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20 Years Later, I Just Realized That Hanson’s Megahit MMMBop Is Actually Incredibly Depressing

Xo Jane

As a person of—ahem—a certain age, 90’s pop music will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s the music I first partied to in public, the music I first got drunk to, the music I sang along to in my most joyful moments, and a certain amount of Alanis Morissette’s early canon even joined my most beloved standards and showtunes as Music For Melancholy Moods.

Fast-forward to today, and everything about the way we consume music has changed, but the content is still there. To that end, I have 90’s playlists on all of my devices, and tagged as favorites on the streaming service I use. So there I was one day, bopping along to the indisputable classic “Shoop” by Salt N’ Pepa, rapping every word with the track except for the one viciouslyableist one that was still gross but not really balked at back in the day.

The next song was “MMMBop” by Hanson, the pop prettyboy brothers who captivated everyone I knew at the time except me. I never got into their music, their image, none of it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, and I ordinarily skip this song when it comes up on a playlist, but I was walking swiftly and my phone had shifted to a relatively buried position in my bag, and I thought, “Oh well, it’s not the biggest deal in the world, I’ll just let it play.”

Not only did I let it play, but I actually listened to it, probably seriously for the first time ever, and holy shit! “MMMBop” is actually one of the most existentially bleak songs ever written.

I had never noticed because I wasn’t really paying attention, and it seems like the record-buying masses of 1997, who made Hanson’s most successful track an international hit that reached #1 in 27 countries, were too jazzed by the aggressively upbeat tune and rhythm to notice that this is some heavy stuff.

Some Wednesday Addams, Lydia Maitland kinda stuff.

I first started taking note upon hearing the lyric in the hook, “In an MMMBop you’re gone,” and I thought to myself, Wait, hang on, an MMMBop is a unit of time measurement? Even having personally dismissed the song so significantly, I couldn’t help but to have heard it several trillion times, ubiquitous as it was for so long. I thought I was at least familiar with it overall, and that the title was part of the quasi-gibberish/scatting that filled so much of it.

The revelation that “an MMMBop” is a thing was just the beginning of my edification.

What in the name of emo self-doubt is all this? Right out of the gate, after the aforementioned sorta-scatting, (sorry Hanson and Hanson fans, they technically are scatting but I’m too much of an Ella Fitzgerald fan to really give them that), we’re told, “You have so many relationships in this life / Only one or two will last.”

Let’s pause and remember that Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson were only 14, 12, and 10 years old at the time.

Having established from jump that the majority of our relationships are doomed, the adorable trio grimly acknowledges: “You go through all the pain and strife/Then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast.”

“All the pain and strife.” …really, little boys?
“All the pain and strife.” …really, little boys?

I’m not doing that thing where adults question the sincerity of the “deep thoughts” of very young people just because they are very young. Rather, some filament of memory in my brain lit up with the knowledge that the Young Brothers Hanson had written it themselves, a fact that was undoubtedly spouted by some talking head back when MTV played videos and lodged itself in my subconscious to be put to use 20 years later. So my thought wasn’t that these children were parroting some approximation of “deep thoughts,” or that they were puppets for an adult songwriter, but omg this is so dark how did I never know this was so dark?

I can’t stand perky music that’s perky for perkiness’ sake. I don’t mind happy music and I appreciate joyful music, but peppy, perky, and other words that begin with P and end with Y generally make me nauseous. I do however, allow for perkiness as a melodic counterpoint to dark lyrical content, and greatly appreciate such juxtapositions, so how on Earth did I not know all this time that MMMBop was more than just mmms and bops?

After warning us that life is about bullshit relationships and loss, the telegenic trio wisely advises: “So hold on the ones who really care.” Which seems fair enough. But they immediately double down on their Debbie Downer-ness by explaining that the reason to hold on is because “In the end they’ll be the only ones there.” Excuuuuuuuse me, cutie pies?

We haven’t even reached the hook yet when the boys are pleading, “And when you get old and start losing your hair / Tell me who will still care / Can you tell me who will still care?”

Mind fully blown, I hit up my good girlfriend Google to see if I was having some sort of personal crisis that made me read waaaaay into these lyrics or if others had documented this.

It all made sense when I learned that MMMBop was originally conceived and recorded by the boys as a ballad, and the version that ruled the world for a summer or so was (re)produced by the prolific producing team The Dust Brothers, whose work with artists like Beck and the Beastie Boys is anything but ballad-heavy.

