For this week’s edition of Song Saturday, we’re looking back at Gwen’s second solo single and Grammy nominated hit, “Rich Girl”. The track most notably samples “If I Were a Rich Man” from the world renown Fiddler On The Roof production. “Rich Girl” is also an updated remake of Louchie Lou & Michie One’s version which was originally released in 1993.
Gwen teamed up with Dr. Dre and Eve again for “Rich Girl” after she mentioned wanting to work with Gwen again after their 2001 smash single “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” in 2001. During a party held at Gwen’s home, the two discussed working together in the laundry room. Gwen reached out to Dr. Dre about producing again for her after she had written over 20+ songs for her debut solo album, Love.Angel.Music.Baby. Dr. Dre had suggested “Rich Girl”, saying the material that was presented to him from Gwen, “You don’t want to go back there.” After presenting Dr. Dre with their version of the song, he told both Gwen and Eve to rewrite their parts and suggested that Gwen lyrically should portray herself as a character in the track.
Since Gwen was unfamiliar with the song’s origin “If I Were A Rich Man”, Gwen checked out Fiddler On The Roof on Broadway to fully understand the meaning of the song and started brainstorming ideas on how to make “Rich Girl” her own. After working things out over a treadmill workout, Gwen said that the song put her in a difficult spot because “Dre was really pushing me to write in a new way”. When Gwen presented her new take on the song, she says that he loved it and “totally tricked the track out.”
“Rich Girl” was recorded Encore Studios, Record One and Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood.
“Rich Girl” was released domestically on December 14, 2004 to mixed reviews from critics and performed quite well in North America. The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and almost made the top spot on the European Hot 100 Singles coming in at #2. “Rich Girl” was released as a digitally, on CD single and limited edition 12″. After reaching commercial success, the song was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards. “Rich Girl” was certified gold after crossing over on the urban charts and hitting #2 on Hot Digital Songs.
The Pirate-themed music video was directed by Dave LaChapelle and was inspired by an 80’s Vivienne Westwood advertising campaign. The “Rich Girl” video debuted at #9 on MTV’s TRL (peaking at #5) and made it’s way to #4 on MuchMusic’s Countdown.
Gwen and Eve performed the song pretty heavily on television and made notable appearances on Good Morning America, SNL, the Grammy Awards and for Red Nose Day.
On the Harajuku Lovers Live tour, Gwen performed the song (with herself taking over some of Eve’s parts) alongside a pirate-themed backdrop and outfits.
Most recently, “Rich Girl” was included on Just Dance 2014, the latest edition from the popular gaming franchise.