Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 12, 1999

Before I go ahead with today's Tuesday Timeline entry, I want to just make a footnote about the passing of David Bowie on January 10.  I had chosen the topic of today's subject before I heard the news, and I just want to say that sometime this week, I'll be writing a proper tribute to the man who introduced us to his China Girl, Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom, and the Goblin King.

For now, it's business as usual in the blog.  Today is January 12, and let's just say that while the subject that I've chosen isn't as - what's the word I'm looking for here - polished as David Bowie was, she certainly does know how to stand out in a crowd.

You'll see what I mean when I go ahead with the Timeline.  But first, we should probably take a look at what else happened on this date throughout history.

1528 - Gustav I is crowned King of Sweden

1866 - The Royal Aeronautical Society is founded in London, England

1905 - Singer/actor Tex Ritter (d. 1974) is born in Panola County, Texas

1908 - A long-distance radio message is sent out from the Eiffel Tower for the first time ever

1915 - The United States House of Representatives rejects the proposal that would give women the right to vote

1921 - Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis becomes the first commissioner of Major League Baseball to counteract the damage done by the 1919 Black Sox Scandal

1926 - Sam 'n' Henry (later renamed Amos 'n' Andy) makes its radio debut

1930 - Hockey player and donut entrepreneur Tim Horton (d. 1974) is born in Cochrane, Ontario, Canada

1932 - Hattie Caraway becomes the first woman to be elected into the United States Senate

1942 - Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National War Labor Board

1962 - The first American combat mission during the Vietnam War - Operation Chopper - takes place

1967 - On the weirder side of things, Dr. James Bedford becomes the first human to become cryogenically frozen upon his death

1969 - In what could be considered one of the biggest upsets in sports history, the New York Jets

1976 - Mystery author Agatha Christie dies, aged 85

1986 - Bill Nelson lifts off from Kennedy Space Center aboard Columbia on Mission STS-61-C as a Mission Specialist

2001 - Downtown Disney opens to the public at Disneyland Resorts in Anaheim, California

2003 - Bee Gee Maurice Gibb passes away at the age of 53

2010 - Port-au-Prince, Haiti is devastated by a massive earthquake, killing over 100,000 people in the country alone

And join me in wishing the following people a very happy birthday today; Katherine MacGregor, Glenn Yarbrough, Des O'Connor, The Amazing Kreskin, Shirley Eaton, Lewis Fiander, William Lee Golden, Maggie Bell, Greg X. Volz, Kirstie Alley, Rush Limbaugh, Walter Mosley, Howard Stern, Rockne S. O'Bannon, John Lasseter, Jeremy Sams, Christiane Amanpour, Per Gessle, Oliver Platt, Jeff Bezos, Claire Holman, Alexandra Wentworth, Rob Zombie, Olivier Martinez, Keith Anderson, Rachael Harris, Heather Mills, MiG Ayesa, Zack de la Rocha, Jason Sklar, Randy Sklar, Dan Haseltine, Melanie Chisholm, Amerie, Kieron Richardson, Naya Rivera, Will Rothhaar, Andrew Lawrence, Pixie Lott, Georgia Mae Jagger, and Nathan Gamble.

Now, we go back in time to the year that I have selected.

And, the year that I have selected happened seventeen years ago.  January 12, 1999, to be exact.

It's a time that I remember very well.  I was seventeen years old going on eighteen, and it was my 12th grade year - otherwise known as "My Give A Damn's Busted" year as far as school was concerned.  It was also a year in which boy bands like the Backstreet Boys, *NSync, 98 Degrees, and 5ive were being played on the radio ad nauseum.

But you know one thing that I remember about 1999 was that it was a year in which female singers began to find their own on the pop music charts.  I remember Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Mandy Moore all released their debut albums in August, November, and December of that year respectively.

But one girl beat them all to the punch.  And, even though she's had issues regarding family feuds, being twice divorced, and randomly attacking cars with beach umbrellas following her request to have her hair look like Sinead O'Connor's, she is still releasing singles today - the most recent being the 2015 collaboration with Iggy Azalea entitled "Pretty Girls".

Well, here's a fact that will make all of you (including me) feel extremely old.  Today marks the seventeenth anniversary of the day pop singer Britney Spears released her debut album "...Baby One More Time."

I know!  Seventeen years!  That is just insane to me!

I actually remember when the first single from the album was released, and I had no idea that single would be the starting point of a career that has now lasted approximately half of Britney Spears' life.

Of course, that's not to say that I think the album is the greatest thing that Spears has ever recorded.  It's largely a forgettable pop fluff album.  But then again, so was Debbie Gibson's "Out of the Blue".  Even Madonna's first album pales in comparison to some of her later works (though "Borderline" will always be a favourite of mine).

