Skip to comments.‘Red Solo Cup’ Songwriter Shares The Story Of ‘Polarizing’ Song’s Creation
Posted on 03/03/2012 11:14:41 AM PST by raccoonradio
As top 10 country hit Red Solo Cup begins being worked to pop formats, songwriter Jim Beavers says hes long since stopped underestimating the potential of the goofy little song that took on a life of its own.
Although Beavers says, Ive determined that about 75% of the people love it and 25% hate it with the heat of a thousand burning suns, the song has sold nearly a million and a half downloads (and counting), and was No. 1 on the country downloads chart for multiple weeks. The video, in which Beavers and his songwriting partners play a major role alongside singer Toby Keith, has more than 12 million views to date, and the song was even featured on a recent episode of Glee.
Keith, who made it a hit, has called Red Solo Cup the dumbest thing hes ever heard in his life, but Beavers and co-writers Brett Beavers (Jims brother) and Brad and Brett Warren (aka The Warren Brothers) are laughing all the way to the bank.
Yet for Beavers, the gratification comes not from the money, but from knowing something so far outside the mainstream could still be a hit in an industry where fewer risks are being taken.
The most satisfying thing has just been being part of a song that is so different and so out of left field thats done so well, he says. Im just glad to know something like this can still happen in country music. As a guy whos been here [in Nashville] for 20 years and seen the consolidation and the doors closing, and it just seems to get tighter and tighter, its really cool to know that something totally out of left field can still break through and have an impact, and that radio can be a big part of that.
Beavers knows what hes talking about. A former marketing executive with Capitol Records and Virgin Records, he made the transition to full time songwriter and now has numerous hits to his credit. They include Tim McGraws Felt Good On My Lips, Josh Turners Why Dont We Just Dance, Billy Curringtons Dont, Gary Allans Watching Airplanes, and four of Dierks Bentleys hits: Sideways, How Am I Doin, Trying To Stop Your Leaving, and Am I The Only One.
But Red Solo Cup was a different type of song altogether.
Beavers says he first had the idea for the title Red Plastic Cup written down in his songwriting notebook, and later changed it to Red Solo Cup just in time for a songwriting session with his three partners. (The four men sometimes play around Nashville for fun as a band called the Warren Beavers.)
I had the idea [because] I remember realizing that I had been seeing them everywhere, at any kind of barbeques or parties, Beavers says of the now iconic cup. If somebody was playing beer pong on TV, that seemed to be what they were using.
Its one of thousands of things Ive written down as a possible song idea, he continues. I was getting together with Brett and the Warrens, and kind of threw it out. The little chorus part popped out and we decided it was going to be a kind of silly, rapping type song. It was really meant to be a funny little thing to put on this little EP we did called Bro to pitch songs with. We took five or six we though were good and recorded them, with us singing, and shopped that around to be cut. Felt Good On My Lips was another one that was on there.
We recorded it just the way you hear Toby doing it, which was just us sitting around a microphone kind of in one take, says Beavers. There was not full instrumentation. Thats what ended upon that little CD.
It got all around town and I remember being very shocked at how many people brought the Red Solo Cup song specifically up to me. I thought there were four or five other songs on that little CD that were way better, and certainly that we worked a lot more on, he says. But everybody kept bringing that one up, so I thought there might be something special to it. But I honestly never believed an artist would have the guts to cut it. I thought it would be one of those things that everybody loves, but nobody ever cuts.
Thankfully, it got to Toby. He heard it and proclaimed it the dumbest thing hed ever heard in his life and [said he] couldnt sleep that night because it was in his head. Then, thankfully for us and the Solo Cup company, he decided to cut it.
But Beavers doesnt necessarily agree with Keiths assessment that the song is dumb. He says, I think a lot of people use dumb and silly just because its an unusual and funny song. I didnt think it was dumb at all. I thought people would really love it. Obviously, a lot of people think its silly and stupid, but a lot of people said that about Roger Miller songs too.
Beavers continues, What I totally underestimated was just how deeply ingrained that red Solo cup is with American culture. I think, unbeknownst to us, that is what the song tapped into more than anything. Thats whats taken everybody by surprise evenfrom what Ive readthe Solo cup company. Obviously the song itself wouldnt mean anything unless the cup meant something to people. People associate good times with that cup, and somehow we hit that little mark, unknowingly.
In the studio, Keith first tried recording the song with studio musicians, but couldnt capture the same vibe the four songwriters managed on their demo version by freewheeling it around one mic.
Toby had heard our little version where were just being idiots so he called us, and we had to recreate our track, Beavers says. That was kind of interesting.
The version on the radio is us playing on it, he continues. Im playing bass, and Im not a bass player, as anybody who is can tell.
Thats what all adds to the charm of it is just a low-fi, garage band-y vibe. I never thought radio would play it for that reason. I thought theyre just not going to think its [got enough] audio quality.
At Keiths invitation, the four songwriters were also invited to appear in the songs hilarious video, which ended up being a much bigger production than Beavers ever imagined, particularly since the clip was made long before the song became a radio single.
Beavers says he was surprised when he got to the set and saw what a big production it was. Hes been expecting a guy with a handicam directing the group to act silly for a few minutes. And he thinks the finished video, directed by Keiths longtime collaborator Michael Salomon, was a huge part of the songs success.
I would say Tobys video, his vision for the video, and his performance in the video were [key], says Beavers. I give him a ton of credit for this songs success because he understood what could be, and he knew how to do it. He knew how to make the right video for it. He knew how to perform it the right way. We all give him a ton of credit for recognizing that vision and carrying it out.