They surely did their Dusty thing on MMMBop, transforming the boys’ existential lament into an uptempo boogie that, for me, unforgivably obscured the lyrical content. To be clear, the original version is still a mid-tempo jam and not some slow, string-filled funeral dirge in a musical sense, but it’s slower enough and sung more thoughtfully enough to make so much more sense to me than the manic track that topped the charts.

Though some of their follow-up songs indeed showcased solid vocals and great harmonization, MMMBop felt so thoroughly bubblegum to me that I was always confused when I heard Hanson describe their sound as R&B, as inthis recent interview where they described their music as “Jackson 5–esque soulful songs.”

That’s a bit of a reach, until you factor in that original MMMBop, which is… exactly that. Where was  this song in 1996? Had it not been buried, I might be Hanson’s #1 fan today!

Lyrically, after that first chorus, MMMBop goes on to cast a negative pall on the unpredictability of life, which could be viewed as a beautiful sea of unbridled possibilities, or, through Hanson’s eyes, as an answerless void where you keep planting seeds without knowing what may or may not ever grow from them. The song’s final minute or so is spent in a downward spiral of repetition, with the boys answering their own desperate plea “Can you tell me who will still care?” with a terrifying “Can you tell me? / Oh / No you can’t ’cause you don’t know.”

“Can you tell me? You say you can but you don’t know.”

THAT song would have fit in just fine with my Morrisette-heavy playlists, and it’s no wonder to me that CDs of the original MMMBop, which the boys had recorded themselves and sold only at their own perfromances and at regional outlets in Oklahoma until they landed a record deal, sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

Perhaps you already knew that the lyrics to MMMBop are an emotional journey to the heart of existential darkness, but this was news to me, and the chart-topping version will never be the same again.

12 Reasons All You Wanted Was A Brother In The ’90s


I have brothers now, but I didn’t in the ’90s. I really, really wanted a brother. Mostly so I could have someone to fight meanies for me, but also so I could play Pokemon with someone who could play Ash (I wanted to be Pikachu, duh). There were lots of reasons for wanting a brother in the ’90s. A lot of them had to do with Hanson. Who were also a lot of our reasons for wanting a boyfriend. It was a fairly confusing time for feelings of fraternity and also of lust. Blame Paul Rudd in Clueless.

Brothers can be annoying. They fart on you or near you and it’s horrible. They give you wedgies and pretend to spit huge gobs of saliva on you. They tease you about the things they know you’re insecure about. But then as you start getting older, something magical happens. They start being your confidante and you theirs. You support each other. They lift the heavy things you can’t lift yourself because you might be small and/or have pathetic upper body strength. They become your best friends. (The farting never stops, though.) Here are 12 reasons why all you wanted was a brother in the ’90s.

1. So You Could Have Someone To Harmonize To “MmmBop” With

Sure, the Hanson Brothers were confusing because not only did you want brothers like them, you wanted to be on them. But overall, having someone to start a family band with: priceless.

MMMBop: Singers explain why we did not understand anything!

Public France
(translated using Google Translate)

MMMBop : Les chanteurs nous expliquent pourquoi on n'a rien compris!

The title “MMMBop” is 20 years old this year. And while millions of people are able to hum these heady notes, the singers of this mythical air revealed that nobody could sing it properly!
According to the Hanson Group, we would be millions not sing as necessary “MMMBop”. For 20 years, a mystery hovers around the pronunciation of these words frantically swaying on techno notes. The three brothers are rather clever. As if it were a joke, Isaac, Taylor and Zac fun of the inability of fans to transcribe the words: “You know why because people fail to properly sing the chorus?. most of the time, they hurt syncope “explains Taylor. The rhythm method is indeed difficult to execute.

Isaac, a famous singer would certainly be the only one to do it “! But if Bruno Mars was interested to sing, he would rip surely”

Finally, the three singers have finished this interview Vulture Magazine explaining that contrary to popular belief, the lyrics are very sad and not happy! “Take for example the verses:… ‘You have So Many relationships in this life Only one or two will last through You go so much pain and strife You turn your back and they’ re gone so fast.” The person they talk through very sad times. She has a lot of frivolous relationships. Yet only one or two people actually will mark his life. In short, we did not understand at all!

