by Sean Smith
NBC’s popular singing competition show The Voice kicked off their seventh season this week. The major change to the show this season come in the form of who is sitting in those big red judges chairs. Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine and country star Blake Shelton once again returned as judges this year. However, Shakira and Usher have been replaced this season by Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani. Based on the first two episodes which aired Monday and Tuesday, it looks as if Pharrell and Gwen will be great additions to the show. Their playful personalities seem to fit right in with that of Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, and their musical knowledge and understanding should make them both forces to reckon with as the show progresses.
Now when I saw Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams sitting side by side on the show this week, my mind automatically recalled the great collaborations that the two have done together in the past. Of course the most famous of these projects is probably Gwen Stefani’s 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl”, but they also worked together on her 2006 song “Wind It Up” and Pharrell’s 2005 single “Can I Have It Like That”. But today I want to take the time to remember the very first time that Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams worked together by remembering the 2002 No Doubt single “Hella Good”.
Before Gwen Stefani was putting out highly successful solo projects, she first made a name for herself as the lead singer of the rock band No Doubt. That band first gained main stream success with their 1995 album Tragic Kingdom, which spawned the hit singles “Just A Girl”, “Spiderwebs”, and “Don’t Speak”. But in 2002 Gwen Stefani and No Doubt went to hip hop producers The Neptunes, made up of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, to create a more “happy” sounding record and that merged the group’s traditional rock sound with the Neptunes more urban sounding hit making style. The product of this marriage of sounds was No Doubt’s 2002 hit “Hella Good” which served as the band’s second single off of their 2001 album Rock Steady. “Hella Good” was a commercial success as it reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot Dance Songs chart, reached number three on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, and the #13 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
And so with No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams making their debut this week as judges on NBC’s The Voice, today we take the time to remember the first record the two did together. The 2002 No Doubt song “Hella Good”. Enjoy!
From Rock Steady
From Love, Angel, Music, Baby
“Wind It Up”
From The Sweet Escape
From In My Mind
Star Trak/Interscope Records