Saturday, January 30, 1999

Britney Spears topped the charts with “Baby One More Time”

Baby One More Time

Britney Spears

Writer(s): Max Martin (see lyrics here)

Released: October 23, 1998

First Charted: October 9, 1998

Peak: 12 US, 2 GR, 15 RR, 25 A40, 12 UK, 11 CN, 19 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.51 US, 1.8 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 785.1 video, 556.25 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Britney Spears was 16 years old when she recorded “Baby One More Time,” a dance-pop hit which hit #1 in more than a dozen countries. AB40 The song established her as “the most iconic popular music star of the turn of the century.” TB It has been called “Backstreet Boys meets Abba” LW and been compared to classics like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” in that it “makes its presence known in exactly one second.” WK

Spears built her image on contradictions. She was “a fresh-faced teen from the Mickey Mouse show who acted like a porn star” TC selling her “highly sexualized chastity” TC as “a modern-day Lolita in [a] skimpy school uniform.” TB The “decidedly sexual tone” AB40 of “One More Time” was largely presented via an iconic video directed by Nigel Dick in which Spears is portrayed as Catholic high school student in a “bare-midriff package.” TC

Max Martin, who worked with the Backstreet Boys and N Sync, wrote the song, originally submitting it to the R&B group TLC. After they rejected it, Spears’ management heard the song and, according to Spears, she knew it would be a hit saying it is a song “every girl can relate to. She regrets it. She wants him back.” WK

However, the line “hit me baby one more time” caused some concern by people who interpreted the lyrics as encouraging domestic violence or sadomasochism. Spears explained, perhaps naively, that the line “doesn’t mean physically hit me…It means just give me a sign.” WK It has also been explained as a Southern term referring to getting a call from someone via mobile phone. LW


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Max Martin
  • AB40 (2007?) Top 40 Pop Songs: The Best of the Best. By Bill Lamb.
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Pages 175-6.
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 15.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Pages 180-1.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 280.
  • WK

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First posted 1/30/2012; last updated 11/21/2022.

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