Jump to content

This Day in Pop: '...Baby One More Time' music video is released in 1998 (November 24)

Recommended Posts




Disclaimer: the official Britney Spears website stated the video was released on November 24 (though has been proved to be wrong on other dates), with other sources confirming it as well, such as this old list made by BRITannica for britney.com. However, other sources claim it was released on November 26, mainly because of Britney's social media posts for its 20th anniversary in 2018, with all the articles from that year pointing out to this date as well, I assume because they took the tweet as the reference. For what I get, that might've been the date when it premiered on TRL, but not necessarily the video debut. Some people even claim to have watched the video on The Box tv channel as early as September, so the exact debut day remains a mystery.



On November 24 (or 26), 1998, Britney Spears released the ...Baby One More Time music video, the first single off her debut album of the same name, and her first music video ever. Directed by Nigel ****, the video shows her with the iconic Catholic schoolgirl outfit, bored at the classroom while her in real life assistant, Felicia Culotta, plays the role of the teacher. Once the bell rings, Britney and the rest of her classmates go to the corridor and perform a dance routine, with some scenes of her singing by the lockers. We also see them outside, where Britney is wearing a different outfit now and performs some gymnastics moves. Towards the end, they're at the gymnasium where we see her love interest (played by cousin Chad Spears), and perform the final dance routine. The bell rings again and they all leave the gym running against a startled Felicia, when we see Britney at the classroom again revealing she had been daydreaming all along.


The video became a huge success worldwide, though on TRL it took it a few months before reaching the top spot in the countdown, since she was always competing with the likes of *NSync, Backstreet Boys and Korn. Nonetheless, when TRL ended in 2008, ...Baby One More Time was voted as the most iconic video ever and it was the last video they played in their last emission.

However, it wasn't well received by everyone. It caused controversy among parents associations which found outrageous that a sixteen years old girl was showing her midriff. In a 2000 interview with Britney, she said about her look the following: "Me showing my belly? I'm from the South; you're stupid if you don't wear a sports bra [when you] go to dance class, you're going to be sweating your butt off. It was such a wonderful experience. All these people there, working for you. I had my own trailer. It was an amazing experience."



It is very well known that the original concept for the video was something completely different than the iconic piece of art we got in the end. At first, Joseph Kahn was supposed to direct the video, but his idea was rejected. Then Nigel **** was hired, and he also had his own concept for the video. According to Barry Weiss: "Nigel came up with an idea, like, Britney is in outer space. She comes and lands on Mars on a spaceship, and then she breaks into this dance routine. I was like, “Wow, this is great!” And Britney looked at this and said, “This is horrible. No way am I doing this. This is really cheesy. Let me get on the phone with Nigel ****.

In 1999, Britney spoke about this in an interview for Rolling Stone:


“They had this really bizarre video idea, this animated Power Ranger-y thing,” she explains. “I said, ‘This is not right. If you want me to reach four-year-olds, then OK, but if you want me to reach my age group …’ So I had this idea where we’re in school and bored out of our minds, and we have Catholic uniforms on. And I said, ‘Why don’t we have knee-highs and tie the shirts up to give it a little attitude?’ — so it wouldn’t be boring and cheesy.”




Nigel comments on the video:


She said, “I want to be in a school with a bunch of cute boys and do some dancing.” Your initial reaction to this is, I’m being told by a 16-year-old-girl what I should do… [But] this girl is 16 and I’m a grown man; perhaps she has a better perspective on her audience than I do. So I swallowed my pride.

[Shooting] was very easy. There was no real drama. What I did not know at the time was that, of course, you have this experience with the Mickey Mouse Club. As far as I knew, she was just a schoolgirl from the South. [But] she was very relaxed in front of the camera. She was very, very drilled with her dance routine. I’ve worked with her four times, and I’ve yet to work with somebody who puts in as much preparation, and was as eager to rehearse, as she was.



Every article of clothing that we see in the video was bought at K-Mart, and everything costed less than $17. Nigel has explained on several occasions, the uniform outfit was all Britney's idea. For an EW article he commented:


I don’t have kids, so my understanding of what teenagers wore was limited to driving home from the office and seeing kids standing by a bus stop. So I suggested they would be wearing jeans and t-shirts and sneakers and would have backpacks, and Britney said, “Well, shouldn’t I be wearing a schoolgirl outfit?” And I was very dubious about this idea. But I was overruled.

Certainly, my initial reaction was, “Are you sure we should be going down this route with this young lady?” And the people who were in control, the record label and whatnot, said yes, this is the route we want to take.

I was kind of aware that some people might feel that that was exploitative. And as it turned out, I got a huge amount of grief about it once the video came out.


For Bustle he said:


"In the original concept, I wrote that [she and the dancers] would be wearing jeans and t-shirts. But Spears turned to the stylist and said, 'Wouldn't I be wearing a school girls' outfit?' And I put my hand up to ask if were sure that was a good idea. But I was outvoted."

He adds, "I subsequently personally got a lot of criticism for [her outfit], and I think that says as much about the people making the criticisms than it does about me. I never went in with the intention to ***ualize her."



The music video was shot in August 7 and 8, 1998 at the Venice High School in LA, the same school where the film Grease was shot. Randy Connor, the choreographer of the video, says they had prepared the dance routine a year in advance, rehearsing six days a week.


"I would kind of push up on her gymnastics techniques and stuff like that because she had that skill set earlier. So it was a matter of brushing up, sharpening up those skills, because I wanted to incorporate them into the video and her stage show"


The video was nominated at the VMAs 1999 for Best Pop Video, Best Choreography and Best Female Video, but didn't win any of them. In 2014 the video reached 100M views on her Youtube channel, becoming the fifth of her videos to reach the mark, and the first 90s video by a female to receive a certification. However, after a sudden increase in views starting in 2015, ...Baby One More Time rapidly became her most watched video on her channel, currently accumulating over 550M views.


A couple of years ago, a Funko based on the iconic schoolgirl outfit from this video was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary.



Here you can watch the video that started it all:



And some alternative clips








  • Love 3
Link to comment

Leave a comment!

Not so fast! Did you know you can post now and register later? If you are already a member of Exhale, sign in here and start posting!
If you are not logged in, your post will need to be manually approved by an Exhale moderator before it's visible to everyone.

Tap to reply!

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...