In a Songfacts interview with Zac Hanson, the drummer explained: "What that song talks about is, you've got to hold on to the things that really matter. MMMBop represents a frame of time or the futility of life. Things are going to be gone, whether it's your age and your youth, or maybe the money you have, and all that's going to be left are the people you've nurtured and have really built to be your backbone and your support system."
The group released this on an independent album (also called MMMBop) in 1996. It helped get them a record deal and was released as their first single in 1997, when Isaac Hanson was 16 years old, Taylor was 13, and Zac was 11. The song quickly became a huge worldwide hit, getting constant airplay on radio stations and MTV and going to #1 in 27 countries.
Experienced songwriters like Desmond Child and Barry Mann helped out with the album, but this was written entirely by the Hanson brothers. Years later, young singers who could also write their own songs became coveted by record companies, as singers like Michelle Branch and Alicia Keys had lots of success.
Zac Hanson told Songfacts: "That song started out as the background part for another song. We were making our first independent album and we were trying to come up with a background part. We started singing a slightly different incarnation of what is now the chorus of MMMBop. That sort of stuck in our heads but never really worked as a background part. Over a couple of years, we really crafted the rest of the song - the verses and bridge and so on. It was something we almost stumbled upon."
Growing up, the Hanson brothers listened to a lot of '50s and '60s music. Says Zac, "If anything, MMMBop was inspired by The Beach Boys and vocal groups of that era - using your voice as almost a doo-wop kind of thing."
This was nominated for a Grammy for Record Of The Year, making Zac the youngest person ever nominated for a songwriting Grammy. Hanson performed the song at the ceremony in 1998.
Hanson performed this on a bunch of TV shows, including both Leno and Letterman. They also performed it on Saturday Night Live, where they took part in a skit where they were kidnapped in an elevator and forced to listen to the song over and over until they snapped. Says Zac, "You've got to take yourself lightly, there's always something funny or stupid that you do, and when it comes to performing on a live comedy show, I think if you didn't poke fun at yourself, you need to question who you think you are."
Zac Hanson: "Nobody expected it to have that much success. You're proud of everything you do and you're confident in everything you do, but you never know how other people are going to react. You just put your whole self into it and hopefully you can be successful."
This song is melodically similar to the Westminster Quarters, which is the tune played on the hour by most grandfather clocks.
Suggestion credit: Zach - Grayslake, IL
Hanson took a cue from Kiss when it comes marketing, and set up their own brand distributing an assortment of products, including the Hansonopoly board game and Shout It Out guitar picks. In 2011, they announced that they would be selling an India Pale Ale beer called... MMMHop.
Zac Hanson has a co-writing credit on the track. He was just 11 years and 7 months old when the song topped the Hot 100, making him the youngest group member to co-write and perform on a US #1 single.
This was produced by the Dust Brothers (Michael Simpson and John King), the duo behind many popular albums, including Beck's Odelay and Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique.
Several acts such as One Direction and The Vamps have done their own versions of the song, but Hanson reckon they have yet to hear a good cover version of their classic hit. Isaac Hanson explained to Vulture.com in 2016: "You know why? People can't sing the chorus right. Most of the time they syncopate it wrong."
Angela from Olmsted , Ilthese guys are so sweet in person, they truley are gifted boys. They do have alot more talent, and people need to look past mmmbop and see what they are doing now, which is amazing! Taylor once told a fan(heard it with my own ears) :"if somone gives you s--t for likeing us, just tell them to kiss your ass" :) ITZ Roxs!
Alec from Mechanicsburg, SdWe had a fundraising thing at school where they played this song really loud at lunch and wouldn't stop it until we raised $100. It got really annoying.
Doctor Gregory House from Princeton-plainsboro, NjHenry from Bedrock,In:Yes in one episode of House a snipet of the song was used as a ringtone. Go to the official House/Fox sight and you can watch the clip where House tells Wilson that is his ringtone.
Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnI was obsessed with this song - well what do you expect I was in junior high when it was released.
Henry from Bedrock, InI think (think, mind you) that this is Dr. House's ring tone on "House". Can anyone confirm this?
Jess from Cobram, Australiai used to be soooo in love with the hanson boys when i was little. i thought they were all so cute with their long hair!! hahahahaha MMMBop never fails to get u up and dancing and sinnging along which is what all great hits should do!!! u cant help but love this song
Bertrand from Paris, FranceThe Hanson brothers brought back bubblegum pop in all of its glory. "MMMBop" is catchy, sugary sweet, and irresistible. Just try to avoid singing along.
