This was Britney's first hit, and it propelled her to stardom. The slick sound earned plenty of radio play, but it was the image of the schoolgirl Spears, just 16 when the song was released on November 3, 1998, that made her a sensation. MTV played the video, but it was the internet that gave her the most traction, as teenage girls and guys of all ages logged into their AOL accounts and typed some variation of "Britney Spears" into Alta Vista to see more of the starlet.
Over the next 10 years, Spears led the world in celebrity news, with one incident after another documented by eager paparazzi. But it all started with this: a very slick pop song about a girl who wants another chance with the guy she broke up with.
Max Martin wrote this song and produced it. Martin is a Swedish citizen with a knack for catchy pop songs. He created hits for The Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync in addition to Spears.
The song is written from the perspective of a young girl whose boyfriend has left her. She is lonely and desperate to win him back, so she implores him to give her another chance. When she pleads, "hit me baby one more time," she's asking him to call her back - to hit her up with a phone call.
Many interpreted "hit" in a more literal sense, but John Seabrook's pop history book The Song Machine explains that Swedish songwriter Max Martin thought "hit" was American slang for "call," thus squelching the domestic violence angle.
When Spears went on her first world tour, this was a centerpiece of the show, with two cannons at the front of the stage blasting confetti all over fans in the first few rows. The tour was a showcase for Spears' dancing, which critics appreciated a lot more than her singing.
This came at the right time: MTV still played videos, the Internet was emerging, and most profitably of all, album sales were stronger than ever. It was that sweet spot when there were lots of places to promote music, but you still had to pay for it. The single went Platinum, with sales of over a million in America, and the album went a staggering 14x Platinum for sales of over 14 million in the United States. Worldwide, that number is closer to 25 million. It is the biggest-selling album ever recorded by a teenage girl - a milestone that is unlikely to ever be broken.
The video was shot at Venice High School in Los Angeles, which was the setting for Rydell High in the movie Grease.
This was first offered to the group TLC, who turned it down. It was later accepted by Britney. TLC's "T-Boz" Watkins explained to MTV News that the trio passed on the song as they didn't feel it represented the band appropriately. "I was like, I like the song but do I think it's a hit? Do I think it's TLC? I'm not saying 'hit me baby.'"
"No disrespect to Britney," she added. "It's good for her. But was I going to say 'hit me baby one more time'? Hell no!"
In the UK, this was the biggest-selling single of 1999.
Spears performed this alongside 'N Sync at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards in a skintight outfit. She also performed it at a Nickelodeon special wearing a midriff-showing top without a bra, which made people wonder if she had her breasts augmented. Parents began wondering if their kids should be watching Spears.
Suggestion credit: Britney - Calabasas, CA
Some people hear a backwards message in this: if you play the part where it says "With you I lose my mind give me a sign" backwards, it supposedly says, "Sleep with me I'm not too young."
Suggestion credit: Genevieve - Leongatha, Australia
Spears performed this at the 2000 Grammy Awards along with the ballad "From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart." She was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal (for this song), but lost both. Christina Aguilera won Best New Artist and Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" was awarded Best Female Pop Vocal.
Suggestion credit: Bertrand - Paris, France
The album was released to coincide with this song reaching #1, ensuring that Spears would top both the Hot 100 and Albums charts simultaneously. When the album was released on January 12, 1999, the song was at #4, and gaining momentum fast. The album was a lock for debuting at #1, which it did on the chart dated January 30, when the song, as expected, also reached the top spot.
When Spears was booed by crowds outside a Leicester Square cinema for walking straight in and ignoring autograph hunters at a premiere, the Daily Mirror headline was "Hiss Me Baby, One More Time."
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England
In a 1998 interview with MTV, Britney revealed that she wanted the video to reflect the lives of her fans, so she wanted to set it in a school. "The first idea we had for the video was so off the wall," she said. "I was like, 'I want something a lot of kids can relate to.' It's just a fun video."
