Carson Daly and Britney Spears on the set of "TRL" in 2001
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Remember These 11 Most-Requested "TRL" Videos?
The cat is officially out of the bag on MTV bringing back its long-dormant flagship music video program, "Total Request Live," after a near 10-year hiatus. The waves of nostalgia are starting to come on heavy — it does bring back memories.
We've cracked into the not-so-secret vaults of "TRL" royalty and picked 11 fan-favorite No. 1 videos we guarantee many of you watched at least 1,000 times — and still couldn't wait to see again. Take a look, take a listen and you might be surprised how many sets of lyrics you know by heart.
"Larger Than Life," Backstreet Boys
The runner-up for title of longest-reigning No. 1 video in "TRL" history was the Backstreet Boys' catchy musical thank you note to their fanbase, "Larger Than Life." It was the most-requested video in "TRL" history before being usurped by their later video for "Shape Of My Heart." With production costs totaling more than $2.1 million for the CGI-heavy sci-fi stylings, "Larger Than Life" also places high on the list of the most-expensive music videos of all time.
"Bye Bye Bye," 'N Sync
The continuous battle of the boy bands between 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys during the early '00s saw the two groups jockeying for the top spot on the totem pole of "TRL"'s most-requested list. "Bye Bye Bye" came in third place overall, just barely beaten out by the Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life." Despite having fewer total days in the top spot, "Bye Bye Bye" does hold the second-longest streak for most consecutive days (25) at No. 1 in "TRL" history. "Bye Bye Bye" also charted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned two GRAMMY nominations, including Record Of The Year, at the 43rd GRAMMY Awards.
"Yeah!," Usher feat. Ludacris and Lil Jon
Let's go back to a simpler time. The year was 2004 and Lil Jon was well into his rise to worldwide fame and hard at work spreading the gospel of crunk. Your social stature among your closest friends would rise three points if could prove you knew every line of Ludacris' verse on "Yeah!" by heart. (And chances are many of you still know it.) Along with topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 12 consecutive weeks, the song netted both Ludacris and Lil Jon their first GRAMMYs as well as one for Usher at the 47th GRAMMY Awards. Now take that, and rewind it back.
"The Anthem," Good Charlotte
One of Good Charlotte's most popular and ubiquitously licensed songs of the early '00s, it's ironic to learn that "The Anthem" was originally an intended film theme song, but ended up not getting used. Despite humble beginnings, the band's "loser anthem" would be tapped for countless film, TV and video game placements over the coming years. Good Charlotte enlisted some friends from pop-punk groups Mest and Home Grown for cameos in the video, and the members of New Found Glory were reportedly on set as well. "The Anthem" grabbed 23 nonconsecutive days as the No. 1 most-requested video on "TRL."
"Like Toy Soldiers," Eminem
An almost uncharacteristically mature turn for an artist whose early public persona was built on poking the bear of public opinion at every opportunity — often at all costs — "Like Toy Soldiers" saw Eminem attempt to take the high road on the current state of hip-hop and some of his ongoing feuds with rival artists. He took a calculated gamble with the song's hook sample in the days when Kanye West was still working to prove his style of pitch-shifted anthemic pop samples, but "Like Toy Soldiers" won over music critics. NME called the song "perhaps hip-hop's first genuine lighters-in-the-air stadium anthem."
"Cry Me A River," Justin Timberlake feat. Timbaland
Time is a face on the water, you can never take back a mistake once you've made it, and you will never listen to Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" again for the first time. The standout track from Timberlake's GRAMMY-winning debut album, Justified, it won Timberlake one of the first of his many career GRAMMYs at the 46th GRAMMY Awards, and marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Timbaland. The song's music video purposefully worked to undermine the squeaky-clean persona Timberlake accrued from his years with 'N Sync by painting him as a voyeuristic and vengeful spurned lover with a penchant for smashing windows.
"… Baby One More Time," Britney Spears
Britney Spears is arguably the Queen of "TRL": She had a total of 14 videos air on the show and "… Baby One More Time" was the first and most memorable. Literally. It took the show's No. 1 spot on its final most-iconic videos of all-time countdown and is the last video the show ever aired. As the title track from her debut album, the music video features an innocent Spears in a Catholic schoolgirl get-up dancing her heart out. It was a smashing debut for the young singer. The catchy tune went to No. 1 on the charts, and helped earned Spears her first career GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 42nd GRAMMY Awards in 2000.
"Hey Ya!," OutKast
A GRAMMY-winning song from an Album Of The Year GRAMMY-winning album. The video for "Hey Ya!" flips the script on the Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," showing OutKast frontman André 3000 as all eight members of the fictional band the Love Below during their first U.K. TV appearance. The video's two-day shoot was a marathon for André. Since he played all eight band members and the performance was shot from several angles, he ended up performing the song some 23 times in a row, leaving him totally exhausted. Fun fact: The decision to release "Hey Ya!" as a single was last minute, and André 3000 improvised most of the video's dance moves, as there had been no time to lay out the choreography. "Hey Ya!" made it to No. 10 on the final "TRL" most-iconic videos of all time list.
"Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson
The lead single from inaugural "American Idol" contest winner Kelly Clarkson's sophomore album came packaged as a fun rock video showing the singer getting revenge on a former lover by trashing his new lady's house. Interestingly enough, "Since U Been Gone" was shopped around to several bigger name artists, including Pink and Hillary Duff, before Clive Davis convinced the track's writer/producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke to take a chance on Clarkson. The chance obviously paid off, as Clarkson went on to win the GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the song at the 48th GRAMMY Awards.
"Complicated," Avril Lavigne
This debut single from a then-18 year-old Avril Lavigne was inescapable in 2002, so it's no surprise the music video became a "TRL" No. 1 shortly after its release. Shot at Los Angeles' Eagle Rock Plaza Mall with real-life mall patrons and customers in the background, the video introduced the world to the young Canadian singer's skate-punk stylings and positioned her as a driving force for both the fledgling pop-punk genre and for female-fronted pop music that traded on the punk aesthetic. The song earned the singer two GRAMMY nominations at the 45th GRAMMY Awards.
"Helena," My Chemical Romance
Bring your feelings, because we're taking a trip down memory lane. My Chemical Romance's early fame is surely thanks in part to the strength of the music videos for "Helena" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)." Many of the funeral attendees shown in the video and a casket pallbearer were fans who answered an email to appear in the music video. The pouring rain outside the church near the end of the video was not planned for, but worked out well for the video's overall look and feel. The song climbed to No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the music video was No. 1 most-requested on TRL for a total of 15 days. "So long, and good night."