Bellamy Brothers to Britney Spears: 'Where's the originality?' in 'Hold It Against Me'
Britney Spears is piling up impressive airplay stats for her new single, “Hold It Against Me,” which broke records for single-day spins at both MediaBase and BDS, her label, Jive Records, reported Tuesday, a day after the song went to radio.
But another pop music act is experiencing a sense of déjà vu with the bouncy song written for Spears by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, with its chorus built around the lyric “If I said I want your body now/Would you hold it against me?”
“Didn’t we already do that?” asked the country-pop duo the Bellamy Brothers, who scored the biggest hit of their career in 1979 with their lilting, Jimmy Buffett-esque song “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me?” It spent three weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s country singles chart and made it into the Top 40 of the pop chart as well.
“That little song went No. 1 and has since become one of the defining songs of our career,” David Bellamy, the song’s writer, said in a statement the brothers issued Tuesday. “If you listen to the lyrics of Britney Spears’ new single, ‘Hold It Against Me,’ you’ll find some major similarities.”
“Howard and I have no personal beef with Britney,” Bellamy added. “She’s a talented gal. But professionally, well, in all honesty, we feel completely ripped off. Where's the originality?"
It’s hard, however, for the Bellamys to get too charged up over the originality issue. Bellamy has previously credited the line to that master of the sharp one-liner, Groucho Marx, who used it while hosting his popular 1950s TV game show, “You Bet Your Life.”
“We had heard that line growing up, and our family always had a weird Southern sense of humor, and they'd use that line around a lot,” Bellamy is quoted as saying in an interview at Songfacts.com web site. “So it just came one day that it'd be a great song title.”
A generation later, apparently Britney, Martin and Dr. Luke couldn’t agree more.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Britney Spears. Credit: Randee St Nicholas