"Barbie Girl" is a song in the bubblegum genre by the Danish-Norwegian dance pop music group Aqua who released it in 1997 as their third single overall, and the first United Kingdom release.The song is included on the album Aquarium and was written by Claus Norreen and Søren Nystrøm Rasted after the group saw an exhibit on kitsch culture. The song topped the charts worldwide, particularly in European countries such as the UK, where it was #1 on the charts for three weeks; it was also on top of the charts in Australia for the same length of time, and debuted and reached #7 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on September 6, 1997.
Aqua's Version Edit
The song was voted the fourth "Best Number One of All Time" in a VH1 poll, and was featured in spot #32 on VH1's "Most Awesomely Bad Songs... Ever" countdown. An unrelated VH1 countdown, VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, rated it #88.
The lyrics of the song are about Barbie and Ken, the dolls made by Mattel. Both the song and its music video feature Lene Nystrom Rasted as Barbie and René Dif as Ken. As such, the lyrics drew the ire of Barbie's corporate owners.
In 2007, Rolling Stone voted Barbie Girl as one of the 20 Most Annoying Songs.
In 2007, MuchMoreMusic voted it at #27, as one of the 50 Guilty Pleasures.
In 2008, it was featured as "one of the worst songs ever played" on The Morning Wrap, the premiere talk show of the Florida Panhandle.
Blender magazine also voted it at #33, as one of the 50 Worst Songs Ever.
"Barbie Girl" has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide.
"Barbie Girl" was sampled for Lady Gaga's 2009 smash hit "Poker Face" without credit.
Music video Edit
The music video played repeatedly on MTV and helped launch the career of Danish director Peder Pedersen, who designed its cartoon-inspired visuals.
As of May 2009, the video has over 45,212,423 million views on YouTube.
Mattel's lawsuit Edit
Mattel sued the band, saying they violated the Barbie trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object, referring to her as a "blonde bimbo girl."
They alleged the song had violated their copyrights and trademarks of Barbie, and that its lyrics had tarnished the reputation of Barbie and impinged on their marketing plan. Aqua claimed that Mattel injected their own meanings into the song's lyrics and MCA Records was not about to let their hit single be suppressed without a fight. They contested Mattel's claims and countersued for defamation after Mattel had likened MCA to a bank robber.
The lawsuit filed by Mattel was dismissed by the lower courts, and this dismissal was upheld, though Mattel took their case up to the Supreme Court of the United States (Mattel's appeal was later rejected).
In 2002, Judge Alex Kozinski ruled the song was protected as a parody under the trademark doctrine of nominative use and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. He also threw out the defamation lawsuit that Aqua's record company filed against Mattel. Kozinski concluded his ruling by saying, "The parties are advised to chill."
The case was dismissed, and in the process, it garnered lots of media attention for the song and the band.
This controversy was used by journalist Naomi Klein to make a political point in her book No Logo, where she stated that the monopolies created by copyrights and trademarks are unfairly and differently enforced based on the legal budgets of the conflicting parties and their ability to defend their expressions by hiring lawyers.
- "Barbie Girl" (radio edit) 3:22
- "Barbie Girl" (extended version) 5:12
- "Barbie Girl" (Perky Park Club mix) 6:23#"Barbie Girl" (Spikes Anatomically Correct Dub) 7:55
- "Barbie Girl" (CD-ROM Video)
- "Barbie Girl" (Radio Edit)
- "Barbie Girl" (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 12" G-String Mix) #"Barbie Girl" (Dirty Rotten Peroxide Radio Mix)
- "Barbie Girl" (Radio Edit)#"Barbie Girl" (Extended Version)
Australia and Canada
- "Barbie Girl" (Radio Edit)
- "Barbie Girl" (Spike's Plastic Mix)
- "Barbie Girl" (Spike's Anatomically Correct Dub)#"Barbie Girl" (Extended Version)
Kelly Key version Edit
Brazilian singer Kelly Key released a cover version of "Barbie Girl" as her tenth single. The single was released on April 15, 2005.
Track listing Edit
- "Barbie Girl" (radio edit)
- "Barbie Girl" (extended version)
- "Barbie Girl" (DJ Malboro mix)
- "Barbie Girl" (club remix)
Samanda version Edit
Samanda released a cover version of the song in 2007. The version peaked at #26 in the UK singles Chart.
Others cover versions and parodies Edit
- The "gay" version of "The Barbie Song" (performed by The Dog House) features Garrett and Raoul who insult Barbie behind her back with gratuitous words because they pine for Ken, however the conclusion of the song sees Barbie approach the pair who proceed to assault her and run off. This song is featured on their 2000 album, How Many People Must Get Dissed?
- Covers have been performed by bands Home Grown, MxPx, Zebrahead, Simple Plan, My Favorite Band (MFB) and Tsunami Bomb.
- The German duo Lynne & Tessa produced a lip-synched internet video of the song, which has consistently been ranked high in the top-100 list on Google Video since it was released in May 2006.
- The British Indian comedy sketch show Goodness Gracious Me parodied the song as "Punjabi Girl" both in BBC Radio 4 and later on BBC2.
- The band Jack Off Jill wrote a parody called, "Ugly Girl." The Aquabats and "Weird Al" Yankovic are often mistakenly credited for it. In 2000, Ben Apgar created a flash animation video for the parody on the now defunct 512Productions.com, though the song went credited to "Composer: unknown".
- The song is parodied in the Dutch song "Neem Een Ander in de Maling (Barbie Girl)" by Ome Henk (Note : this parody has sometimes been mistaken for being sung in German by Rammstein).
- The American station WPLJ has also done a parody "Jersey Girl" using stereotypes of Jersey girls as the basis for the whole song.
- Rob Mayth covered the song as Single in 2006.
- "I'm a Ken Doll" has been rightly or wrongly June 2009 attributed to Eddie & Jobo.
- The us Electric Duo Velva Blu covered the song few months after the original version.
- In the Family Guy episode, Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey, president Bill Clinton is seen singing and dancing to Barbie Girl while playing Dance Dance Revolution.
- The band Electric Chairs recorded a melancholy, down-tempo rendition of Barbie Girl in 2001.
- The German Euro house project Bangbros played the Remix of the Rob Mayth version live in an DJ set in summer 2006.
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