11 Things You Realize When You Listen To Hanson Again As An Adult


If there’s one band that I remember being a big fan of with cringe levels embarrassment, it’s Hanson. It’s not that the band was bad or anything, but simply that my love for them spiraled out of control. Like, I’m not kidding: The extent of my obsession was insane. I collected foreign magazines with them on the cover, I made my own T-shirts with the band on them, I drew their band logo onto my school bag, and I wrote “Mrs. Taylor Hanson” over anything and everything as though my belongings could magically and legally pronounce us husband and wife. I was woefully uncool about it all, and it’s painful to remember (why am I even telling you?), so to listen back to Hanson as an adult has felt like peeling off the faux-cool veneer that I’ve cultivated as an adult to expose my awkward, obsessive and distinctly lame interior.

What I’ve realized as an adult though is that, actually, Hanson were a pretty great band. They were talented, thoughtful, and wrote songs that were bewildering and catchy in equal measures. For those of us who were super-fans of Hanson, this comes as a distinct comfort; of course we were obsessed, they were awesome. There are, actually, more than a few things which do stand out when listening to the band as an adult:

1. They Had So Much Extreme Existential Angst

Who knew that Hanson were such philosophers? Whilst their contemporaries were happy to just sing generic love songs addressed en masse to people called “baby,” Hanson delved deep. “Weird” is a razor blade against my fragile emotions, you guys. It’s basically the musical equivalent of that moment in The Breakfast Club where Emilio Estevez tells the group, “we’re all bizarre, some of us are just better at hiding it.” With lines like “when you live in a cookie cutter world/ if you’re different you can’t win/ so you don’t stand out but you don’t fit in…”, the song is all about how we’re all different but that some people are really different and they get treated super unfairly for it. I get it, guys.

2. Their Love Songs Are Kinda Weird To Listen To Now

Hearing 14-year-old Taylor Hanson sing that he’s going to come to me when “the night is dark and stormy” is a little creepy. Which is a shame, because 9-year-old me thought that was the cutest thing in the world. Having said that, I do often feel like my “soul is dying” and that I lack the “strength to keep trying” as suggested in the song, so I don’t know, maybe we could all just hang out and play Monopoly some time?

3. Hanson Just Wanted Everyone To Get Along And Be Happy

For the record, “Where’s The Love” is Hanson’s best song. It was clear to me when I was a kid and it remains the case even now. The song also cements something which is clearly present in so many of their songs: they just want humanity to chill. It’s like they picked up the peace baton that John Lennon had left for them and sprinted the musical relay with it. These boys are so pure at heart and full of peace and love that they feel almost alien to me; has modern culture become that cynical? Why can’t more kids be like Hanson? *Shakes fist at cloud like Grandpa Simpson*

4. They Should Never Have Included Scratches In Any Of Their Music

I’m sorry, but do you see any of the Hanson brothers mixing decks and scratching vinyl? No. It sounds beyond bizarre against harmonicas and blues guitar riffs.

5. “MMMBop” Is Unbearably Sad

This isn’t big news for anyone who used to love to read Hanson’s lyric inlays whilst they were blasting the album, but “MMMBop” is a devastating song about loneliness and, well, death sang by a bunch of teenagers who don’t even know how bad life gets yet. Listening back to the song at an age where you’re waking up at 4 a.m. in a cold sweat over bills and guzzling wine to make dates seem interesting is like hearing someone throw a sparkling, glitter parade for your own personal misery.

6. They Harmonized Like Angels

I don’t know if it was the age difference, the disparity between voices which hadn’t yet broken and those which had, or whether they were just on top of their melodies, but whenever they harmonize, it’s just ludicrous. Like, they must have just practiced nothing but harmonies for endless hours on end to get a harmony game that flawless.

7. There Was A Song On Middle Of Nowhere About A High School Murder Mystery?

I used to be obsessed with this song. After managing to listen to “Where’s The Love” and “MMMBop” enough times to feel insane, “Yearbook” swiftly became my third favorite Hanson song. I never knew what it was about except that there was a kid called Johnny who wasn’t available on the day that the yearbook photos got taken, there was a blank space where his photo should have been and that Taylor Hanson wanted answers for it. “There’s a lying in your silence, tell me where did Johnny go?” the three brothers ask over and over again to a seriously dramatic melody which includes a string section and piano. It’s totally about a murder right? Johnny got murdered. Or, he just moved schools? It’s an enigma, that’s for sure, and one that I dearly hope David Lynch puts to film one day.

