Joe Nichols cover of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot started as a joke, and he didn’t even think of it to “go viral.” He also wasn’t sure if that cover would be on his album. However, a little under a month after its released the clip has pulled more than5 million views.
“I wouldn’t say [the song was] an afterthought, but it was sort of the last thing [we cut for] the record,” Nichols tells The Boot. “We had a little bit of time left [in the studio] to cut one more song,” and his producer suggested “Baby Got Back,” which Nichols has been playing, retooled as a Western swing melody, in his live sets for a while now. So, they laid it down, and it was funny, but Nichols still didn’t believe it would actually get released: “The label’s probably gonna go, ‘You guys weren’t serious, were you?’” he remembers thinking.“But we were surprised,” he adds, “pleasantly.”
Joe Nichols’ version of “Baby Got Back” can be found on his newest album, Never Gets Old, released on July 28; with an assist from Darren Knight, aka “Southern Momma.” Thanks to non-country music news sites such as BuzzFeed and BoingBoing, a lot of people have discovered the cover through that music video, which finds Nichols and company performing their version of the song for Sir Mix-a-Lot himself.
“The guy’s super cool,” Nichols says of Sir Mix-a-Lot (he calls him “Mix”), “and just very willing to do whatever to help the song and the video.”
Sir Mix-a-Lot knows Nichols even before the music video. Nichols says the rapper told him that he’d received calls from friends who had attended Nichols’ shows about the cover … and that he’s a big fan of Nichols’ song “The Impossible.”
“That’s pretty great,” Nichols says with a laugh. “That’s a pretty cool deal.”
Sir Mix-a-Lot was also pleased that Nichols had taken his big hit and made it his own: “That was nice that he kind of gave his stamp of approval,” Nichols notes. “That was really cool for him to say, ‘That’s being authentic for you, so I dig that.’”
Although Nichols sees Never Gets Old as a statement of sorts — “part of somewhat of a movement in country music [back] toward more traditional country music” and a chance for Nichols himself to go “back to how I started, why I started, where I started — traditional, fun, country” — he doesn’t want anyone to take his cover of “Baby Got Back” too seriously.
“We’re just having a good time … It’s not a movement, it’s just a funny song,” Nichols says. “It’s not a statement, it’s just us goofing off, having fun … We’ve got enough serious stuff happening.”
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