Behind The Music
The world knows that Ladies Love Cool James, but what does LL Cool J love above all else? Some of you might venture a guess that it would be licking his lips (and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong), but the real answer is HATS. Kangols, skullys, baseball hats, newsboy caps, bucket hats, do-rags — you name it, and LL has worn it.
Are you on a mobile device? Click here to watch Behind The Song: Toni Braxton, “You’re Makin’ Me High.”
Despite having released two major label LPs —one solo, and one alongside her sisters as a member of The Braxtons— it wasn’t until Toni Braxton released “You’re Makin’ Me High” in the spring of 1996 that she became a household name. As she explains in the latest episode of Behind The Song, there were some fears at the time that recording a track like this would be perceived as a “buckwild” turn by the fans who got to know her while she was on the gospel circuit. While LaFace executives Babyface and L.A. Reid were completely comfortable with this career pivot, it turns out that those “buckwild” fears weren’t entirely unfounded.
“A week before [writing the song with Babyface and Bryce Wilson], I was introduced to marijuana, and I got high for the first time,” Braxton confesses in this VH1 exclusive clip. “In the bridge, I’m singing ‘I want to feel your heart and soul inside of me / Let’s make a deal you roll, I lick / And we can go flying into ecstasy’, I was talking about [smoking a joint].” The innuendo was innocent enough to confuse Toni’s sister Towanda, avoid major scrutiny at radio (the song eventually went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100), and, ultimately, score a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Be sure to tune-in to Behind The Music: Toni Braxton on Monday, October 29 at 10 p.m. ET! Until then, how about (puff puff) passing some time watching some of our other episodes of Behind The Song, like Gym Class Heroes talking “Cupid’s Chokehold” or Ne-Yo breaking down the genesis of “Irreplaceable”?
Are you on a mobile device? Click here to watch Behind The Song: Gym Class Heroes, “Cupid’s Chokehold.”
Last Sunday, VH1′s Behind The Music put a spotlight on alternative/hip hop group Gym Class Heroes and their rapid rise to fame, their troubles with drugs and Travie McCoy‘s relationship with pop superstar Katy Perry all included; if you missed it, the full episode is now streaming here. For those of you who (like us!) who can’t get enough GCH in your lives, check out Behind The Song: “Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast In America,” the song that began the group on their ascent.
Gym Class Heroes’ breakout hit was inspired by a sample of 1979 Supertramp classic “Breakfast in America,” which was written by Roger Hodgson at the tender age of 18 as he dreamt of the California coast while living in his native home, England. As drummer Matt McGinley remembers it, “We were listening to ‘Breakfast in America’ and just sort of playing along to the chorus, and then when the chorus would finish, we would just jam. And that’s where we wrote our own verses.” Then, wanting to make sure it was good, Travie McCoy took the demo into the tattoo shop where he was working at the time and played it for the girls that came in. “I wanted to be that song that, upon first listen, every girl that hears it goes, ‘Aww, I wish my boyfriend would have done something like this for me.’” Needless to say, it worked. They called Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump in to re-record the hook, and then they sat back and watched as the song — and then their career — took off.
Are you on a mobile device? Click here to watch Behind The Song: Carrie Underwood, “So Small.”
This Sunday, VH1′s Behind The Music goes long on American Idol winner Carrie Underwood and her ever ascendent country career. Before then, we went Behind The Song: “So Small,” a song that proves that Carrie’s talent goes far beyond her amazing voice.
Carrie Underwood took the country music scene by storm, releasing her record breaking debut album Some Hearts close on the heels of her American Idol win. Early hits like “Before He Cheats” and “Jesus, Take The Wheel” really showed-off her pipes, but Carrie was eager to show that she can write, too. And so into the bullpen she jumped, co-writing four songs for her second effort Carnival Ride, the album’s inspired first single “So Small” included. “You just start talking, what does this song sound like,” she says of the process, making writing a hit sound as easy as riding a bike, though Brad Paisley and others argue otherwise in the above clip. “To start my second album with a song that I co-wrote, and for it to reach number one, it was just really wonderful,” she says. “It made me feel great.”