In a 2009 interview with MTV News, the director of the video, Nigel Dick, gave full credit to Spears for coming up with her schoolgirl look. "My idea originally was just jeans and T-shirts, and we were at the wardrobe fitting and Britney holds up the jeans and T-shirts and says, 'Wouldn't I wear a schoolgirl outfit?'" he said. "Every piece of wardrobe in the video came from Kmart, and I was told at the time not one piece of clothing in the video cost more than $17. On that level, it's real. That probably, in retrospect, is a part of its charm."
The Scottish group Travis covered this in 2000. Bowling For Soup also recorded it in 2003 for the Disney film Freaky Friday staring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Suggestion credit: Chrissy - Manchester, England
When asked by Out Magazine what the worst advice is that she ever received from a record executive, Britney replied: "Someone once told me that the '... Baby One More Time' video should be me as a superhero fighting a giant robot monster."
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Britney insisted the lyrics have nothing to do with domestic violence. "It doesn't mean physically hit me," she said. "It means just give me a sign, basically. I think it's kind of funny that people would actually think that's what it meant."
Not many people paid attention to the interview at the time, given the then-scandalous cover of the teen lying on a bed, clad in a bra and hotpants while, oddly, cuddling a Teletubby.
It was rumored that Spears got breast implants around this time. A common spoof of this song was "Make My Boobies One More Size."
In 2005, a TV series called Hit Me, Baby, One More Time aired on NBC. The show featured pop stars of the past competing against each other, with each performing their biggest hit and also a modern hit of their choosing. Contestants included Tommy Tutone, Wang Chung, Vanilla Ice and Juice Newton.
When MTV's video countdown program Total Request Live ended in 2008, the "...Baby One More Time" video was named as the most requested video of all time.
On the 2009 "The Secret of Now" episode of the time travel TV show Being Erica, the title character travels back to her college days and wows her literature professor by reciting an "original" poem called "Hit Me Baby One More Time."
Kaylen from Lagrange , InI forgot i aslo have all your albums... and i have all your songs memorized by heart...
Kaylen from Lagrange , InBritney Spears I am your biggest fan i love your music, clothes and your voice. i have loved you since i was a little girl i am in the high school and still have folders and wallpaper of you and all the fun stuff. for my cell phone i have your ring tone... WELL i guess i better go.. i love you Britney Spears.... Loves and kisses... ME
Estel from 303, CoAugust Burns Red also did a cover of this song for the album Punk Goes Pop.
Austin from Pingree, NdBrittany Spears should be locked in a room (make the walls foam so she can't hurt herself) sealed off from the rest of the world where she can listen to her music and lip sink to it as much as she wants. Then we'd all be free from this crap... oh wait there's a whole genre of it:0
Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnI hated this song at first but eventually grew to love it like everyone else - peer pressure sucks!
Rahul from Chennai, Indiahahahahahahaha.... sleep with me im not too young it seems..... lolz..... yeah that defines britney deoesn't it.... but i don't care... this song is awesome.....
Bob from Hallanedale, FlThank you Michael (Melbourne) for stating the real truth-the mainstream really sucks! They know nothing about health, nothing about real medicine, nothing about true sexuality, nothing about the environment, nothing about honesty, and obviously not a damn thing about good music! I wish this bimbo had lived in Russia during the reign of Stalin- he would have used her as tank fodder! If this generation keeps allowing this kind of crap (which they consider music) to go on, we are all doomed! Otis Redding, please come back from the dead, god do we need you now!
Mirna from Portoviejo, Ecuadori think that the guy in the video is her cousin
Bertrand from Paris, FranceShe first gained national notice as a member of [i] The New Mickey Mouse Club [i] on Disney's cable network, but it was as a pop singer that Britney Spears became the most watched celebrity in the world. Her first single "...Baby One More Time" is a brilliant piece of pop music. It's catchy, sexy, and it sports a mildly controversial video certain to keep people talking.
Elmer from Honolulu, Hii missed the old britney spears, what she's been doing with her life
Sam from Montreal, CanadaThis song was released as a hit and music video in May 1997 but failed to be a commercial success even if it passed on the music video stations for a while. Both re-released in January 1999, the commercial success appears as its actual form.
