That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.
Every once in a while, something happens in pop culture that seems to capture everybody’s attention. Whether it’s Harlem Shake videos, the ice bucket challenge, or Psy’s “Gangam Style,” these cultural phenomena are usually meteoric: they get popular quickly, show up everywhere, and, mercifully, burn out as quickly as they started. In early 2000, the ubiquitous bit of cultural ephemera clamoring for our attention was the Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” You remember it, right?
The song is catchy, bright, and driven by a simple repetitive hook—all the things that make for a hit, the kind that gets played over and over and over and… And that, of course, happened. That translated into worldwide success, with the song reaching the Top 10 in most of Europe. Interestingly, the song didn’t do that well in the US, charting no higher than #40 on the standard Billboard Chart. (It did hit #6 on the US Dance chart, though.)
Its real US success came a year of so later, when “Who Let the Dogs Out?” was picked up as the de facto anthem for sports teams of all types and at all levels, as well as appearing on the soundtrack of a couple of movies. Shortly thereafter, the market was saturated with Baha Men clothing, toys, and lots more. (To this day, you can still buy Who Let the Dogs Out merch on both the primary and secondary markets.)
You might think that this bit of lightning in a bottle was a Baha Men original, but its history actually goes back decades, includes a couple of lawsuits, and is nearly as colorful as the Baha Men’s stage outfits.