8. They Wrote Party Songs For Awkward People

And there’s nothing wrong with that. I was and still am one of those deeply awkward people (and maybe so are you? Own it!) and you know what? “This Time Around” is the kind of song which unites people around pizza and beer, and when someone inevitably asks you, “oh hey, this song is kinda great! Who is it?” you can tell them, with pride, “it’s Hanson. You’re now a Hanson fan. I made that happen.” And that’s how friends for life are formed.

9. Their Video For “The River” Is A Perfect Titanic Parody

Not only does it star Weird Al Yankovic but it also has a guest turn from Gloria Stuart (aka, Rose as an old lady) as a Hanson super fan, complete with the tattoo to prove it, looking back fondly on her youth as a fan of the band. The song shows off the fact that Isaac Hanson (the older of the three brothers) should have totally been allowed to take lead vocal duty more often.

10. Their Voices Were Spectacular

Honestly, anyone who hated on Hanson clearly had some jealousy issues to sort out.

11. They Developed Into A Much Better Band Than I Ever Thought They Would

Seriously, why didn’t I get this memo? “Thinking About Somethin'” is amazing. It’s total blues brilliance with a spectacular Blues Brother homage video to go with it. (Hold up, Weird Al Yankovic is making yet another cameo? What is with that guy?) It’s also super nice to hear that the summer-blues depressive pop vibes which seemed to weigh down many of their early songs in their career was instead replaced by a much happier power-pop blues tone. Hanson got happy, people. I’ll sleep well tonight knowing that.

Does Hanson still grace the front covers of international music magazines? It might be time for me to start up my collection again. But as a grown up, which will just make me quirky and definitely not lame.

Images: HansonVEVO/YouTube

See ‘Game of Thrones’ Star Emilia Clarke Sing ‘Mmmbop’ in Dothraki

Rolling Stone

Emilia Clarke showed off her Dothraki skills during a stop at ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers.’

As part of the fantasy world of Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke has mastered the Dothraki language to play Daenerys Targaryen. The actress explained the language during a visit to Late Night With Seth Meyers.

As Clarke reveals, the Dothraki language is a real language and not just words she makes up on set. “You can study it,” she says, before explaining that linguist David Peterson created the language for the show.

She went on to explain the process of rehearsing the language for the show, getting the script in English first and then later getting a mp3 with the Dothraki version. She even admitted that sometimes she may even mess up the language on camera, mostly because most of the crew don’t know if it’s wrong or not.

To later emphasize how one can master the language, Clarke teased an off-camera moment where she decided to sing Hanson’s hit “Mmmbop” in the language and sang it for Meyers. “I can’t stress how much less catchy that is,” the host said.

For those who want to learn how to officially speak Dothraki, a conversational language course is available in book and CD form. Peterson wrote Living Language Dothraki: A Conversational Language Course as well.


Widely Hated 90s Icon ‘Hanson’ To Run For Senate


After numerous failed and embarrassing attempts at a comeback, anti-immigration campaigner and writer of smash hit ‘Mmmbop,” Hanson, is set to run as an independent candidate for the Queensland Senate.

Despite being widely viewed as a one-hit wonder who should stay in the 90s, Hanson’s focus on pressing issues such as Halal certification and the failure of multiculturalism has struck a chord both with those who are frightened of foreigners and those who just love remembering kitsch 90s culture.

“There’s never been a better social climate for Hanson to make a political comeback,” a spokesperson for One Nation explained to The Backburner. “The 90s are hella in, Pogs and Pokemon cards are selling for loads on eBay, and Australia still crawls with an underbelly of insidious racism and xenophobia.”

“Some say Hanson only appeals to a fanatical minority, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. The entire Middle of Nowhere album was an infectiously sunny pop-rock hit selling around 10 million copies worldwide.”

Hanson is reportedly bizarrely popular with particular sections of voters, with one man telling The Backburner “Mmmbop is an absolute banger, nobody can deny it. Who can resist Hanson’s knack for crafting uplifting pop-rock beats and protecting the white Australian way of life?”

