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"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" is a song by American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles, composed by Christopher Stewart, Terius Nash, Kuk Harrell and Knowles for her third solo album, I Am... Sasha Fierce. The song was released as the album's second single after her worldwide hit "If I Were a Boy". It was a critical and commercial success, becoming Knowles' fifth solo single to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaking in the top 10 in various countries.

The song gained popularity for its catchy hook and theme of female empowerment, and it was ranked #1 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the Best 100 Singles of 2008 and number two on MTV's list of the Best Songs of 2008. The choreography-driven video achieved great success, prompting a legion of imitations and parodies, and, according to Rick Sznajder of the Toronto Star became known for starting the first major dance craze of the millennium and of the Internet.

The song's music video was nominated in nine categories for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and won three, including Best Choreography and Video of the Year. It also won Video of the Year at the 2009 BET Awards, the 2009 MOBO awards, and the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards. It won the Song of the Year at the 2009 Soul Train Awards, and is nominated in the same category at the 2009 World Music Awards.

Release and promotion

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", alongside "If I Were a Boy", was initially targeted to debut on radio stations on October 7, 2008, with aims at rhythmic formats for the former. However, the song premiered the following day on the mainstream urban radio station Power 105.1.

The song was performed on November 9, 2008 at the 2008 World Music Awards and at Saturday Night Live on November 15, 2008; that night, Knowles was also featured in a parody of the "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" music video, where the two female backup dancers from the video were replaced by three men. One of the three men was Justin Timberlake, who showed up unexpectedly at the dressing room in a leotard before filming. The other two were SNL cast members Andy Samberg and Bobby Moynihan. On November 16, 2008, Knowles performed the song during the final episode of Total Request Live. Knowles performed the song on November 18, 2008 at BET's 106 & Park. She also performed "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" during the 2008 AMA Awards on November 23, 2008. On November 25, 2008, she performed the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. On November 26, 2008, she performed the song at Rockefeller Plazamarker on The Today Show. Knowles also performed the song on The Tyra Banks Show with two male dancers. An official remix was leaked and features rapper Lil' Scrappy and produced by Don Vito, who did Yung Joc's song Coffee Shop, the remix samples Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew's song "The Show".

This song has been included in many television shows, including J.J. Abrams' Fringe, Cougar Town, and was used over three times in Glee.

Critical reception

The song received critical response. Bill Lamb of, stated that: "Stylistically, the pair ['If I Were a Boy'/'Single Ladies'] are very distinctive from each other, but both are pure Beyoncé. To my ears, 'If I Were a Boy' sounds like an 'Irreplaceable' size smash. However, that is only if it doesn't get overshadowed by the power bounce of 'Single Ladies,' an extension of the style of 'Get Me Bodied' from B'Day." Allmusic had a negative view of the similarities between the two songs, saying the song is "a dire 'Get Me Bodied' retread". Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly magazine said the song "is all bouncy hand claps and post-breakup sass, a giddy, high-stepping hybrid of lyrical kiss-off and fizzy jump-rope jam". Mariel Concepcion of Billboard magazine was not impressed with the song, calling it "standard screech-thump fare".

Rolling Stone magazine named "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" the best song of 2008 writing, "The beat, courtesy of The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, is irresistible and exuberant, the vocal hook is stormy and virtuosic." The song also landed at number two on MTV's list of "The Best songs of 2008": "'Single Ladies' is hyperactive and supercharged in ways I never thought possible. It's epic and sexy and even a bit sad (because, you know, he didn't put a ring on it)...there is absolutely zero chance Beyoncé ever releases a single like this ever again." Time magazine's critic Josh Tyrangiel, who called the song "ludicrously infectious", ranked it the seventh best song of 2008. "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" has also been named Song of the Year by Fuse TV.

Chart performance

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" debuted at number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 and steadily ascended the charts, entering the top 40 at number 28 on the Billboard issue date of November 29; the following week, "Single Ladies" surged to number two on the Hot 100. With strong digital sales of 204,000 "Single Ladies" topped the Hot Digital Songs chart, pushing Knowles' other single "If I Were a Boy" to number two with a tally of 160,000 copies sold. The song sold 228,000 downloads the following week, a twelve percent increase over the last week's tally of 204,000, and spent two weeks at number one on the Hot Digital Songs. "Single Ladies" fourth week at number one was prompted by a massive surge of 157% on downloads, which gave her 382,000 downloads for the week alone. The single's performance on the Hot 100 was also boosted by heavy rotation, as the song also topped the Hot 100 Airplay chart for a number of weeks. "Single Ladies" became Knowles' fifth number one single on the Hot 100, eventually topping the chart for four non-consecutive weeks, interrupted at the top in its second week by T.I. and Rihanna's "Live Your Life". It was certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA on February 13, 2009. As of September, 2009, this song has so far sold over 3,000,000 digital downloads in the United States, becoming Knowles' highest-selling song in the U.S to date.

