2018 marks the 20th anniversary since the birth of one of the biggest songs in music history, ‘Baby One More Time‘, which launched the career of Britney Spears!
Max Martin, the writer and co-producer of ‘Baby’ was convinced he’d written an R&B song (“Pop music with a flavour – what we call R&B in Sweden, what you guys [in America] say is pop,” sent the song, then called Hit Me Baby (One More Time), to TLC who rejected it.
While TLC interpreted the lyrics as alluding to domestic violence, they actually represented Martin’s attempts at American slang, believing “hit me” could seamlessly replace “call me”.
This is a large part of the reason the song wasn’t accepted by the girls in TLC. “I was like: ‘I like the song but do I think it’s a hit? Do I think it’s TLC?’ said T-Boz.
“I’m not saying ‘hit me baby.’ No disrespect to Britney,” T-Boz continues on her initial thought of the song. “It’s good for her. But was I going to say ‘hit me baby one more time’? Hell no!”
“Understand we’re not just passing up hits,” Chilli added. It just wasn’t a song that fit in the direction TLC was aiming for.
“That’s not even my subject of conversation, so you know, it worked for her, I’m happy for her, I like Britney,” T-Boz explained.
“Every song isn’t good for each artist, and when you’re a real artist you know what you believe in and what you really want to sing. So, I’m clear that it was a hit, but I’m also clear that it wasn’t for TLC.”
Nonetheless, TLC later went on to record their own timeless smash that year to add to their catalog in the form of 1999’s record breaking ‘No Scrubs‘.