A Buzzfeed listicle entitled “Only 90s Kids Will Remember Hanson!” has attracted more than 3 million views, featuring images of Hanson’s luscious, dreamy hair interspersed with nostalgia-inducing clips of Hanson’s 1996 maiden parliamentary speech stating “We are in danger of being swamped by Asians.”

Hanson’s senate campaign will reportedly be self-funded, with the money coming entirely from royalties from smooth, heartfelt holiday album Snowed In.

The Backburner is Australia’s most trusted news source, it is quite obviously satire and shouldn’t be taken seriously or before operating heavy machinery.

Hanson Reveals the Surprising Story Behind ‘MMMBop’


The 20-year anniversary of the mega pop hit also marks the day grunge died and pop music was re-embraced by teens round the world. And it was all thanks to a bunch of indie-rock hipsters.

Weary millennials, let me take you back to 1996. It was a simpler time, when Leonardo DiCaprio was our God, Jonathan Taylor Thomas our Jesus, and Tiger Beat our Bible. It was also the year that a little-known band called Hanson would record the original demo for “MMMBop”—a song that would eventually rule the radios and hearts of teens across the globe and become the final death rattle for grunge music. “MMMBop” ultimately served as the bridge from alternative music back to pure pop.

“MMMBop” became the defining pop anthem of the late 90s and the runaway hit of Hanson’s album Middle Of Nowhere. It reached #1 in 27 countries, earned three Grammy nominations, and led the band to massive success, with over 16 million records sold worldwide. While Hanson has often been dismissed as bubble gum bullshit for the grade-school demographic, their debut album’s pedigree was actually rooted in the alternative rock scene of 90s Los Angeles.

The Dust Brothers, who oversaw the Beastie Boys’ Pauls Boutique and Beck’s Odelay,produced Middle of Nowhere. Tamra Davis, who had directed videos for the Beastie Boys (her husband is band member Mike D), the Lemonheads, Veruca Salt, and Sonic Youth, helmed the “MMMBop” music video. David Campbell, a prolific composer who worked with Beck (his son), Green Day, Hole, Alanis Morrissette, laid down arrangements for the album.

But before all that, the Hanson boys were just three kid brothers making music in the garage of their family’s home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here, then, is the oral history of “MMMBop”— told by the brothers and those who engineered their iconic success.

Three Kids, A Garage, and A Dream

Taylor Hanson: We grew up around music in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We got turned on to rock and roll and R&B, and very quickly that spark happened. Zac was really young when we first started.

Isaac Hanson: You were four, Zac!

Zac Hanson: I wasn’t that interested in making music when I was four. [laughter]

Taylor: We started officially playing together in 1992. We stood up there in our leather jackets like 1950s greasers and sang covers of 50s songs from Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bobby Day.

Isaac: Our first proper gig was at this local music festival, when I was eleven, Taylor was nine, and Zac was six.

Taylor: We were building [our careers] from the ground up. We had several thousand fans on a mailing list. We’d send out mailings, literally licking stamps and sending out cards [that listed our] gigs over the next month.

Christopher Sabec [Hansons first manager]: I was at SXSW [when I discovered Hanson]. These three kids had been going up to people in the crowd and asking to perform for them. Taylor asked if they could perform for me and I said, “Sure.” They sang “MMMBop” for me a capella. When I heard them sing that song, I knew they had huge potential. I pursued them to get a management contract.

Taylor: Over the five years before we [became famous], we made a couple of records locally. Our second independent record was called “MMMBop,” which got its name from that song. [The original, indie version of MMMBop] was a different tone when it first was released in 1996.

Sabec: [We used] that independent record, and shopped [the band] to at least 14 labels.

Taylor: We were turned down by everybody in the industry. But we’re stubborn.

An Empty Gig Leads to Surprise Success

Steve Greenberg [A&R for Mercury Records at the time]: By the point [I got their MMMBop demo], I think twelve labels had passed on it. I heard it and thought it was a great song. But often, when you get these demos from very young people, there’s something wrong with the picture. I was like, “OK, this was really good, but is this for real?” So I decided to go see them in April of 1996. I went to Coffeyville, Kansas, where they were playing at the Coffeyville New Beginnings Festival. There were very few people there.

Taylor: Steve Greenberg came to see us play that show in Coffeyville. We’d been trying for years to get record labels to come see us, and they kept turning us down. But then you go and have this small show that you don’t want anyone to see, and that’s the one they decide to come to.