As Knowles' fifth number one song, she is now tied with R&B singer Rihanna for most number one singles this decade by a solo female artist (excluding three of her number one hits with Destiny's Child from this decade). The song spent five non-consecutive weeks atop the Hot 100, becoming Knowles' second Christmas and New Year number-one single, the first one being "Irreplaceable" in 2006-2007. "Single Ladies" was also a crossover success, topping both the Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Dance Airplay charts. It was well received by an R&B audience, where it debuted at number 20 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and spent twelve consecutive weeks at the summit. It is Knowles' fifth number-one R&B single in her solo career.

Internationally, the song performed well. It debuted at number 81 on the Canadian Hot 100 based on downloads alone, and jumped to number 17 the following week based on strong sales, eventually peaking at number two. In the UK. "Single Ladies" was not initially released as an independent single, and was released instead as the b-side to "If I Were A Boy". However, the song achieved great success, entering UK Singles Chart at number 67 on November 23, 2008, based on downloads alone, and slowly climbed to a peak of number seven (and number one on the UK R&B Chart for three consecutive weeks), giving Knowles her twelfth UK top ten hit. To date "Single Ladies" has spent 49 weeks on the UK Singles Chart (top 100) making it her longest charting single ever in the country, beating nine of her other higher charting singles (including every one of her #1 singles). As of November 2009, it still remains on the chart, over a year after it was released. The song peaked at number 4 on the Irish Singles Chart. Its sales have exceeded 400,000 making it her third gold single in the UK.

On November 24, 2008, "Single Ladies" debuted at number 15 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and peaked at number 5. The song was certified 2 x Platinum, selling over 140,000 copies. In New Zealand, the song debuted at number thirty-two on November 24, 2008, and peaked at number two in its fourth week where it stayed for three weeks. It was certified Gold after seven weeks selling over 7,500 copies. In the Netherlands, "Single Ladies" became a top 10 hit based on downloads and airplay, eventually peaking at number 8.

On November 16, 2008, "Single Ladies" had spent 52 weeks (a year) in the Top 50 Australian ARIA Singles Chart, before dropping out the next week.

Music video

The music video for "Single Ladies" was shot concurrently with "If I Were a Boy", as both singles were released together to emphasize the duality of the singer and her more aggressive alter ego Sasha Fierce. However, Knowles revealed that the budget for the videos was spent almost entirely on "If I Were a Boy", and the producers were forced to downgrade for "Single Ladies". Like "If I Were a Boy", "Single Ladies" is shot in black and white, and was directed by Jake Nava, with whom Knowles had worked on her previous music videos including "Crazy in Love" and "Beautiful Liar". According to Nava, the styling was inspired by a Vogue photo shoot.

Choreographed by Frank Gatson and JaQuel Knight, Knowles performs as her alter ego Sasha Fierce. It shows her in asymmetrical leotard and high-heels, with two look-alike backup dancers (Ebony Williams and Ashley Everett). The video features Knowles dancing inside an infinity cove (which alternates between black and white), placing focus on the complex choreography. The dance routine incorporates various styles, including jazz, tap and hip hop. The video is credited with popularising J-Setting, a flamboyant lead-and-follow dance style prominent in many African American gay clubs across Atlanta, which in turn was borrowed from the moves of the all-female J-Sette dance troupe of Jackson State University. Towards the end of the video, Knowles flashes her $5 million Lorraine Schwartz wedding ring that camouflages with her titanium glove, also made by Schwartz.

Knowles premiered the music video, alongside the video for "If I Were a Boy," also directed by Nava, on MTV's Total Request Live show. The video was released to major outlets on October 13, 2008. Upon the video's release, many internet bloggers noticed similarities between the choreography of "Single Ladies" and that of a June 1969 performance by Gwen Verdon on The Ed Sullivan Show entitled "Mexican Breakfast". The latter—choreographed by Broadwaymarker legend Bob Fosse—became an internet viral sensation when Unk's "Walk It Out" was dubbed over the original mix. While promoting the song on BET's 106 & Park, Knowles stated that she was inspired by the video after viewing it on YouTube and wanted to see if she could attempt it. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly magazine, Knowles said she saw an old tape of Verdon and used it as an inspiration for the video to "Single Ladies". The choreography also borrows liberally from Fosse's "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" routine from the stage musical and subsequent film Sweet Charity (Verdon played Charity on Broadway, and Shirley MacLaine, the role in the film).

