This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #435: All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) by Beyonce.
As the 2000s have progressed, Beyonce Knowles has taken her rightful place at the very top of the music industry. Having achieved much early success as a member of “Destiny’s Child”, Beyonce was well-positioned to transition into her solo career. While “All The Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It”) was not her first hit as a solo artist it was, definitely, her first BIG hit!. This song established her as a musical force to be reckoned with. But, more than that, the theme of the song was such that it, also, sent a very clear message that, as a woman, she was not about to be trifled with by men, in an industry that is known for just that very thing. “All The Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It” is about men wanting all of the benefits of a relationship with a woman without wanting to make any of the necessary commitments. Beyonce makes very clear in this song that the days of “all play and no stay” for men were over.
The funny thing about this song was that, just prior to recording it in 2008, she had become married to rapper and music mogul, Jay-Z. Beyonce and Jay-Z were married in a private ceremony and this song was one of the vehicles they used to make their union public. “All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” was a #1 hit for Beyonce for four weeks. It was voted “Song of the Year” and the video for the song was awarded the title of “Video of the Year”, as well. As infectious a dance song as this is, there is no mistaking the message being broadcast. Women are demanding more respect from men, they are declaring their worth to the world with unabashed confidence and stating, with authority, that without a commitment and a willingness to engage in partnership of equals that, men are going to find themselves locked out of the lives they may wish to lead.
It addition to “All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, Beyonce has produced many hit songs such as, “Halo”, “Crazy in Love”, “If I Were a Boy”, as well as, songs like “Formation”, which she performed at The Super Bowl and subsequently released solely on the streaming service, “Tidal”, which was run Jay-Z. As her career has gone on, Beyonce has produced albums and films that are allowing her voice to sing out in more complex and elaborate ways. She is embracing the responsibility of being a role-model for people of colour and for promoting the cultural importance of her heritage. Beyonce has grown into one of the most cultural and artistically-influential people of our era. “All The Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” was Beyonce’s first huge hit as a solo performer but, even though it sold many copies and earned many awards, its most important role was to act as the foundation upon which the rest of her career as an artist and her life as an icon was built. Beyonce will appear on this list again but, for today, here is “All The Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”. The video is noteworthy because there are no men at all on stage with her. It is an all-female performance. Enjoy.
A link to the video for All The Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyonce can be found here.
Beyonce has an excellent website that can be accessed by clicking on the link here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for helping to inspire the writing of this post. A link to their website can be found here.