Simon Cowell Missed Out on Britney Spears’ ‘…Baby One More Time’
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Simon Cowell shared some interesting music history on the Howie Mandel Does Stuff podcast earlier this week. As it turns out, he wanted Britney Spears’ debut single “…Baby One More Time” for a boy band called Five.
Simon Cowell Missed Out on ‘…Baby One More Time’
“I had a boy band at the time called Five, who I’d put together, we were just on the verge of breaking them from America,” Cowell recalled. He added that someone called him about the song “…Baby One More Time,” saying it was written for TLC, who passed on it.
After hearing the song, Cowell decided he had to have it. He called the song’s producer/writer Max Martin, who had promised it to Britney Spears. Cowell was so desperate for it, he offered Martin a Mercedes 500 SL.
Martin insisted that the track belonged to Spears. When Cowell heard her name, he told Martin that “no one is going to have a hit with the name called Britney Spears.” Little did he know, both the song and Spears herself would become huge upon its release in 1998.
Cowell Went on to Judge The X Factor with Spears
Cowell called Martin “honorable” for not giving him the song, saying that he “would have taken the car.” He said it was “the right decision,” adding that this is how he and Martin ended up becoming friends.
Interestingly, Cowell would later share the screen with Spears herself when she became a judge on the U.S. version of The X Factor in 2012. He explained in 2013 that he was trying to get the biggest stars to compete with shows like American Idol and The Voice.
“And she was fine, but I think she found it very uncomfortable,” Cowell said, adding, “I kind of booked someone who couldn’t talk, which is a bit of a problem when you want someone to judge.”
Spears only lasted one season on the show. The next year, Cowell sat on the panel with Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio. That would end up being the show’s last season in the United States.