Saturday, March 18, 2000

Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” hit #1

Say My Name

Destiny’s Child

Writer(s): Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels, Beyoncé Knowles, LeToya Luckett, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson (see lyrics here)

Released: November 7, 1999

First Charted: December 4, 1999

Peak: 13 BB, 11 BA, 3 GR, 3 RR, 13 RB, 3 UK, 9 CN, 14 AU, 23 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.2 UK, 4.85 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.3 radio, 416.32 video, 818.98 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Make no mistake: ‘Say My Name’ is a Beyoncé record. There are four people on the cover of that single…but Beyoncé is the only person who sings lead…That was probably a power play on the part of Beyoncé and of her father, Destiny’s Child manager Mathew Knowles. But “Say My Name” is a perfect song.” SG It “works on all sorts of levels — as soap-operatic melodrama, as futuristic technological brain-warp, as club-jam singalong.” SG “At the time, Beyoncé was one of a few R&B singers inventing a whole new form of delivery — a complex and rhythmically sophisticated cadence that moved and breathed with the track itself.” SG

Of the four people on the cover, two were gone by the time the song hit #1. LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett had been friends with Beyoncé since they were kids but resented how she and Kelly Rowland got more attention and money. When they saw the video for the song on BET, they realized they were out of the group as two other girls (Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin) lip-synced their parts. Farrah didn’t last six months, but the group continued as a trio with Williams. Beyoncé came across like a modern-day Diana Ross, who “jettisoned the old friends who helped her get rich and famous in the first place…but all the drama within the Supremes never stopped anyone from thinking of Diana Ross as a pantheon-level pop star, and the same thing happened with Beyoncé.” SG

Rodney Jerkins, who’d produced “The Boy Is Mine” for Brandy and Monica and “If You Had My Love” for Jennifer Lopez signed on to work with Destiny’s Child on The Writing’s on the Wall, the group’s second album. Beyoncé would later say she couldn’t stand “Say My Name” because “There was just too much stuff going on in it.” SG She even said the song wasn’t going to make the cut for the album, but then he remixed it with more emphasis on the vocals, turning it into what Beyoncé then called “an amazing, timeless R&B record…It was one of the best songs we ever had, one of the best he’s ever produced.” SG

He “throws every trick in his arsenal at the track. Strings spiral through busily jaunty figures. Drum machines dance through syncopated stop-start patterns. Squelching funk guitars strut in, and then Jerkins chops them up almost to the point of abstraction. Jerkins throws so much else at the track: wind-chime swooshes, soft G-funk synth-wines, an electronic boiiiiing sound effect…But even with all those different sounds percolating away, ‘Say My Name’ deals in a simple, relatable relationship dilemma.” SG

Songwriter LaShawn Daniels had the idea for the song’s lyrics. His girlfriend was jealous if she heard anyone in the background when she called him and would demand, “Well, say my name then, and tell me that you love me.” SG It became a song in which “Beyoncé’s narrator is…consumed with that wounded, destabilized feeling,” SG “convinced that her significant other is cheating.” SG


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First posted 4/29/2024.

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