Greenberg: The festival wasn’t well-attended, but they were really good. I went backstage and met them. I told them how much I liked them, and that I hoped [Mercury Records] could do something with them. I’d been looking for a “Hanson” before I knew that they were Hanson. In 1996, you were coming out of the grunge period. The world had been dominated by dark, alternative music. I had this notion that kids in America weren’t really as pessimistic as all that.

Photo via Getty

Danny Goldberg [CEO of Mercury Records at the time]: Steve Greenberg put them on my radar. I’d hired Steve to be head of A&R after I became president of Mercury Records. He played me the demo of “MMMBop,” and it was a one-minute decision-making process. A young band that looked great, with that song—it just made sense. We made that deal quickly.

Taylor: Surprisingly, that random concert turned into an offer from Mercury Records in 1996. We switched gears from trying to grow our local fan club into going to California and recording [an album] with a budget.

Building Indie Street Cred with Alt Elders

Steve Greenberg [Executive Producer of Middle of Nowhere]: The album took about six months to do. We were coming out of this alternative rock moment, and everything was about alternative cred. People were very skeptical that we could do a pop record. And, as it happened, somebody at the label had an advance cassette of the Beck album, Odelay, a couple of months before it came out. I heard the album, and arranged to get [Odelay producers] the Dust Brothers to produce Hanson. [Hanson] headed to California in June of 1996 and set up their equipment at the Dust Brothers’ studio, which was at this house in Silver Lake. It was the Dust Brothers’ involvement that helped us achieve alternative cred.

Taylor: I think one the biggest shifts for us was learning to let certain things go. We were kids, but we had really produced our music all ourselves [prior to that point]. To give credit to our partners, the shape of [the new version of] “MMMBop” came out of a conversation with the Dust Brothers, talking about the Jackson Five. They grew up listening to the Jackson Five.

Isaac: And we grew up listening to the Jackson Five!

Taylor: The definitive shift from a melancholy mid-tempo beat [in the demo “MMMBop”] to being a completely upbeat song came down to picking a Jackson Five-like rhythm.

Steve Greenberg: The vocals on “MMMBop” were recorded by a vocal coach named Roger Love. It was very unsteady with the vocals, because Taylor’s voice was changing. On that great demo version of “MMMBop,” it’s sung in a very exciting key. I really wanted to keep that key. But his voice was changing, and it was really difficult. We brought in Roger Love to coax him through the vocals. It’s a really high note, and we kept fighting and fighting and we finally nailed it right at the end of the project.

Danny Goldberg: Steve and I wanted to create a patina of hipness around a pop record. I think we picked exactly the right people. They didn’t try to make it like Nine Inch Nails or too hip. But they did add a hipness factor that smoothed the pathway to quick exposure in all aspects of the business.

The MMMBOP Music Video: Only Dorks Rollerblade

Danny Goldberg: The big thing at that time in breaking a record was MTV. MTV was still at its peak of influence. I had worked with [music video director] Tamra Davis when I was a manager of Sonic Youth and she had made a great video [for them]. So I suggested Tamra make the MMMBop video.

Tamra Davis [director of the MMMBop video]: Danny [Goldberg] sent me the track for “MMMBop” and three passport photos of those kids. I looked at Taylor and I was like, “Oh my god, if I was a thirteen-year-old girl, I would be madly in love with that kid.” And the song was really cute and catchy. I had done music videos for a bunch of other stuff the Dust Brothers produced. So I was like, “Yeah, let me meet Hanson.”

Taylor: Tamra Davis was connected to that whole LA indie scene. We had a very specific idea of what we wanted the video to be, but we sat down with Tamra, and her vision was more organic. So it was this fusion of our ideas and hers.

Tamra Davis: We shot it over two days, trying to be spontaneous. We definitely had a concept, but a lot of it was like, “I want to go jump out of that trash can” or “Let’s run through the rocks and go through this cave.” All that stuff is a kid’s imagination. [The rollerblading] was totally spontaneous. They were like, “We like rollerblading!” At that time I was, like, too cool. I was like, “Rollerblading? Only dorks rollerblade.” Then I was like, “Alright, alright, let’s put some rollerblading in.” It’s that thing of encouraging people to be who they are. They just had so much fun doing it, and it worked.

