Songs of the summer stay with us long after the nights lengthen and the temperatures cool. But how much do you really know about those beats you listened to while lounging pool side? We put together a list of fun facts you might not know about some of the biggest summer hits over the last 20 years.
1. “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112 (1997)
Everyone knows this summer jam samples “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, (which is one of Diddy’s favorite songs), but did you know that before the song’s release, Puff hadn’t received clearance to use the original? Once the song was out there, Sting was granted a writer’s credit (hey there, royalties!), and fortunately, there were no hard feelings from the legendary singer-bassist, who went on to perform the song with Puff and pals at the MTV Video Music Awards.
2. “The Boy Is Mine” – Brandy & Monica (1998)
Though Brandy and Monica contend any rivalry between them was invented by the press, this summer song’s lyrics tell of two women fighting over the man they both love. Apparently the ladies were inspired by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s 1982 duet “The Girl Is Mine,” and by The Jerry Springer Show. (Bonus fun fact: Mekhi Phifer plays the girls’ shared boyfriend in the Joseph Kahn-directed music video.)
3. “Genie In A Bottle” – Christina Aguilera (1999)
Before she was X-Tina, Christina Aguilera stole the summer of ’99 with her innuendo-laden first single. Facts about Aguilera’s rise to fame won’t surprise you (yes, we all know she was in the Mickey Mouse Club with Britney and Justin), but maybe you didn’t realize that that was Josh Duhamel in the accompanying music video. No, not the main guy, one of the other dudes. Look closely around the 1:58 mark, towards the right side of the screen.
4. “U Remind Me” – Usher (2001)
Does this song remind u of the summer or what? Usher’s little ditty about not being able to date the girl he’s into because she looks too much like another lady he used to know featured doppelgängers of singers Mýa, Brandy, and Tamia and boasted a cameo by the actual Chili of TLC, whom he was dating IRL at the time.
6. “Crazy In Love” – Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z (2003)
Song of the summer? More like song of the decade (nay, millennium!). We’re sure there’s not much new we can tell you about Queen B’s smash-hit debut single, but did you know that Jay-Z’s contribution was a last-minute addition? Beyoncé asked him to add his rapping to the single the night before she had to turn her album in.
7. “Confessions Pt. II” – Usher (2004)
Usher laid it all bare with 2004’s song of the summer “Confessions Part II” making everyone think that there had been too much love in club from the singer. However, Usher was quick to point out that the song wasn’t actually based on his own experiences, but in fact his producer’s. In an email to MTV News he explained: “I didn’t have a baby with another woman although a lot of people thought that was the case when they listened to the album for the first time. That song was not personally about me.”
8. “We Belong Together” – Mariah Carey (2005)
Carey’s 2005 hit will belong on lists of summer songs for years to come, so here’s a fun fact to share next time someone puts it on: The wedding dress that the pop queen wears in the video is her own one she wore at her wedding to Tommy Mottola in 1993. Mottola and Carey had divorced by the time the video shoot came around, but luckily the singer had hung onto the gown.
9. “Umbrella” – Rihanna feat. Jay-Z (2007)
You probably knew this track was originally meant for Britney Spears, but did you know that after her team sent it back saying it wouldn’t work for her, it was passed on to Mary J. Blige? But she didn’t get a chance to record it and Jay-Z snatched it up for Rihanna instead.
10. “I Kissed A Girl” – Katy Perry (2008)
“I Kissed a Girl” was a huge hit for Katy Perry during the summer of 2008 but it almost didn’t make it onto her album. “There was some concern at the top, but I just let them sit with the song and they came around,” the singer told Billboard. “They liked it so much, it became the single.”
11. “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen (2012)
For many, Jepsen’s pop classic is the only song of the summer to ever exist. In fact, it’s so popular that men even use its lyrics to try and pick up the singer. “It’s happened a few times, yes,” she told NPR of men asking if they could call her maybe. “And they usually think that they’re the first person to do it. Some guys start with, ‘Hey, I just met you and this is crazy…’ It’s not very original.”
12. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell (2013)
Ah, “Blurred Lines”— a songs as problematic as it is catchy. After its release and subsequent success, Marvin Gaye’s family sued
Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for seemingly borrowing from Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” They were ordered to pay $7.4m to the Gaye family when the jury decided Williams and Thicke copied the 1977 hit. “Right now, I feel free,” Nona Gaye said after the verdict. “Free from … Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.”
13. “Cheerleader” – OMI (2015)
Think big summer hits happen over night? Think again. “Cheerleader” was eight long years in the making. “I woke up humming the melody one morning when I was 21,” OMI told Billboard. “It was like a little Jamaican nursery rhyme, like ‘one, two, buckle my shoe,’ that kind of thing — ‘ring game’ is what we’d call it. The rest of the song just fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle.”
14. “One Dance” – Drake feat. WizKid & Kyla (2016)
Another summer song, another sampled track. Kyla’s song “Do You Mind” is sampled on “One Dance” with her lyrics slowed down. When the singer first found out Drake wanted to use her singing, she thought it was a prank and didn’t believe it until she actually signed the legal documents.
15. “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee (2017)
Guess what? Not everyone loved the monster hit! In July 2017, due to public complaints, officials from the Government of Malaysia reported that “Despacito” was being banned from airing on government-owned broadcast stations because government ministers said the song was considered un-Islamic and that its lyrics were “not suitable to be heard.”