For this week’s edition of Song Saturday, we’re featuring No Doubt’s debut single from their Rock Steady album, and Grammy Award winning song, “Hey Baby”.
Originally titled “Boys and Girls”, “Hey Baby” was one of the first songs written for Rock Steady in early 2001. No Doubt collaborated with producer Philip Steir on the song’s instrumental intros at Toast Studios in San Francisco. Tom once described the sounds that came out of the session as “Star Wars music” and its said that they experimented with ray gun-like electronic effects. The lyrics and melodies came weeks later and were recorded at Tom’s home in Los Angeles. It’s a notable fact that the early demo of the song is pretty much what is presented on the Rock Steady album, including the percussion and Gwen’s vocals that were recorded in Jamaica with Sly & Robbie in March 2001. No Doubt requested a special guest artist on the track and the producers suggested Jamaica’s own, Bounty Killer.
The “Hey Baby” single was the first from Rock Steady and was released on October 29, 2001. The song was chosen by the band first because of it’s “upbeat and confident” sound to represent the album. “Hey Baby” debuted at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for close to six months. The track was also a huge success around the world hitting the Top 10 in multiple countries, even debuting at #2 on the UK singles chart. No Doubt won their very first Grammy Award for “Hey Baby” in 2003 winning Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The band first debuted the song live for fans during their opening gig for U2 in October of 2001 and has been a setlist staple ever since.
No Doubt’s music video for “Hey Baby” was directed by Dave Meyers over three days in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. An MTV “Making The Video” special aired shortly after to promote the single. “Hey Baby” peaked at #3 on MTV’s TRL and topped VH1’s Top 20 Countdown for three weeks. The music video also awarded the band Best Pop Video and Best Group Video at the 2002 MTV VMAs.
“Hey Baby” is still one of No Doubt’s biggest singles to date and spawned several incredible live performances (which brought out new sounds and live techniques) and remixes.
“Hey Baby” (Alternate Intro Version)
“Hey Baby” (Official Music Video) / MTV’s Making The Video
“Hey Baby” (Live in Austin 2001)
“Hey Baby” (Live on the Billboard Music Awards 2001)
“Hey Baby” featuring Outkast and Killer Mike (Live MTV Mardi Gras 2002)
“Hey Baby” featuring Bounty Killer (Live TOTP 2002)
“Hey Baby” (Live at Glastonbury Festival 2002)
No Doubt winning for “Hey Baby” at the 2003 Grammy Awards
“Hey Baby” (Live in Jones Beach 2004)
“Hey Baby” (Live on Ellen 2009)
“Hey Baby” (Live in Los Angeles 2012)
“Hey Baby” (Live in Napa 2015)