Rewind: Everybody (Backstreet's Back)
Welcome back to rewind!, our blog spot dedicated to cool music videos.
Welcome back to rewind! our moment in the week where we like to share our favourite music videos to kill some time to. A punchy tune, an iconic dance break and excellent costumes sum up this week's choice.
From debut, the Backstreet Boys have enjoyed an incredible amount of success that continues to this day. What one might not know is their debut album was released in 1996 in Germany where the group was based at the time. It was a HUGE success which prompted their American debut album the following year with the same name. This release featured songs from their 1996 album as well as their second international release, Backstreet’s Back. The track, 'Everybody (Backstreet's Back) was chosen to be the lead single for their American release which a few people at the record company weren't quite sure about. Since the Backstreet Boys hadn't launched in the States, how could they technically 'be back'? The boys suggested that it could mean they were 'back in America,' which potentially settled the issue because all went ahead as planned.
A catchy pop bop, the song was paired with popular video director Joseph Kahn, who had no knowledge of the group but was thoroughly impressed by their European sales. Having only worked hip-hop and R&B projects, Kahn was interested in exploring the genre of pop and sketched out an idea that took inspiration from Michael Jackson's Thriller after the group requested a 'haunted house' theme. The clip sees the five 'boys' travelling on a bus when it breaks down unexpectedly. The driver, OG Starky and Hutch star Antonio Fargas, insists the five stay at a nearby haunted mansion while he goes to get help. As singer Brian lies down in bed he pulls an animal out from under the covers and screams in horror. The video then turns into a dream sequence where each member appears in their own scenes dressed as classic horror movie characters. These vignettes are spliced with the crew busting out a dance in the foyer of the house. At the time in LA, the community still had on their minds on the race riots from five years earlier. The need to have different ethnicities represented was important to Kahn, to the group and to the company. Taking further inspiration from Michael Jackson, Kahn once mentioned to Billboard, “His (MJ's) videos were so integrated. I went, ‘We need to multi-racially cast this: Kevin’s going to dance with a black girl and there’s going to be an Asian girl and Hispanic girl. I need to mix this up and make sure this is the world that I want to see on screen,’".
The overall concept for the video, however, was slated and subsequently rejected by Jive Records, their label. The company felt the one million dollar price tag was too much (not usual for that time and for such a new group) and that the theme would not be picked up by MTV. The group however really believed in the idea and, in order to go ahead with the project, had to shell out the cost from their own bank accounts. A risky bet but one that paid off, as we all know. The video was widely circulated and replayed constantly, lending to the HUGE success of Backstreet's American debut. Now an iconic piece of pop history, we hope you enjoy re-watching this gem and let us know which horror get-up was your fave!