by Alisha Jackson

During this week in 1997, brothers Zac, Taylor, and Isaac Hanson enjoyed their first, and only number single at the respective young ages of 11, 14, and 16. That song, of course, was “Mmmbop,” and it stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a solid seven weeks. Not bad for three kids from Tulsa, Oklahoma!

Related: 20 Years Later, Hanson Still Slays The National Anthem

Whether you care to or not, we know that you still remember the song’s hook. But did you know these Throwback Tidbits about “Mmmbop”?

1. Mmmbop was originally a ballad.

The Dust Brothers version of the song, which we all came to know and love, reworked the song into an upbeat track. The original version, which was released on Hanson’s independent pre-fame album of the same name, can be heard above.

2. Hanson considers “Mmmbop” a dark song.

“You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast
Oh yeah
And they’re gone so fast, yeah

So hold on the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care
Can you tell me who will still care?
Oh care

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, yeah
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du, yeah
Said oh yeah
In an mmmbop they’re gone
Yeah yeah”

Yes, that sounds crazy at first glance, but if you read the lyrics above, you’ll see what Hanson is talking about when they call “Mmmbop” dark. “I think a lot of people did not (realize it was a darker song),” Taylor said to Vulture. “And that makes sense. But hopefully over time, the staying power of that song is about the fact that it’s more than it looks like at first glance. That hook is what gets you in, but what’s below that is what keeps you there.”

3. “Mmmbop” started off as a background part to another song.

“‘Mmmbop’ was started as a background part during the making of our previous independent album, called Boomerang,” Zac explained. The title track from Hanson’s first independent album can be heard above. “We were looking for background parts for a song, and somebody started singing what became the ‘Mmmbop’ chorus.” Isaac explained how the song to came be its own. “We were trying to come up with a catchy background part, and it was too catchy — like, ‘Oh, that’s really a foreground part.’”

4. Hanson couldn’t play “Mmmbop” in the key they recorded it in by the time they went on their first tour.

Taylor and Zac’s voices changed during the recording of Middle of Nowhere, making it impossible for the band to perform their first number one hit in the key that they recorded it in. “Interestingly, ‘Mmmbop’ was actually too high by the time it was recorded for Middle of Nowhere! And we were playing it lower on our first tour,” Taylor revealed. “‘Mmmbop’ was originally in the key of A, and we currently play it in F sharp. Sometimes in F,” Isaac added in.

Hanson’s Albertane Tour kicked off a few months after their performance at the 1998 GRAMMY Awards, which can be seen above.

5. Hanson originally rejected the music video’s youthful concept.

“We had a very high-minded concept, and the youthfulness was more suggested than us being like, ‘Yeah, we wanna go Rollerblading for the video!’”, Taylor explained. “At first we actually objected to that whole idea. But we also wanted the feel to be not overly polished. So with Tamra Davis, we said we liked the feel of the Super-8 camera, this super-warm feeling, like being in a living room where we actually might have recorded the record. And when we’re performing in the house, that’s the Dust Brothers’ house where we tracked it. So the feeling of the video was very authentic to what we wanted to interpret. The Rollerblading and surfing part was more like, ‘So, what are we gonna do for three minutes … ? Uhhh let’s go to the beach!’ We’ve heard from many people in bands years later saying, ‘I saw you guys doing it, I want to join a band, I guess I could.’ So I love that about the video.”

Those are your Throwback Tidbits for the 1997 hit, “Mmmbop”! Check back next Thursday for a brand new #TBT!


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