pen the song, whilst she disappeared for a break. 120 minutes later, Harrison had written the verses and the hook, leaving the bridge for Beyoncé.
This was the only song to top the charts in both the UK and US in 2003.
This won the 2003 MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song. Beyoncé herself choreographed many of the video's dance moves. The orange and pink Versace dress she wears in the video has been immortalized in her Madame Tussaud's waxwork.
This was the first single from Beyoncé's debut solo album, Dangerously In Love
. She had released two singles on movie soundtracks, but for most listeners, this was their first exposure to her solo work. Her group Destiny's Child was still active; Michelle Williams was the first in the group to release a solo album, followed by Kelly Rowland. Rowland was the first with a hit single: her #1 Nelly collaboration, "Dilemma
." (In that song, Nelly and Kelly pretend to be a couple - Jay and Bey didn't have to pretend.)
There was little doubt that Beyoncé would find her footing as a solo artist, as she was the focal point of Destiny's Child. But "Crazy In Love" blew away expectations and showed that her solo material was not going to hew to the Destiny's Child sound.
This won Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2004.
On MTV's Making Of The Video, Beyoncé said, "It celebrates the evolution of a woman. It talks about a girl who is at the point of a relationship. She realises that she's in love, she's doing stuff she wouldn't normally do but she doesn't care. It doesn't matter she's just crazy in love. Rich Harrison actually wrote the song with me and after I finished the song I asked Jay Z to be part of the song and he did. The song turned out great it ended up being my first single."
Beyoncé told the writer Dennis Hensley about this tune. She explained: "The song talks about how, when you're falling in love, you do things that are out of character and you don't really care because you're just open. The song came from me actually looking crazy one day in the studio." Beyoncé added: "I said, 'I'm lookin' crazy right now,' and Rich Harrison, the producer, was like, 'That's the song!'"
In a poll by UK's NME, this was voted as the best single of the '00s.
Jay-Z's contribution was a last-minute addition - Beyoncé asked him to get on the song the night before she had to turn her album in.
Beyoncé started her halftime show at the Super Bowl in 2013 with this song. She was later joined by her groupmates from Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
A slowed-down, sensual string-filled version of the tune was used in the trailer for the 2014 Fifty Shades Of Grey movie and also features on its soundtrack. It was produced by Boots with violin arrangements by Margot, both of whom worked on Beyoncé's 2013 self-titled album.
Margot admitted to Time that neither she nor Boots had actually read the book. "It's funny, when it comes to scoring films and making music, it's more about the mood that you're capturing anyway," she said. "We didn't necessarily need to know the storyline to make something dramatic and sensual."
Carmit Bachar of The Pussycat Dolls dances in the video.