The Time (Dirty Bit)

Album: The Beginning (2010)
Charted: 1 4

Songfacts®:

  • This club anthem is the first single from The Beginning, the fifth studio album by American pop group Black Eyed Peas. Will.i.am described the LP on his blog as a sequel to their previous set, The E.N.D., adding it "symbolizes growth, new beginnings and starts a fresh new perspective."
  • The song's chorus samples Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' Oscar-winning 1987 hit ballad "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the movie Dirty Dancing.
  • The Black Eyed Peas' borrowing of the song coincided with "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" songwriter Franke Previte releasing its original demo recording to raise money for the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford. It also ran parallel with the re-emergence of Jennifer Grey as a heavily favored contestant on ABC's Dancing With The Stars. "What amazes me most is the timing," said Previte. "As we've started working to fight cancer in Patrick's memory through the release of the original demos, first it was Jennifer coming back into the public spotlight in a big way on TV, and now the Black Eyed Peas come along and cover it – all in a matter of weeks. The Black Eyed Peas bring a whole new level awareness to our charity efforts that we couldn't have dreamed of in a million years.

    '(I've Had) The Time of My Life' really is the song that has nine lives. To have a group like the Peas do it gives it Lives 10, 11 and 12. It just reconfirms to me that the song is cross-generational. The song has now crossed over to the next generation in a huge way. There couldn't be any group, cooler, edgier, and more hip than the Black Eyed Peas to record it."

    Get more from Previte in our look at the music of Dirty Dancing.
  • Vocalist Fergie said: "The song is a celebration of this amazing time in our lives. We've been on tour all over the world, and looking out at stadiums full of people who came out to see us – that's as big as it gets. After the shows, we go out to the clubs and meet the fans; those are moments that we have to remember."

    "You never know what's going to happen, so you want to make the best of every day," added Will.i.am. "We wanted to capture that feeling and release a song that celebrates with the fans because it wouldn't have happened without them."
  • The song's music video was shot by director Rich Lee, who also lensed the Peas' "Imma Be" clip, as well as Fergie's "Clumsy" and Eminem's "Not Afraid" promos.
  • The Peas cut The Beginning in hotel rooms while on the road and after Will.i.am's late-night DJ gigs, where he tested out the beats on the clubbers. Will explained to Spin magazine that there's a DIY vibe on tracks like "The Time". "We had no speakers so I had to hi-jack the hotel television set and plug my computer into it," he said. "I needed a new beat because I had to go DJ that night."
  • Fergie told reporters at the 2010 Glamour Women of The Year Event in New York City that the song sums up the group's vibe at the time they recorded it. Said the singer: "I think it's crazy the way the world works, because Jennifer Grey is now on Dancing With The Stars, and for some reason that song ['(I've Had) The Time of My Life'] kind of meant something to us, because we have had an amazing run.

    I mean, it just keeps going, and it keeps going. And we really feel like we have had the time of our lives together. And that song reminds me of [Grey] and Dirty Dancing, and that whole time, so it all fits."
  • Will.i.am told Billboard magazine: "If 'I Gotta Feeling' was about someone who went out and said, 'I have a feeling tonight's gonna be a good night,' what would that person say when they came back from that party? They're probably going to tell you, 'Wow, I had the time of my life,' and that's what 'The Time' is."

    He added that the overall message of The Beginning runs a bit deeper than that, too. "'The Beginning' is about taking ownership of your life and not waiting for someone to give you the answers but to go out and search for those answers yourself," he said. "We're saying, 'Don't let the negativity rule you.' Sometimes going out and celebrating is a departure. It's a manifestation of your desire to live a happy life. Some people will say, 'What the f--- am I celebrating? I ain't got no job. I just got laid off. I got to pay for my mortgage. So what the hell is there to celebrate, Mr. Will.i.am?'"

    "Well," he continued, "you're celebrating the fact that you're alive and that you have a mind and that you know right from wrong. But you have to change your frequency. You have to change your outlook. You're never going to achieve anything positive if you're trapped in the negative. So what you're going out and celebrating is that one day that will change, and that's the beginning."
  • The song topped the charts in a number of countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • Co-founder Apl.de.ap told Beatweek Magazine what the Peas mean by "Dirty Bit." He explained: "It's saying the beginning in a different way. It's going back to the beginning, and dirty bit is eight bit, and that's how technology started. So dirty bit, going back to the beginning when you used to play Atari and those graphics."

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