The Story of Pop: 1999 (Chapter 4)

Ever wondered what was topping the UK singles chart exactly oooh…twenty years ago? Then wonder no longer, as we continue to bring you the story behind the hits of that time in The Story of Pop: 1999. And to use the intro for this week’s song and thus this week’s post: Gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen…

With 40 million record sales worldwide, South Californian band The Offspring, headed by lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Dexter Holland, are one of the biggest selling punk rock bands of all time. But even though they were an immediate hit in the States with their first two albums, there was some countries that were stubbornly resistant to their charms – the UK being one of these.

But it was with the release of their third album, 1998’s ‘Americana’ that they really took off internationally, thanks to its lead single, ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’. It was written primarily as a side eyed look at young men who immersed themselves in hip-hop culture, not for a true love or understanding of it, but so they could be in with the ‘cool’ crowd.

As Holland himself explained: ‘It’s about guys who are from, like, Omaha, Nebraska, regular white-bread boys, but who act like they’re from Compton. It’s so fake and obvious these poseurs are trying to have an identity … we get amusement out of it more than anything.’ Even without its satirical, cheeky message, it was an undeniably catchy song, with it’s repeated chorus of ‘Give it to me baby (Uh huh, uh huh!) / And all the girlies say I’m pretty fly (for a white guy)’. And upon its release here at the end of January 1999, the UK became one of the nine countries to crown it as a chart topping single, making it by far the biggest of their career to this day.

Don’t forget to follow our playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 1999. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments or Tweet us, using the hashtag #StoryofPop1999.

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