Question: what does it sound like when a popular girl group overcomes internal drama and steps out with a record-breaking No. 1 hit? It sounds like "Independent Women Part 1," the Destiny's Child super single that reached a peak on the Billboard Hot 100 on Nov. 18, 2000.
The release of the single capped a year of highs and lows for the Houston, Texas-raised group. Initially comprised of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Robinson, tensions arose when the latter two members attempted to break from the group's manager Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé's father). In February 2000, the video for No. 1 hit "Say My Name," from the group's sophomore album The Writing's on the Wall, featured an entirely new line-up of Knowles, Rowland, Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. By July, Franklin had left the group; the other members alleged that she had missed key promotional dates.
Though the backstage drama didn't influence "Independent Women" - listen closely and you can actually hear Franklin on the track - the lyrical themes of feminine self-determination were already part of the Destiny's Child songbook. (Previous hits had called out cheaters and messy boyfriends, and later hits would continue that ladies-to-the-front style.) The group in fact put together two versions of "Independent Women" - one with producers Rapture and Eric Seats, and another with hitmakers Poke & Tone of the Trackmasters.
It was that latter version that was picked to accompany the blockbuster film version of the '70s television hit Charlie's Angels, starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu as the titular private detectives. (According to Beyoncé herself, Matthew Knowles actually submitted the track without the group's knowledge!) With an eye-catching video that featured the D.C. girls in training for situations like the ones in the film, fans couldn't get enough. It not only reached the top of the charts but stayed there for an unprecedented 11 consecutive weeks - the longest a girl group has ever stayed at No. 1. The song also prefaced the success of the group's next album Survivor, one of 2001's top sellers.