"Barbie Girl" is a song by the group Aqua, who released it in 1997 as a single and included it on the album Aquarium. The song was written by Claus Norreen and Soren Nystrom Rasted after the group saw an exhibit on kitsch culture.
The song was voted the fourth "Worst Number One Of All Time" in a VH1 poll, and was featured in spot #32 on VH1's "Most Awesomely Bad Songs... Ever" countdown.
The lyrics of the song are about Barbie and Ken Carson, the dolls made by Mattel. As such, the lyrics drew the ire of Barbie's corporate owners.
Mattel sued the band, saying they violated the Barbie trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object, referring to her as a "Blonde Bimbo." They alleged the song had violated their copyrights and trademarks of Barbie, and that its lyrics had tarnished the reputation of their trademark and impinged on their marketing plan. Aqua claimed that Mattel injected their own meanings into the song's lyrics and MCA Records were not about to let their hit single be suppressed without a fight. They contested Mattel's claims and countersued for defamation.
The lawsuit filed by Mattel against MCA was dismissed by the lower courts, and this dismissal was upheld though Mattel took their case up to the Supreme Court of the United States (Mattel's appeal was later rejected). In 2002, a Judge Alex Kozinski ruled the song was protected as a parody under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and also threw out the defamation lawsuit Aqua's record company filed against Mattel. Kozinski concluded his ruling by saying "The parties are advised to chill." The case was dismissed, and in the process, it garnered lots of media attention for the song and the band.
This controversy was used by journalist Naomi Klein to make a political point in her book No Logo, where she stated that the monopolies created by copyrights and trademarks are unfairly and differently enforced based on the legal budgets of the conflicting parties and their ability to defend their expressions by hiring lawyers.
"Barbie Girl" was spoofed as "Ugly Girl", not (as popularly believed) by the popular "Weird Al" Yankovic, but by Jack Off Jill.
Punk band Home Grown (sometimes mistaken as MxPx for one reason or another) mockingly covered the song, on their album "EP Phone Home"
Dutch singer Ome Henk parodied the song in his native language.
German metal band Rammstein, contrary to popular belief, did not cover the song in German language. This misunderstanding was started on a filesharing network, which labeled the Dutch song of Ome Henk as a German song by Rammstein.
The German duo Lynne & Tessa produced a lip-synched internet video of the song, which has consistently been ranked high in the top-100 list on Google Video since it was released in May, 2006.
The British Indian comedy sketch show Goodness Gracious Me parodied the song as Punjabi Girl both in the radio series and later on television.
Another version of the song has been sung in Russian by an unknown artist, the subject of the song having to do with a little girl singing about her loneliness to her father. While it seems that she is singing about a dollhouse, she states that she wants talking dolls-signaling that she truly wants a family that gets along. She asks why the families in movies get along so well, while her parents are constantly dividing belongings amongst themselves and do not take her for walks, tells her father that she still loves him- she's not only her mother's daughter- all illustrating her loneliness and desire to have a family that lives well together.
Brazilian singer Kelly Key recorded a version in Portuguese of this song, keeping the line "I'm a Barbie Girl" ("Sou a Barbie Girl") but changing the rest of the lyrics.
Comedian Andy Dick produced a song called "Barbie Bitch", featuring two gay men saying how much they hate Barbie.
Danish group "Selvsving" produced a parody for DR called "Bibi Pigen" which shows Barbie as a cheap girl, wanting to be the dirtiest so she can have success. Ken refers to himself as a Greenlandic transsexual narcotica addicted homosexual. (Dan
Mexican radio station "Radioactivo 98.5" made a fake promo of a new Barbie doll called the Barbie Q with the lyrics of the song (in Spanish). They referred to her as a masochist.
There have also been many amateur versions published over the internet. One of the more known versions was posted on the internet in the summer of 2006 which featured Simon Jones. This lead to a small amount of success for Simon Jones and this version was later played on denbigh radio by DJ Dan J a famous DJ from abergele
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