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Song Stories

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”

Beyonce | 2008

Drawing from her then-secret marriage to Jay-Z, Beyonce’s megahit celebrates female empowerment by calling out men’s unwillingness to commit to relationships. But it was her simple yet stylized black-and-white video that really made a splash, when her choreographed moves sparked the first ubiquitous dance craze of the internet age, which kicked off when a high-heeled, leotard-wearing Justin Timberlake spoofed the song on Saturday Night Live. A global phenomenon was born, as countless parodies popped up on YouTube. Beyonce has said the inspiration for the routine was Bob Fosse’s 1969 performance of “Mexican Breakfast” on The Ed Sullivan Show. As she herself put it, it is “the most iconic” song and video of her career thus far.

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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