Michelle from Raleigh, Ncthe outfits in this video started a revolution among 8 year old girls i was obsessed with britney spears when i was like 7-10
Michelle from Raleigh, Nci used to be so obsessed with britney spears i had a britney spears backpack in 5th grade isnt that creepy i still like her music just not her i think the outfits in this vdeo started a revolution
Paul from Savannah, GaThis song was originally offered to TLC who turned it down
Jessica from Corsicana, TxYeah if you do play the song backwards its does say "Sleep with me im not to young". i know where you can listen to it. http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking.htm
Sandy from Warsaw, Inalexandria, lompoc, CA youre really crazy Brittany Spears cant sing and she never could! She is a dunb person who now is in rehab because she did drugs and shaved off all of her hair and now she looks even more stupid than she did before! Brittany Spears never should've started singing! I hate her and her music!
Amanda from Little Rock, ArI LOVE this song. It totally made me a fan of hers and it brought back great bubblegum pop (for a short time).
Matt from Marion, IaWell, this song doesn't have much against it. It only aided MTV in an entire generation of worthwhile music. So please, have some heart for this poor song, people!
Caitlin from Upper Township, NjBritney used to be so popular. It's such a shame that she had to hit the wall. I think she could have made it big!
Alexandria from Lompoc, Cahey britteny it is me alexandria i luv u're music and u are so cool i luv u're song (baby on more time).bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom from East Lyme, Ctone of the only songs where the backwards message actually exists, this and empty spaces, thats it
Claire from Oak Ridge, TnIf you do not believe us, go to albinoblacksheep.com. They've also got hidden messages from "Another One Bites The Dust" and "Stairway to Heaven." On another related note, when clay-mated counterparts of Christina and Britney fought on "Celebrity Deathmatch", Christina said, "You want me to hit you one more time, baby? How 'bout 20 more times?!!"
John from Eagle River, AkI learned how to play the travis version and taught it to my friends and now we do a realy rockin cover for it.... THANK YOU TRAVIS!!!
Sd from Kuwait, OtherThe cover of this song by the Scottish band Travis started out as a joke at a jamming session with a group of friends, where the producer of a famous(now dead) radio show in the UK heard it, and convinced them into singing it live on the show the next day. In some versions of the cover you can hear people laughing in the background. As time went by they took this song seriously, and did this song quite a number of times. Their version, after peeling of all the layers of pop, with emotion in the vocals, obviously sounds much better than the original.
Madeline from Melbourne, AustraliaAhhh, the beginning of death. The handfuls of covers done of this song beats the original by far
Alex from Brussel, BelgiumThe song is often misunderstood. It's about physical abuse in relationships and how girls are blinded by love and will take anything as long as the guy doesn't leave her The poppy, mindnumbing music blurs the message, that's why the Travis version is a lot better.
Charlie from Auckland, New ZealandThis was originally written as an acoustic song hence the reason why Travis covered it
Michael from Melbourne, Australiashows how low the mainstream has sunk
Reed from Hagerstown, Inin response to what james said: go to http://www2.memlane.com/jmilner/stairwaybackwards.htm and you'll see what he meant. im not sure whether its real or not, but its pretty funny nonetheless. you'll just have to decide for yourself...
James from Tacoma, WaPlay part of it backwards and it says "Sleep with me I'm not too young"
Raymond from Sydney, AustraliaThe band "Bowling For Soup" has also done an excellent cover of this song. This version of the song is on the soundtrack to Disney's 2003 version of "Freaky Friday".
Caitlin from Sailsbury, Ncthere is a video on ebaumsworld.com about her boobs yall should watch its so funny
Virna from Santo Domingo, Otherthe travis version was a lot cooler, it's the same song but it sounds so different!
Pawl from Houston, TxTravis' version is better!
Steph from San Antonio, TxThe orginal concept for the video was to be a comic strip.
Gimpy from Cloquet, Mnbritney has a great butt! this video has some great booty action.
Perfdcgbhu from Sofia, BulgariaThis is a very popular song!
Brad Wind from Miami, FlOf course the three dots make a difference! Does anybody believe that parents would allow teenagers -- particularly teenage girls -- to buy a record with a name of "Hit Me Baby One More Time"?