And, yes...Britney has released better songs over the years.  But that's not to say that her first album was a dud.  In fact, five singles were released from the disc in all.  Let's have a listen to them, and I'll share some trivia about them.

Released:  October 23, 1998
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #1 for 2 weeks

Ah, yes...the first single of Britney Spears.  The snarling of Oh baby baby.  The schoolgirl uniform.  The seductive dancing.  And she was just sixteen when the video was filmed.  My, how Britney just crumpled up her Mouseketeer past into a ball, huh?  But it was not just her first single, it was her first #1 single at that.  And, well...I must confess, that my loneliness is killing me...

Ahem...sorry about that.

I must confess that I don't mind this song now.  Back when it was first released, I got sick of it very quickly.  Now that it's been out for a few years now, I can dig it. 

Now, here's some trivia for you.  The idea to dress up as a schoolgirl was Britney's herself.  She wanted to have an outfit that stood out more than the T-shirt and jeans that the original video storyboard suggested.  And another interesting fact about the video was the fact that the clothing budget was quite modest.  According to director Nigel Dick, all the clothing was purchased from K-Mart, with no article surpassing seventeen dollars.  Now that's budget shopping!

Released:  April 14, 1999
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #21

I'll admit, of all the singles released from this album, this one is my favourite.  It's light, it's fluffy...and it's also CONTROVERSIAL!

Apparently four years after this song was released, a man by the name of Steve Wallace launched a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement, as he claimed to have wrote the song himself back in 1990.  He even alleged that Spears knew that the song itself was stolen.  But due to a lack of evidence, the lawsuit was dismissed in 2005.

Now, you also might notice the near six month gap in between this single and "...Baby One More Time".  The single was originally planned for a February release, but during the rehearsal of the choreography scenes, Britney injured her knee and had to take time off for physical therapy.  This might be one reason why the single stalled just under the Top 20, as people might have just brushed Britney off as a one-hit-wonder.

At least, until she released single #3.

Released:  September 13, 1999
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #10

Likely helped by the fact that the single appeared on the soundtrack of the Melissa Joan Hart/Adrien Grenier movie "Drive Me Crazy", this single charted in several countries, peaking at #10 in America, #13 in Canada, and #1 in Spain and Belgium!  Believe it or not, this single was actually not intended to be a dance club sensation.  In fact, if Britney had her way, most of her album would have sounded much like that of Sheryl Crow, with less dance beats and more acoustic guitar.  But while Sarah McLachlan and Jewel were doing well in that style of music, Britney was only a teenager herself, and she was convinced by the record producers to focus her musical ambition towards the teen market.  I have to say, the strategy did ultimately pave the way for Britney's future success, but part of me wants to see her re-release the album as an acoustic one to see what it might have been like.

Released:  December 6, 1999
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  N/A

When I saw that this single was released, I'm thinking to myself...WHEN?  At no point do I recall ever hearing this song on the radio, nor do I remember watching a music video of it.  But in other countries, the song charted very well, even going as high as #1 in the UK! 

But despite the high chart positions of the song, it didn't earn that much praise from music critics, who graded the song on a range between mediocre and rotten.  Ouch.

But this song also was one that Spears had a hand in working on a way.  When the song was originally pitched to Spears, keep in mind that she was only sixteen.  And the song was originally a lot more adult and featured more references to sex - something that Spears wasn't comfortable with.  This prompted a subtle rewriting of the lyrics by the songwriters before it was included on the final record.

Of course, by 2001, Spears was prancing around a stage holding a live python warbling about how she wanted to be a slaaaaaaaaave for us.  But back then, she wouldn't have any of it.

Released:  December 15, 1999
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #14

Okay, so I'm thinking that this single was chosen to be the North American release in lieu of "Born To Make You Happy".  And,'s a good thing it was.  This song's actually kind of nice and surprisingly emotional.  I've always believed that in the early days of her career, Britney Spears did better at ballads than dance songs, and this single seems to prove it.  Though it took some convincing for Jive Records - the company that released "...Baby One More Time" to believe it.  But after recording a song by Toni Braxton on a demo tape and sending it to the company, they decided to sign her, saying that they had never heard such an emotional song delivery by someone of Spears' age.

The song itself is about a subject that I'm sure most teens can relate to.  Losing a first love and trying to cope with the after effects of it.  It's the type of song an emo band would sing about...only without the lightness and fluffiness of this single.

And that's a wrap on "...Baby One More Time" - released seventeen years ago today.

No comments:

Post a Comment