Outkast is a rap duo who go by the names Big Boi and Andre 3000. In 2003, they made a double album, with each member contributing half. Big Boi's album was called Speakerboxxx while Andre's was The Love Below. "Hey Ya" was Andre's song, and the first single from the album.
This was a huge crossover hit, getting lots of play on hip-hop, Top 40 and R&B radio stations. It went to #1 on the Hot 100 December 13, 2003, and stayed for nine weeks. For the last eight weeks, an Outkast song from Big Boi's album Speakerboxxx called "The Way You Move" was #2. When "Hey Ya" finally fell out of the #1 spot on February 14, 2004, it was bumped by "The Way You Move."
This is a very upbeat and energetic song, but according to Andre 3000, it is about the difficulty in keeping a relationship together. The album is mostly about the quest for love.
Andre wrote the first version of the song around 1999, and it almost made it onto their 2000 album Stankonia. At the time the song was called "Thank God For Mom And Dad." He started working on it again in 2002, doing lots of experimentation along the way. A lot of lyrics he wrote for the song didn't make the cut.
Aaron Mills from the funk band Cameo was brought in to play bass, but Andre played all the other instruments. The guitar chords were the first ones he learned.
Andre is the only male voice on the song. He did each line over and over, and by the time it was edited together, it sounded like other people were singing with him.
The girls who respond to Andre when he says, "Hey Ladies..." are actually just one person. A woman working in the studio was recorded saying "Yeah," and her voice was layered to sound like many.
This was finished just in time to be released as the first single from the album. They were going to put out "She Lives In My Lap" when Andre called the record company to tell them "Hey Ya" was finished and should be released first.
The video was inspired by The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, when the group came to America and created a frenzy. During that show, the audience was filled with screaming girls who went crazy for the group.
For the Outkast video, they made it as if an American band invaded England, played a TV show there, and created the same type of frenzy.
In the video, Andre 3000 plays eight different band members (including the backup singers), known as The Love Haters. He had to play the song through as each character three times so they could shoot it from different angles - he was exhausted by the end. About 100 girls were brought in as extras to play the screaming fans.
The announcer at the beginning of the video is Ryan Phillippe, who has appeared in the movies Cruel Intentions and White Squall. At the time, he was married to the actress Reese Witherspoon.
Polaroid pictures are instant photos taken with special cameras that spit out the picture right from the camera after it is snapped. You're not supposed to shake the picture, but most people did anyway because they thought it would help it develop. Andre 3000 found a new expression for dancing when he said: "Shake it like a Polaroid picture." He also helped sell a lot more Polaroid cameras, which had been mostly forgotten since digital cameras became popular. In the video, the girls shake Polaroid pictures.
Asked by The Huffington Post how the line "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" came about, Andre 3000 replied, laughing, "I have no idea! In rap, lyric writing is what comes to mind, that was just the visual I had. And you're apparently not even supposed to do that. Same thing with the line about 'all the Beyoncés and Lucy Lius'…when I was writing, her video was on. It's great when that happens, you're not thinking, you're just going with it."
When Andre 3000 performed this on various TV shows, he and four dancers would dress with a different theme for each performance. On one show, they might be tennis players, on another, jockeys. His bandmate Big Boi was not part of these performances, and Andre didn't perform "The Way You Move" with him. When they appeared on Saturday Night Live soon after the album was released, they split their performances.
This was the last performance and the big show stopper at the 2004 Grammy Awards, where Outkast won for Album of the Year. They went with an Indian theme, complete with a teepee and dancers dressed like squaws. The USC marching band came on stage midway through the song and played along.
This was the most-downloaded song on iTunes when the service was just starting to pick up steam (it launched in 2001, but went Windows-compatible in 2003). This was a huge boon for both the service and the song, since folks could legally download it for 99 cents without buying the whole album - a very big deal at the time. This got the song on a lot of iPods and helped make it ubiquitous.
Thanks to the iTunes exposure, "Hey Ya" became the first song in history to rack up one million downloads, making it the first song to achieve Platinum status as a download.
In 2004, the London band Razorlight recorded this with the London Community Gospel Choir.
Suggestion credit: Donovan Berry - El Dorado, AR
The underground UK Indie act Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip reference the song in their 2007 single "Thou Shalt Always Kill," singing "Thou shalt not shake it like a Polaroid picture" amongst other references to popular culture (thou shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak like me, thou shalt not scream if you want to go faster, etc.).
Suggestion credit: John - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Andre 3000 told the Mail on Sunday October 19, 2008 that people are always commenting on the green tartan trousers that he wore in the song's music video. He explained: "I designed those before I had my own label - Benjamin Bixby - using fabric I found in my hometown. I got a seamstress to sew them up for me, and then the year the single came out I started to see more and more green in people's collections. I don't know if there's such a thing as a royal green, but that's what I like to call it."
Outkast were the first group or duo to top the Billboard album and pop charts simultaneously in the 21st century. Over a four week period in January and February 2004, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below led the former survey, whilst this song reigned on the latter list.
