This New Oral History Of The Song “Barbie Girl” Is Strangely Fascinating



Bestinau got that-


In celebration of the memorable 25th anniversary of Aqua’s once inescapable pop earwig “Barbie Girl”, rolling stone spoke to the remaining members of the Danish pop group about their unexpected one-hit wonderdom. It’s a surprisingly serious interview; apparently they are still making music even after two of them got married and divorced and are now co-parenting their kids from different houses in the same building.

One thing I found to my surprise was that Mattel actually sued the band’s label for copyright infringement – and they didn’t budge:

The CD booklet for Aqua’s album Fish tank added this sentence: “The song ‘Barbie Girl’ is a social commentary and was not created or endorsed by the makers of the doll.” This was not nearly enough to satisfy Mattel, and they filed a lawsuit against MCA in 2000.

Russell Frackman (attorney): The lawsuit had 11 different claims. They pretty much threw the sink at us. They all essentially amounted to trademark infringement in one way or another. They even claimed that they were infringing on what they called “Barbie Pink.”

difference: The first thing I thought was, “Wow, is the biggest toy company in the world going after the little band from Denmark?”

New flow: I thought it was hilarious, to be honest. I must say, only in America. They have not charged us. They sued our label. We couldn’t talk about it for a long time. If we were interviewed, we wouldn’t be able to talk about it. There was a lot of fuss around it, but it was also hilarious. And it was a free commercial from both sides, for Mattel and for us.

frackman: I thought Mattel had a weak case. My opinion was strengthened as I learned more about Barbie’s background. Barbie started her life as a German doll known as Lilli. And Lilli was a toy for grown men, so her background wasn’t pristine. It also became very clear that Barbie was represented in books and other media, even in pre- “Barbie Girl” filming, as representing a certain type of person. She became an icon representing a certain type of person. That led to the main defenses in the case, which were essentially First Amendments.

The judge in the lawsuit ultimately ruled, “The parties are advised to chill.”

‘People Probably Want to Kill Us’: The Oral History of Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ [Andy Greene / Rolling Stone]

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