The 1990s ushered in transformative music of all kinds. Grunge made a huge splash with the likes of Nirvana and other garage-based bands from the Pacific Northwest. Hip Hop and nascent rap culture were going mainstream with NWA and crossover hits from Aerosmith and Run DMC. Teenage boy bands were certainly not a new phenomenon, but commercial successes like NSYNC and Backstreet Boys took the world by storm. And what males of a certain age could forget Britney?
However, the 1990s music scene would not be complete without a trip down memory lane featuring Chili’s iconic, brain-sticking tune featuring their mediocre ribs.
Everyone knows the jingle – I want my baby back, baby back, baby back – and now we have a chance to see where it came from. After almost twenty-five years, a viral video is going around Twitter with a behind-the-scenes footage of the classic hit song being produced:
"Chili's Baby Back Ribs" behind-the-scenes recording session from 1998. This is amazing. pic.twitter.com/2Ses0Pi3fP
— Todd Spence (@Todd_Spence) June 14, 2022
For those who miss the innocent 90s, or were too young to know what I am even talking about, here is a look at the final commercial:
Here. I know a lot of you wanna see the commercial, but don’t wanna leave Twitter. pic.twitter.com/Vkc8wPFFIZ
— Mr. Salma Hayek (@Lu_Cetina) June 15, 2022
This song lived rent-free in everyone’s head for days after they got done watching television. The drumming, the singing, the visuals, that ad were awesome, and given the garbage put out on cable, it was better than at least half the programming.
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Despite a polished final product lasting just a few seconds, the story of how the ad came to include acts of guessing, desperation, and betrayal. Who knew the making of Chili’s rib commercial could be a daytime soap opera?
Guy Bommarito wrote the ad in a time crunch, as he recounted in an interview years late:
“I only did it when we got into a situation where we had done a campaign that did so poorly they were going to fire us. We went up to Dallas and we begged them for a second chance. They said, “We need a spot for baby back ribs in about six weeks, and we want it to be music in the restaurant.”
I was too embarrassed to go back to my department and give them the assignment because it was really an awful assignment. This was a time when really good agencies would send out Christmas cards that would have a blank before the word “bells,” like “___ bells, ___ bells,” and when you’d open it up it would say “We don’t do jingles.” That was the feeling at the time, that jingles were the lowest form of advertising and the lowest common denominator. Our department didn’t even do them, so I just did it myself so that no one would have to mess with it.”
I don’t know if the backstory makes the song better or worse, but that won’t take away from the final impact on society. The song was such a cultural smash that it appeared in everything from the Austin Powers movies and episodes of The Office. The fact that the latter continually showed up at the mid-level chain restaurant to host the Dundees or lunch meetings is priceless.
Hailey Sanibel fiercely loves freedom. She is a contributing author at For The Love Of News and writes regularly at The Blue State Conservative.