After Andre 3000 sang "Shake it like a Polaroid picture," Polaroid issued the statement warning, "Shaking or waving can actually damage the image."
Andre 3000 wasn't the first to portray every band member in a video set on a variety show: Phil Collins did the same thing in his video for "Two Hearts."
Piston Broke from Dear Green PlaceThis song isn't in 11/4 time - there's a bar of 2/4 after every 3rd bar. Burt Baccarach does stuff like that all the time. If you want to check on odd times, tap your hands or feet in time with the music left-right,left-right. If it's an odd time you'll see and feel the one changing.
Megan from Stevenson, AlThis is such an amazing song! There's so much going on in this song! It's awesome...Love this song so much, me and my friends sing it on a daily basis!!!
Jeff from Kingston, TnIf you want to hear a great version of this song check out Matt Weddle's version. It is all about a relationship. great lyrics
Travis from Dallas, Tx"The idea of one man who is all the players in the band in a clip was taken from "Coming Up" - a McCartney's hit single. In the clip all the players are Paul McCartney, except two of them, who are Linda, his wife." -yoske
If you want to get really technical the first person to do anything like that would be Buster Keaton in his film Playhouse. Everything under the sun has been done, McCartney was not the first.
Justin from Melbourne, Victoria, AustraliaThere is a fantastic acoustic version by a guy named Mat Weddel, you can find it on youtube and it is completely different and i think a lot better at expressing the original intent of the lyrics.
Ashfree from Fachigo Fake, Canadalol this makes me laugh everytime I hear it... Cause I once heard some say "PARALYZE!" but actually it's supposed to be "Caroline"... but you know... Still koo
John from Uppsala, Sweden"What is with the green coffin in the middle of the band? What does it represent?" I saw Andre 3000 talk about this in a Swedish talk show he was in a couple of years ago. He said that it represented the death of hip hop. He thinks the whole culture is dying. I don't know why he thinks that.
Mike from Bristol, TnSince when does ANdre 3000 have a doctorate in music? Any documentation on that?
Chris from Lodz, PolandThere is an excellent cover of this song. Listen to the band "BossHoss". They play it in a country style and you can see video free on net.
Dave from Cardiff, WalesI love the synth hooks in this song. Who cares if they copied a measly Nirvana vdeo? Outkast are criminally underrated, while Nirvana are one of the most overrated bands in history
Andy from Arlington, Va"What is with the green coffin in the middle of the band? What does it represent?" - I think it's a play on the album title, The Love Below, as in below ground.
Evan from Flower Mound, Txthis was the most recent song contained on the rolling stone 500 list of greatest songs. It ranked around 175, above such classics as free bird and many others. It makes me mad to see this.
Yoske from Jerusalem, IsraelThe idea of one man who is all the players in the band in a clip was taken from "Coming Up" - a McCartney's hit single. In the clip all the players are Paul McCartney, except two of them, who are Linda, his wife.
Randall from Dallas, TxAt the grammy awards show, they announced just before the music started, "And now, for the 4,000th time..." And to the stange time signature, what would you expect from a doctor. That's right. Andre has a doctorate in music. Suprise surprise.
Craig from Madison, Wi"Hey Ya" is in 11/4 time, a ludicrously obscure and strange time signature. I think it's part of what gives the song its hurky-jurky sound.
Teri from Newcastle, Englandthis song is mad! 1 of da best feel good songs ive heard in my short few years on this earth.
Pete from Nowra, Australiai too love this song
who is the girl in the pigtails ,, they carry her off during the song....for i am in love with her
Matt from Millbrae, CaA lot of bands have done that "live show" video concept, it's just that Nirvana and Outkast have done it the best. Nirvana's is different because they go wild in those wedding dresses which was hella funny.
Adrian from Merthyr Tydfil, Alquality song - spend many a weekend dancing like idiots 2 this. Andre 3000 rocks!
John from Atlanta, GaProbably the best pop record of 2003 and the fun video only enhances it.
Pavitra from Cape Town, South Africathis is one of those songs that just make you wanna move - i love it!!
Alatriel from Lothlorien, Otherit is alot like in bloom but in "in bloom" it's more traditional and funnier. "hey ya" is just cool.
Curtis from Colorado Springs, CoExactly Sean!!! That's waht I said. I was talking about how Outkast ripped off Nirvana for their on video. I'm not entirely sure but if they did, they're really messed up. But great song and they better not have ripped off Nirvana.
Dustin from Tampa, FlThis was a great song...until MTV/VH1/BET got ahold of the video and played it 14,000 consecutive times. When will people realize that some songs get old if you hear it every 30 seconds.
Lester from Minneapolis, MnWhat is with the green coffin in the middle of the band? What does it represent?
Alischa from Lewistown, PaIt's a great song to get your grove on, I love those guys. The video rocks. My 3 year old, actually sings the song!! He memorizes the "hey Ya" part it's so cute!!
Sean from Sydney, AustraliaThe video clip to this song is alot like In Bloom by nirvana