A Beyoncé Playlist

I was working in the international licensing department at Sony Music when Destiny’s Child released their debut album in 1998. I would field requests to include their first single, “No, No, No,” on compilation CDs. Matthew Knowles, the group’s manager and father of their usual lead singer, Beyoncé, was in favor of granting all the license requests. “I want them to become a household name” he told me. Look how far Beyoncé has come. Today’s playlist consists of my 30 favorite Beyoncé tracks. She’s had bigger hits than some of the songs included, though if I must choose, I’d choose these.

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Throwback Thursday: 1997

“I wanna really really really wanna zig-a-zig-ah”

“Beep beep, who got the keys to the Jeep? Vroom”

“Pissin’ the night away”

“Joni Mitchell never lies”

“Poppa been smooth since days of Underoos”

“Love me, love me / Pretend that you love me”

“What I look like? Patti LaBelle or somebody?”

“Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky-panky”

“Mmm bop ba duba dop / Ba du bop ba duba dop / Ba du bop ba duba dop / Ba du yeah yeah”

“Woo-hoo!”

So many memorable lyrics emerged in 1997. Hear the ones above and then some below:

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Throwback Thursday – 1997

Randy Badazz Alpert received many requests to license “Rise,” a song he co-wrote that became a #1 hit for his uncle Herb in 1979, as a sample in hip hop tracks. He said no to Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice, Eazy-E, and the others who requested permission. However, when he received a cassette from the producer then known as Puff Daddy of a new song utilizing the sample, he consented. He loved the new tune and felt it could make his song go to #1 again.

He was right. The new recording was “Hypnotize” and it was performed by the Notorious B.I.G. “Hypnotize” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1997, less than two months after the rapper was killed in Los Angeles.

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights the best of 1997, kicking off with The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” which uses a sample from a songwriter whose middle name really is Badazz.


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Some TLC For TLC

One of the most cited segments of VH-1’s Behind the Music series is from the episode about the group TLC. In July of 1995, less than a year after the release of their second album, CrazySexyCool, the best-selling album of all-time by a female girl group, with 23 million units sold, the trio, comprised of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, declared bankruptcy. In a clip from the show, the group’s Left Eye explains how a multi-million selling act can be left with little money.

Take note, aspiring recording artists.

Today is T-Boz’s 46th birthday. In her honor, here are twenty highlights from TLC’s career, including a few side projects.


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Ringo + Missy 2014-07-01 15.17

Now That’s What I Call Win Win! | Missy Elliott’s Birthday Post

In yesterday’s post I mentioned a negotiation class I took. The teacher gave us many different tactics and approaches, with the overriding goal being for each party to feel they got what they were seeking and were treated fairly. This is commonly referred to as a win-win.

In 2005, the joint venture that produces the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations requested from Warner Music, where I worked, a license to include Missy Elliott’s hit “Lose Control” for the next volume of the series. Until that point, Warner hadn’t licensed to any of the Now albums. Senior management was eager to change that.

Atlantic Records, the Warner label to whom Missy was signed, wanted the song on the album. Missy’s mother, Pat, who handles her daughter’s license requests, approved of its inclusion. However, the song features two guest artists, Ciara and Fatman Scoop, and also contains two samples. The royalty we were to receive from Now wouldn’t cover these expenses; Missy would end up losing money for each unit sold.

I set about to renegotiate everyone’s portion of the royalty pool. The argument I used to convince each party to agree was simple – we can’t afford to license the track at the present rates. If we don’t do the license, then nobody makes any money. However, if everyone agrees to reduce their share of the royalties, then we can proceed with the license. As Now albums routinely sold several million units each back then, the money everyone would receive was a nice chunk of change, especially as all one needed to do to get it was to sign the one-page agreement I sent over.

All parties saw the logic in this argument, and the song made the album. Warner became a part of every Now compilation going forward. Missy’s mom marveled at how I got this done. A couple of years later, a new deal for Missy hit the desk of Atlantic Records’ legal department. Pat Elliott told the attorney “Give this to Glenn Schwartz to handle. He’ll get it done.”

The goal of this post isn’t to brag about myself. Okay, maybe that’s part of it. The other part is to encourage you to look for win-win situations, or, as was in this case, win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win situations. The more happy people there are, the more happiness there is. Seems simple, no?

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Today Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott turns 43 years old. Here is some of her finest work.