Taylor: [The Dust Brothers’] studio at the time was a house they rented in Silver Lake, and they had a big living room that looks out on a swimming pool. That’s where we set up the drums. The performance in that music video is exactly in the spot where we sat and talked with [the Dust Brothers] to write the song.

Isaac: It’s also where we recorded the song!

Danny Goldberg: After it was finished, the video went to MTV’s heavy rotation.

Steve Greenberg: MTV totally helped make Hanson. Tamra Davis made a great video, and was a “cred” director. In all our decisions, we went the “cred way” as opposed to the obvious pop way. It took Hanson from boys who wouldn’t have been taken seriously—instead, they were taken very seriously.

Tamra Davis: What I loved about those Hanson kids was that their family was so close. In addition to doing the video, [their parents] had them write a report on their music video experience. That was part of their homeschool assignment, to write a paper on it!

The Squeal of Optimistic Youth Heard Round the World

Taylor: We made our first appearance to promote the album [and] it was supposed to be just us and a couple hundred fans…

Isaac: … In a record store.

Steve Greenberg: Z100 did an event at the Paramus Park Mall in New Jersey, and Hanson was gonna sell the [“MMMBop”] singles from the record store in the mall. We got to the mall and the whole mall had been shut down because 10,000 girls showed up. It was insane. There are thousands of girls screaming in this mall. I called Danny Goldberg on my cellphone, and he said, “What is that high-pitched squeal in the background?” I said, “That’s the fans.” He couldn’t believe it. Danny had managed Nirvana at their peak—and he said, “I’ve managed a lot of really big artists, and I’ve never heard that sound.” At that point we just knew.

Taylor: I remember sitting in our van that day, seeing the flashing lights of our police escort, and fans crowded around the car. The thought I had was not, “Oh my gosh, we’re gonna be famous.” It was, “This is extraordinary…” We’d always had a deep appreciation for the opportunity to do music.

Isaac: We were also excited to find ourselves in a spot like Michael Jackson when he was a kid in the Jackson Five. Maybe, just maybe, we could be like the Jackson Five.

This Week in Billboard Chart History: In 1997, Hanson Hit No. 1 With ‘MmmBop’


Jiro Schneider

The brother trio topped the Hot 100 for the first of three weeks. Plus, remembering chart feats by Mariah Carey, Deniece Williams and Hootie & the Blowfish.

Your weekly recap celebrating significant milestones from more than seven decades of Billboard chart history.

May 23, 1998
Mariah Carey scores her lucky 13th Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with “My All.” She’s since upped her total to 18 leaders, the most among all solo artists in the chart’s history.

May 24, 1997
Its lyrics may have been somewhat nonsensical, but, thanks to its undeniable hook, Hanson‘s “MmmBop” became a smash. On this date in 1997, it began a three-week stay atop the Billboard Hot 100.

May 25, 1991
The Billboard 200 adopts Nielsen Music point-of-sale data, sparking, for the first time in the rock era, a chart ranking album sales not by retailer reports but electronically-scanned unit sales. No. 1 that week? Adult contemporary icon Michael Bolton‘s Time, Love and Tenderness.

May 26, 1984
Give it up for Deniece Williams! And, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” too. Her smash reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 32 years ago today.

May 27, 1995
Nowadays, Darius Rucker is racking up country hits like “Wagon Wheel,” “Radio” and “Homegrown Honey.” Twenty-one years ago, he was also tops with Hootie & the Blowfish. On this date in 1995, the act’s breakthrough album Cracked Rear View, featuring the monster hits “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Time,” spent its first of eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

May 28, 1983
Irene Cara‘s ’80s classic “Flashdance… What a Feeling” began a six-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

May 29, 2004
Gretchen Wilson climbed to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, for the first of five weeks on top, with the Southern pride anthem “Redneck Woman.”

Third annual Hop Jam helps raise money for Food Bank


TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Another year for the Hop Jam Craft Beer and Music Festival is in the books. The third annual event was held Sunday in the Brady Arts District, hosted by Tulsa’s own Hanson Brothers. Thousands of people made their way to the festival, some traveled as far as Belgium to enjoy the fun and see the famous brothers.

Some visitors paid extra cash for their shot at winning a customized Hop Jam guitar. It was raffled off by Hanson and all proceeds benefitted The Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. This is the third year the event has raised money for the organization.

