On this day in music history: June 6, 1998 – “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy & Monica hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for eight weeks on the same date. Written by LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, Japhe Tejeda and Brandy Norwood, it is first chart topping single and biggest hit for the R&B vocal duo. Scoring a multi-platinum selling album with her self-titled debut and the star of the sitcom “Moesha”, Brandy Norwood returns to the studio in the Fall of 1997 to record her second album. Looking for a fresh sound on the follow up, Brandy works a completely new team of producers. Among them is Rodney Jerkins. Also part of Jerkins’ team are his brother Fred, Japhe Tejeda and LaShawn Daniels. The idea for “The Boy Is Mine” is initiated by Brandy, after watching “The Jerry Springer Show”, with the program’s topic being about a love triangle. “Boy” is initially recorded by Brandy alone. Not entirely satisfied with the results, it is decided that it would work better as a duet. Also taking Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “The Girl Is Mine” into consideration, Brandy tells her label Atlantic Records she wants to duet with singer Monica Arnold. Signed to Arista Records, Monica makes her breakthrough right on the heels of Brandy’s success in 1995 with her debut album “Miss Thang”. Depicted as rivals in the press, Norwood feels the duet will help to dispel those rumors. However, when they pair up in the studio to sing together, it does not go well. So much so, that Monica re-records her vocals in Atlanta with her producer Dallas Austin. In spite of the in studio friction, the song’s hit potential is undeniable. Released as a single on May 19, 1998, it is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #23 on May 30, 1998, it leaps to the top the following week. “Boy” makes Billboard chart history as the first single since The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” to pole vault to the top of the chart from outside the top 20. It’s also the first female duet to top the Hot 100 since “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) by Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer in November of 1979. The Brandy & Monica duet not only becomes one of the longest running chart toppers of the modern era, it is also a huge seller as a commercial single. At a time when physical single sales are at an all time low, with many labels refusing to release retail singles at all, "Boy” sells an astounding 2.6 million copies in the US alone. It earns three Grammy nominations, winning Brandy & Monica the award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals in 1999. The duo pair up again fourteen years later, when they record the duet “It All Belongs To Me” (#23 R&B), though does not match the success of their late 90’s mega-hit. “The Boy Is Mine” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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