Be sure to tune-in when Behind The Music: Carrie Underwood premieres on Sunday, September 30 at 9/8c on VH1. Still wanting more? Carrie goes Unplugged on October 2 at 4pm ET on VH1.com and 7pm ET on-air on VH1. Read more…
This Sunday at 9/8c on VH1, Behind The Music is will put the spotlight on R&B heartthrob NE-YO. Tune-in at 9/8c to get the story behind the song he penned for Beyoncé, the time he performed with the King of Pop himself and all the rest of his thick catalog of hits. But before then, catch a sneak peek at the show’s first act above!
NE-YO is feeling lucky these days, with his fifth studio album on the way and his name already attached to some of the biggest R&B hits of recent times. He was not always the sweet crooning heartthrob he is today, and so this first segment finds the star looking back to his childhood with parents who loved music but where always fighting, and to his early days on stage — some of which were not so pretty. “Every dream I have has been realized,” he says. “How many people can say that? Not very many.”
Be sure to tune-in when Behind The Music: NE-YO premiers on Sunday, September 23 at 9/8c on VH1!
Are you on a mobile device? Click here to watch Behind The Song: Ne-Yo, “Irreplaceable.”
This Sunday, VH1′s Behind The Music delves into sweet crooning singer-songwriter Ne-Yo‘s story. Before we get into that, though, we’d like to set the scene by first going Behind The Song with Ne-Yo’s “Irreplaceable,” the chart-topping smash he wrote for Beyoncé.
“There’s a multitude of points throughout my career that re-inspired,” says Ne-Yo, counting as one of them “Irreplaceable,” the country-tinged hip-hop hit he penned for none-less-than Beyoncé to perform. A shining performer in his own right, the song proved Ne-Yo a talented songwriter as well, able to worm his way into the hearts and souls of others with his writing. “Everybody will start telling you that this will never work, that will never work, probably don’t want to experiment, give people what they don’t know, don’t go too far outside of the box,” he says. “We experimented with something and it worked.” And as for that killer “to the left, to the left” line? He got that from his aunt.
Be sure to tune-in when Behind The Music: Ne-Yo premieres on Sunday, September 23 at 9/8c on VH1.
VH1′s Behind The Music kicks off a new season of storytelling this Sunday with Behind The Music: Train, and for this 15th Anniversary round we hope to do you even better by taking you Behind The Song, as well. Posted as an online exclusive ahead of each full episode, Behind The Song will dig deep into the story behind the celebrated artist’s biggest hit or most monumental song. First up, we have Behind The Song: Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” the song that “was the spark that got us global.”
Deep into recording their sophomore album and still without a single, Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan was struck by a dream about his late mother. “She was swimming through the planets and came to me with drops of Jupiter in her hair,” says Monahan, who woke up with the “back in the atmosphere” line running through his head and the single that would launch Train to multi-platinum status well in the works. From his bed to the studio, the song picked up that “bounce, more of a potentially pop radio sound,” Monahan says, and before they knew it, Train was picking up Grammys (“We were nominated for a Grammy. A few Grammys. Like, five.”) and performing in front of the likes of Bono. “’Drops of Jupiter’ was definitely a gift,” Monahan says.
Be sure to tune-in when Behind The Music: Train premieres on Sunday, September 16 at 9/8c on VH1. Read more…
One of the most tragic moments in hip-hop history was the 1997 murder of Notorious B.I.G., whose young life and promising career was ended at the tender age of 24 in a hail of gunfire. VH1′s Behind The Music: Notorious B.I.G. looks back at the humble beginnings of Brooklyn bred rapper whose two album catalog— Ready to Die and Life After Death— led to his worldwide acclaim. Due to the lyricism present on these LPs, he has earned a place among the greatest rappers of all time.
In this special sneak peek at the latest episode of Behind The Music, which airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the Notorious B.I.G.’s mother, Voletta Wallace, is shown holding on to the fond memories of her only child. In rare footage, a young Biggie raps on his block to a swelling crowd of admirers. Big may have found his gift in rhyming, but it wasn’t enough to keep him away from toting guns and selling cocaine in his poverty stricken Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Fortunately, the streets never deterred him from making music.