Cast your mind back to April 1997: Tony Blair was on the brink of leading New Labour into 10 Downing Street, the Nintendo 64 was capturing the imaginations of children and teens the world over, and a fresh-faced David Beckham was well on the way to winning his second Premier League title with Manchester United. Simpler times, indeed.
But then who would’ve predicted that Hanson would choose that moment in human history to come along and rip shit up, eh? The precocious trio’s ‘MMMBop’ – which was released as the lead single from their multi-platinum-selling debut album ‘Middle of Nowhere’ – stormed to the top of the singles charts in 27 different countries in April 1997, staging a three-week sit-in at number one in the UK alone. And who could forget ‘MMMBop”s accompanying video? You mean you have?! For shame.
Magical. The key to ‘MMMBop”s titanic soft-rock success was perhaps its lyrical simplicity, particularly in its decision to forego using actual words at all. We all know the chorus, don’t we? It’s playing in your head right now, isn’t it: “MMMBop, bidi dapa doo wop / Doo bi dapa doo bop / Bidi dapa doo, yeah-e yeah!”
Well, it turns out that both your ears and your mind have been playing tricks on you for two whole decades. Speaking to the Kyle and Jack O Show in Australia, Zac Hanson sought to right a long-standing wrong by pointing that, actually, there’s not a single “wop” in ‘MMMBop”s chorus.
“Too many people put a ‘wop’ in there,” Zac Hanson revealed to the Australian radio show. “What happens is people go to sing that song and they start making it up as if it’s nonsense. But it’s actually a repetitive part, it came from doo-wop songs. So it’s a background part.”
So there you have it, folks – and just to make sure we’re all now singing from the same hymn sheet, here’s the lyrics to the chorus of ‘MMMBop’ as they should be sung.
“Mmmbop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop / Ba du bop, ba duba dop /Ba du / Yeah-e, yeah!”
Check out the Hanson lads singing ‘MMMBop’ properly for a special NME Basement Session performance in the video above.