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The Story Of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”: 2013’s Biggest Hit That No One Saw Coming

Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" Star Trak/Interscope Records
  – Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" Star Trak/Interscope Records

Last week Billboard.com confirmed what many Pop music fans probably already  could have guessed. The official final numbers of music’s top sellers according to Nielsen SoundScan are in, and Robin Thicke’s  “Blurred Lines” is the top single for the year of 2013! It is no secret how this happened, from June to September you could not go anywhere without hearing that infectious  grove. Robin, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. packed dance floors around the world with fans of all ages. The song hit number one in 14 different counties,, and recieved multiple platinum certifications in many of those countries as well, It has now become a part of the soundtrack to many people’s summer memories, but we can’t forget that it all started with it’s fun, but controversial music video.

We all now  know that when Robin first released the eye candy filled music video for the track, it got a lot of people talking back in March. But when the song was first recorded in August of 2012, it was the hit that many didn’t see coming. In many different interviews last year, Robin talked about how the song originally sat on the shelf after he played it for the key players at his label, Interscope.  Perezhilton.com has quoted Robin as saying, “The record company didn’t get it. They didn’t even pay for the video. They didn’t want to support it at all. I played it for the heads of the label, head of pop radio, and everybody just went, ‘Nice. Nice.’ Got no response; was kind of surprised by that. A few months later went back in, played it again like, ‘I think we have enough records here. I think we’ve got four or five really strong singles’ — or at least four or five options for singles.”

During that time, once those same people saw the now very famous video for the song, they finally  understood the funny, yet still sexy vibe he was going for. This was accomplished thanks to Robin Pharrell and T.I. teaming up with acclaimed video director, Diane Martel to help create the jaw dropping visuals . While Thicke first expressed a desire to show his funny side in the video, it was actually Martel who suggested that the video’s models be topless. We all now know that Robin took Martel’s suggestion, but not before he  also suggested  that a more TV friendly version also be filmed. Martel had done something similar for Pharrell many years before, when she directed two separate versions of the video for his band N.E.R.D.’s 2001 alternative hit, “Lapdance.”

Martel’s suggestion certainly gave the video and the song the buzz it needed to show Thicke’s music and image in a different light. While the unrated version may have sparked controversy for a short time, it ultimately drove more of a mass audience to the clean TV friendly version. To date the clean version has now been seen over two hundred million times YouTube.  It is now safe to say that the motivation behind  many of those views are from less about the video being taboo, and more about the song simply being an all around worldwide smash hit! “Blurred Lines” surpassed everyone’s expectations, as it became Robin’s  international breakthrough. He soon found himself transforming from an acclaimed R&B/Soul tastemaker, to a worldwide Pop star. “Blurred Lines” topped charts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as the top ten in Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, France, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland.

Thicke’s promotional momentum  was taken to a higher level in the US, after a milestone performance with Pharrell and T.I.  on NBC’s, The Voice in mid May. Immediately afterwards, “Blurred Lines”  flew up to number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was then when the song was taken beyond an online viral video hit, and began positioning itself as an anthem for the masses. By June tit sold over one million copies, and would continue to sell at a very steady pace throughout the entire summer. It also became Thicke’s first chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100. Once “Blurred Lines” peaked at number one, Thicke’s newly found pop superstardom would only help the track  get even hotter.  By this time It was considered by critics and fans to be the song of the summer, as it stayed at number one in the US for an unbelievable 12 weeks. It has now earned the honor of being the named the longest running number one single of the year in both the United States and the United Kingdom. “Blurred Lines” was then the first single in history  to claim the top “Digital Gainer”, top “Airplay Gainer” and the top “Streaming Gainer” stats  simultaneously. It’s impact at radio would continue to grow, as it was recgodnized  as an “Airplay Gainer” leader for 10 weeks over the summer. In August, it also broke the record for the all-time highest number of radio impressions during a single week in the US, with 228.9 million impressions, surpassing the eight-year-old record of 212.2 million impressions, set by Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together”. These numbers also helped “Blurred Lines become the number one song  on Clear Channel’s iHeart Radio Top 100 Countdown for 2013 . It appeared on various radio formats such as, Pop, Rhythmic, Urban, Urban AC, Hot AC and Adult Contemporary . This new wide demographic of fans allowed Robin’s song to be the first to have four or more weeks of downloads of over 400,000 in the US. Considering the fact that Robin has been very vocal about Interscope’s initial doubts about even releasing the song at all,  watching tit become as big as it has just shows that anything is possible. If tlisteners have a strong enough connection to a song, it cannot be denied no matter what anyone says.

To date the song has sold over 6,498,000 singles in the US alone, and has helped his 6th album of the same name sell half a million copies as well. “Blurred Lines” has also received an astonishing 25 platinum sales awards outside of the US

Many faithful Clizbeats readers know that Robin has  been a friend to us .since the site’s debut. We have enjoyed watching  him grow as an artist since we first reported on his signing with Pharrell Williams’ Star Trak Records, in a article published in February of 2005.  As the years have gone by, Robin has frequently interviewed with us exclusively, and has been gracious enough to invite us to hang out with him and his team on many occasions ons.  It has been a real treat to see someone so talented and genuine, reach the potential we always believed he could. We are very proud of you Robin! it has been a sincere honor  to bd able to watch you become the star that  you are today,. Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey!

Robin Thicke Featuring Pharrell Williams And T.I. 

“Blurred Lines” (Explicit)

From Blurred Lines 

Star Trak/Interscope Records

Robin Thicke Featuring Pharrell Williams  And T.I. 
“Blurred Lines” 
From The Voice (Mau 2013)
NBC

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