Its kind of been a crazy ride all around, Beavers adds. I dont know [Keith] at all, but I have a big respect for what hes pulled off and been able to do with this.
By the time the song became an official single, Beavers has long since tabled his skepticism about its potential.
Id learned to stop underestimating the song at that point because I did see how legitimate the response was to the video, and I did see those brave, pioneer souls at radio who started playing it and getting huge responses, he says. So by the time Show Dog-Universal actually made it an official single, I wasnt surprised, I was just kind of relieved. I thought it they dont do this theyre really going to miss something.
And while he calls it a pretty polarizing song, Beavers was gratified to watch it climb the country charts to No. 8 on Mediabase and No. 9 on NielsenBDS/Billboard.
Obviously, its taken on a life of its own way beyond what anybody could have predicted or expected, he says.
It seems like every piece of this has just been surreal, he continues. The fact that it was on Glee was just really bizarre to me. One of the producers on that show got forwarded the video and actually had the vision and balls to say Were going to do that on our show. And they actually did it, which was crazy.
Now that its crossing over to pop, Beavers remains optimistic.
Every time Ive underestimated this song Ive been wrong, he says. So at this point, Im wide open and cant wait to see what really happens.
I have no idea what to expect at pop radio. Can I really hear it between a Rihanna song and a Katy Perry song? I dont know if theyre going to do that or not, [but] Im glad theyre trying it and we may all be real, real surprised.
Adds Beavers, A big, big part of the songs popularity is way outside the scope of country music. It wouldnt be as viral or sell like it was if it was just a country thing. Ive had a lot of people tell me they dont like country music but they know that song. I have no idea how they know it, but they do.
Now that hes has one big hit based on an everyday object, youd think Beavers might be looking around for another to draw inspiration from. But the seasoned songwriter is savvy enough not to try to write, say, Black Sharpie Pen.
I know better, but Im sure a lot of other writers are [doing it], he says with a laugh. I understand what a one in a million that kind of thing is, so the last thing I should ever try to do is re-write it.
unedited version (says testicles, ass). note cameos
Wiki.:>> The music video includes cameos from Jeff Dunham, Carrot Top, Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar, Craig Ferguson, Geoff Peterson, Roger Clemens, Eric Church, Joe Nichols, Lance Burton and Larry Bird among others.
It has become a viral video on YouTube, with more than 600,000 views before the album’s release. The video surpassed 12 million views in February 2012.
I love this goofy little song... it always puts me in a good mood. :)
>>The Solo Cup Co. in Lake Forest celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, but the party is still proceeding, thanks to a thoroughly unexpected gift that keeps on giving: Red Solo Cup.
The novelty ditty devoted to the companys iconic signature product currently is in the country music Top Ten. The video that started it all, which posted four months ago and went viral, has received nearly 12 million hits on YouTube, and the single that was never meant to be has been certified platinum.
Performed by Toby Keith, Red Solo Cup is the ultimate party anthem for the ultimate party cup. The ridiculous lyrics (I love you Red Solo Cup/I lift you up/Proceed to party) and maddeningly catchy tune is the stuff of what the Taste of Country website calls the earworm of the year maybe the decade.
Solo never saw it coming. One of our employees saw a video of Toby Keith singing the song in concert, CEO Bob Korzenski recalled. The video circulated through the building pretty quickly. We didnt know if it was real or if it was a joke.
It was no joke. The song, which appears on Keiths latest CD, Clancys Tavern, is the only one that Keith didnt write. It was conceived about two years ago by songwriter Jim Beavers.
Everywhere I went, at football games and parties, I saw people using them, Beavers said in a phone interview. It struck me it could be a song and I wrote down the title.
Same here...I remember first time I heard it. It was on a station that apparently doesn’t have DJs (at least not on weekends?) but does have a short mention of the artist and title. I thought, “This sounds like Toby Keith but I’m not sure.” Song ends,
woman’s voice simply says, “Toby Keith. Red Solo Cup.” Ah.
That leaves out people who don't like the song but can't get it out of their heads, people who hated the song but laughed at the video, and people who liked it at first but got sick of it after hearing it over and over again.
Everything is polarizing to people who are already polarized one way or the other. For the rest of us, ambivalence.
“Keith, who made it a hit, has called Red Solo Cup the dumbest thing hes ever heard in his life, “
I’m guessing he’s never heard the modern version of Cotton-Eyed Joe?
I have no interest is listening to something that was on GLEE, one of the most leftwing anti-family shows that ever existed
Great article and thanks for the post! Glad that Beavers mentioned Roger Miller, since I thought of Roger first time I heard “Red Solo Cup.” Sure do miss that crazy American original!
Yes, by a European group that took the name “Rednex”. Heard numerous times at ballgames (Yankees etc). I guess this is how we’re seen by them...Fiddles and banjos in a dance
song, who would have thought...
Then again, for a time the Macarena was a popular
“middle of the 5th inning” thing to play.
I made it my ringtone :D
Every time I hear this part:
A red solo cup is cheap and disposable
And in 14 years they are decomposable
And unlike my home, they are not foreclosable
Freddie-Mac can kiss my ass. Woo!
It makes me smile...
I like the way the ladies get smitten
admiring how sharply my first name is written
on you with a Sharpie, when I get to hittin’
on them to help me get...
It's one of the dumbest songs I have heard since the days of Muskrat Love, and I thought it was a spoof rather than a real song the first several dozen times I heard it . . . and yes, it does cheer me up too.