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Welcome to Radio Feedback, Radio.com’s weekly feature where we ask artists to wax nostalgic on the first time they heard themselves on the radio.
“We were just a garage band that got lucky that our first record became something far-reaching,” Taylor Hanson told Radio.com. “We’ve spent the last 16 years continuing to do that, and ‘MMMBop’ is a big part of that story,”
It was nearly impossible to go anywhere the summer of 1997 and not hear Hanson’s “MMMBop” on the radio. The song lead to three GRAMMY nominations for Hanson, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal. At age 12, drummer Zac Hanson became the youngest GRAMMY-nominated songwriter ever.
Celebrating their 21st anniversary as a band this year, the brothers Hanson (Taylor, Zac and Isaac) recently sat down with Radio.com to discuss the song that made them a household name and where they were the very first time they heard it on the radio.
“The first time we heard our song was in New York City,” Zac recalled.
Taylor and Isaac chimed in with the specifics.
“I remember we were traveling around, doing promotion, trying to get the record off the ground and we were getting into our van and on came ‘MMMBop,’” Taylor said. “We all sat and listened.”
“Actually, in Times Square, getting out going to the Renaissance Hotel,” Isaac added.
“‘MMMBop’ holds a special place in our history for one because it introduced us to the world,” Taylor added. “That song carries such a different meaning to different people. To some people it’s the pop song that got played a thousand times that summer. We’ve had conversations with everybody from John Lasseter, who runs Pixar, to Michael Stipe to Fiona Apple to Billy Joel, about the way that song entered pop culture or somebody’s day or year or summer. It has it’s little moment which is one of the amazing things that few people ever get to share with the world.”
Written as kids, Taylor explained that the song itself is about how relationships are fleeting and things come and go and it’s those few things that matter that you have to hold onto.
“The idea of building things that matter and thinking about the long run is really what our career has been for the last 15 years because we’ve always been doing this for the music,” he added. “The message of the song is it’s about the music. It’s a fun song, it’s a groovy song and it came from listening to Jackson Five, old rock & roll, doo-wop.”
The band hasn’t slowed down since that summer of ’97. Their sixth studio album ANTHEM is due out June 18 and soon after they’ll embark on a world tour.
“As a band you just want to make great music that will last and stick with people and affect people’s lives and be something that they can take with them over years and years,” Zac said. “Success is something you’re always hoping for because it means that you’re doing that and it also means that you don’t have to have another job.”
“And yes, when Zac was 11 he was thinking about that kind of stuff,” Isaac joked.