Mark from Worcester, MiDominick Great post. I'm the same. Zep-Stones-Aerosmith etc etc etc This is just a fun song. Fantastic rythm, and I bet most people don't change the station when it comes on if they're alone.
Jeff from Austin, TxThis song is a great example of what the definition of a great pop song is. After listening to it once, whether you love it or hate it, you can sing (or at least hum) the chorus. I never would call myself a "Hanson fan" by any means, but I did always acknowledge that this was a great pop song.
Dominick from New York, NyI just wanted to add my two cents. I see a lot of girls have responded that they liked this song a lot when they were very young. The other side of the coin is that some people think the song is ridiculous.
I'm part of the Woodstock generation. I mostly like Classic Rock, such as the Doors, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, etc. I just wanted to add that I like this song. So the song is not just for young girls. It's a good song with a catchy melody and good vocals.
Madison from Norway, MeDidn't Weird Al have something to do with this song? I'm pretty sure he appears in the video for a second.
Bubba Zanetti from Austin, TxThe lyrics to this song are about as deep as the shallow end of the kiddie pool.
Kevan from Ashtabula, OhI remember when this song came out in 1996-1997 i was 5 goin on 6 and me and my twin brother got the cd and we would sing all the songs on the cd and no every word and MmmmBop was our favorite actually in the past week ive looked up all Hanson songs and found the ones ive listend to and remembered those days and almost cried cause i miss those days so much actually i wish everybodys music was like Hanson they have a really good voice all their songs cheer me up when ever im down and make me happy their new songs are good too!
Jaclyn from Buffalo, NyNo matter what anybody says, MMMBop is with out a doubt a "feel-good" song. It'll get you pumped before a hockey game or cheer you up if your boyfriend's acting like a jerk. It just makes you happy; you don't even need to understand all the words
Victoria from Tucson, AzI can't believe this was such a big hit.It's cracks me up.
Michaela from Shropshire, Englandthis song rocks!!!!!!
Heather from Waukesha, WiHanson is the best band in the world for their experience level and ages. And if people can't appreciate that, then they don't know good music. Instead of turning away from them just because of a bad first impression, why can't people just listen to their new music? It would save a lot of frustration and a lot of unwanted tears on my part just to get people to give them a chance. This song is one of the best they ever wrote and I wish people would realize that. The lyrics are meaningful and I can relate to the song a lot. I love their new songs too, it just keeps better each year. They are a very talented band who deserves more respect than they're getting right now. I'm a proud fan and I'll never stop being one either. So, people, are you listening? Check out this amazing band and be mesemerized by the lyrics.
Marlow from Perthwho couldnt have a cd released. if your parents were rich enough to pay for the complete recording of the bloody thing... this family were already billionairs from oil...
Heather from Cave City, KyI think the song is awesome when I was 11 and hearing it on the L&E cd was just as great. These guys are full of talent, just some people don't recognize that cause they are so used to listening to CRAP that they wouldn't know good music anyway!
Brianna from New Richmond, WiI have liked HANSON for 7 or 8 years...and they just keep gettin' better! MmmBop is still the best song...but they're new stuff (The Underneath Album, and the Live and Electric Album) is awesome too.
Lauren from Atcoq, NjIsaac, Taylor and Zac are all amazing songwriters and artists - this song is full of deeper lyrics than most people realize, and was just a launchpad for all of the future hits to come. This song came out when I was about 16, and almost 9 years later it still brings a smile to my face. I've had the opportunity to see the guys perform this song live 3 times (it will be 4 in October) and it's amazing to be in the crowd when everyone is singing so loud that you can barely even hear the guys singing this song! Hanson fan always :-)
Jonathan from Bradford, MaThis song was on their album "Middle of Nowhere", said to have been their third album.
Madeline from Melbourne, AustraliaThis song is awesome, regardless of what anyone else says. They were like 8 when they wrote this, while most kids were playing with GI Joes so good on them. To this day MMMBop still puts a smile on my face!
Aria from Omaha, Neafter this song was released to the world, nothing was ever the same
Aria from Omaha, Nethat got a lot more talent then people give them credit for