“It’s really a wonderful thing because we can do a lot with that money in terms of meals, but it’s also just so fun to be out here with everybody,” said Food Bank executive director Eileen Bradshaw.

Bradshaw explained the raffle money comes at a perfect time. She said summer is the most challenging season for their services to families in need.

“The average family’s grocery bill goes up over $300 when the kids are out of school. And if kids were eating their breakfast and lunch at school, where does that money come from?” said Bradshaw.

That is a question Bradshaw hopes to solve with the help of money raised at Hop Jam. She said the festival helps the Food Bank get one step closer towards their goal of ending child hunger.

“Our mobile eateries are going out, they’re doing two breakfasts and four lunches every single day then we’ll kick off our summer café site. So we have a lot going on and this help comes at a really perfect time,” said Bradshaw.

The Food Bank is accepting donations to help its fight against hunger. Donors are welcome to learn more information on the organizations website.

REVIEW: The Hop Jam

Tulsa World

IAN MAULE/Tulsa World

Alex Ebert, of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros perform on the Main Stage during The Hop Jam Beer and Music Festival in Tulsa on Sunday, May 22, 2016. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World

T he wild party that Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros brought to The Hop Jam Sunday evening was a fitting end to a day full of music, beer and fun.

Each band had a distinct sound, from the heartfelt melancholy of John Moreland to a raucous set by Albert Hammond Jr. Music fans found something to like throughout the day while sipping beers from all over the world. X Ambassadors, Chase Kerby + The Villains and RVRB all made the third Hop Jam a memorable one.

Alex Ebert, frontman for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, knows how to command a crowd during a show. His wild movement on stage brings the crowd to his level. Fans and families danced the night away in the area in front of the Main Stage at Archer and Main Streets.

Their style of energetic folk music lends itself to a wild night. Their sound, coming from a huge band playing a variety of instruments, was solid throughout. Ebert, while wildly jumping around the stage and down into the crowd, kept his voice appropriate for the songs, not losing control except for when it seemed like he meant to.

The group based their sets on suggestions from the crowd, with fans shouting songs and Ebert obliging. That back-and-forth brought the crowd into the show in a deeper way. And it led the band to play their big hits, like “Home,” “Man on Fire” and “40 Day Dream.”

Hanson, who organizes The Hop Jam, didn’t play the headlining slot this year, but they did hop on stage for the encore, along with most of the rest of the bands who played throughout the day. No “Mmmbop” though, but the musicians played a fun rendition of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.”

The brothers were also visible throughout the day all over the festival, introducing the Main Stage bands and pouring beer from their tent set up near their studio in the Brady Arts District.

Opening the festival on the Main Stage was the winner of the Tulsa World Opening Band Contest, RVRB. Sunday was one of their very early shows, but they played it like professionals, one of the true highlights of the evening. Cameron Mitchell has a fire for the electronic indie rock sound that was a treat for the early crowd around the Main Stage.

RVRB, like many of the early bands and those at Guthrie Green, unfortunately had a short set. It seemed like as soon as they started they were winding down, and that was a shame. As strong as they sounded, they could have had a much later set and played all night.

Families and fans got the chance to stretch out and relax at the Guthrie Green stage and were treated with some of the finest music in Tulsa.

All runners up in the Tulsa World Opening Band Contest, the five bands who played at Guthrie Green, were each unique and displayed great talent. Performers there included Sam Westhoff, The Young Vines, Nicnos, Nightingale and Groucho.

Westhoff, who is only 20, showed strong skill with his soulful voice, bringing bluesy grit to a rocking folk sound from his backing band. The Young Vines (who won the first Opening Band Contest in 2014 as Capitol Cars) have grown stronger and tighter with strong indie rock chops. Nicnos brought a fiddle to their hard rocking sound for something wholly unique and fun to watch. Nightingale combines folk and soul in a magical way, led by lead singer Briana Wright’s incredibly strong and sweet voice. Groucho’s gritty rock brought a palpable energy to the stage, a perfect ending to a stage full of unique local music.

I talked to several people while walking around the festival Sunday, and each person was as happy and excited as the last. With the third Hop Jam wrapped, it’s easily solidified its place as a must for Oklahoma festivals. Next year, which also happens to be the 20th anniversary of Hanson releasing their enormous breakthrough album “Middle of Nowhere,” the next Hop Jam is a day I’m already looking forward to.