On this day in 1998, our loneliness had been killing us, but a 16-year-old Britney Spears gave us a sign to still believe by releasing "...Baby One More Time." The single had almost gone to TLC or The Backstreet Boys, but ultimately, it was Spears who would make it shine best, kicking off her music career with a video full of dancing and imagery which would come to define its time. While the pop star has since had her ups, downs, and plenty of style transformations, her debut single has stuck as a cultural fixture through it all thanks to its intense choreography, memorable 90s athleisure, and rebellious high school aesthetic, set in the very halls where Grease had been filmed in 1978. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Spears's big musical break, we're distracting ourselves from feeling old by looking back at moments where nostalgia inspired stars to recreate the video.
The defining musical dramedy series of the early 2010s was constantly covering iconic moments in popular music, and Spears was a huge part of this, as her repertoire was the subject of not one, but two full episodes. In the first, "Britney/Brittany," Lea Michele led Glee's tribute to "...Baby One More Time," with her character Rachel Berry offering a maximalist vocal take on the song while recreating the video's choreography and sexy schoolgirl looks. Spears even made a cameo as the teacher in the opening scene.
Lip Sync Battle is a platform for celebrities to literally recreate iconic songs, and with "...Baby One More Time"'s influence, it was bound to feature at one point or another. Kate Upton would ultimately be the one to take on the task, reworking the video's imagery to work onstage without time for elaborate costume and scene changes. Upton began by pretending to speak at graduation, then she and her fellow students ripped off their robes to reveal the iconic cropped button-down and miniskirt look before launching into a dance break inspired by the video.
In 2015, Little Mix was on set for their video "Love Me Like You" when Perrie Edwards decided to have some harmless nostalgic fun. The singer took advantage of the school setting to post a 15-second tribute to Spears' debut single, recreating the opening pencil-tapping scene as well as lip syncing the opening lyrics while leaning against a row of lockers.
Earlier this year, the English singer and songwriter released "2002," a summer jam remembering iconic cultural moments around the turn of the millennium. While Spears's career had moved far beyond "...Baby, One More Time" by the tribute's title year, Anne-Marie still decided to heavily use imagery from the video, dressing as the pop icon to pass notes before walking into a cafeteria of fellow students dancing.
While many have tried their hand at recreating "...Baby One More Time," no one does it better than Spears herself. Last year, the pop icon posted an Instagram home video showing her trying on three different looks, and one of them was the cropped schoolgirl uniform of her musical debut, mixed with a messy hair look to show she's all grown up.