Cultural impact

"Single Ladies" has gained widespread popularity for its catchy hook and theme of female empowerment, with critics comparing the song to Aretha Franklin's "Respect" or Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive". The music video has achieved fame for its intricate choreography, which has been credited as having started the "first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet". It was parodied on Saturday Night Live, where the two female backup dancers from the video were replaced by Justin Timberlake and SNL castmembers Andy Samberg and Bobby Moynihan. On June 3, 2009, Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers did the dance and posted it on their YouTube account for their album countdown.

The music video has inspired a legion of imitators who have posted videos of themselves on to YouTube attempting to perform the choreography. One of the more popular viral videos is that of Shane Mercado, who appeared on The Bonnie Hunt Show to perform the choreography and later got the chance to meet Beyonce Knowles. In one of the videos on the internet, filmed by American singer John Legend, the American president Barack Obama can be seen doing a small part of the "Single ladies" dance, while talking to Knowles. In London, 100 dancers wearing leotards similar to the one worn by Knowles performed the choreography on April 20, 2009 to promote Trident Unwrapped, a gum company. The music video for "Single Ladies" is also parodied on a 2009 television commercial in the United Kingdom for the new Doner Kebab flavoured Pot Noodle.

The video has generated interest in j-setting, the dance form that choreographer JaQuel Knight highlights in the video, and is credited as bringing the dance style to the mainstream. Like the histories of many popular dances, there are several versions of the development of J-setting (named after the "Prancing J-Settes" of Jackson State University in Jackson, MSmarker). In a radio interview on NPR's All Things Considered, Knight shared his excitement about the popularity of the video's one-take dance sequence as an inspiration for anyone to get up off the couch and try out the moves.

The popularity of the video on YouTube has been in turn reflected by Knowles; during her concert tour, excerpts from many of the YouTube videos play on the video screens in the background. In the music video for "Dancin on Me" by DJ Webstar and Jim Jones, it features three females in the background imitating the "Single Ladies" dance.

"Single Ladies" won the 2009 BET Awards Video of the Year. In addition, it was nominated for a total of nine awards at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and ultimately won the award for Video of the Year, and an additional two awards as well, though its loss in the Best Female Video category to Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me" led to controversy during the ceremony; Swift's award acceptance speech was interrupted by singer/rapper Kanye West, who grabbed her microphone to declare the "Single Ladies" video as "one of the best videos of all time". When Knowles won the Video of the Year award, she stated, "I remember being 17 years old, up for my first MTV award with Destiny's Child, and it was one of the most exciting moments in my life" and that she would like for Swift to "come out and have her moment".In the movie,Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, The Chipettes sing the song as The Chipmunkssee them for the first time and fall in love. The trailer for the movie showed the female chipmunks doing dance moves from the video and singing the lyrics to the song.The song is also featured on the Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and is listed as the #1 on the album.

Awards and recognitions

  1. 2008 #1 Song of the year by Rolling Stone
  2. 2008 #2 Song on MTV's best song list of 2008

Awards ceremony Award Results
FUSE TV Song Of The Year Won
Kids Choice Awards Favorite Song Won
MTV Video Awards Video of the Year Won
Best Choreography in a Video Won
Best Editing in a Video Won
Teen Choice Award Best R&B song Won
BET Awards Video of The Year Won
MOBO Awards Best Video Won
Soul Train Awards Song of The Year Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Video Won
World Music Awards Song Of The Year Nominated

Track listing and remixes

UK CD Single
  1. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" - 3:13
  2. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Redtop Remix) - 3:31
  3. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (Remix) (Feat. Tommy Stars & Daddy O)"

US Dance Mixes EP

  1. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Dave Audé Remix Club Version) - 8:19
  2. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Karmatronic Remix Club Version) - 5:54
  3. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Redtop Remix Club Version) - 6:52
  4. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Remix Club Version) - 6:53
  5. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Lost Daze Dating Service Remix Club Version) - 6:47
  6. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Craig C's Master Blaster Remix Club Version) - 8:19

EU Dance Remixes EP

  1. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (RedTop Remix Radio Edit) - 3:33
  2. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (My Digital Enemy Remix) - 6:38
  3. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Olli Collins & Fred Portelli Remix) - 7:40
  4. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Dave Audé Remix Club Version) - 8:19
  5. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (The Japanese Popstars Remix) - 7:46
  6. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (Album Version) - 3:13


In the 2009 film, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel", The Chipettes (Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor) sing the song, and this version will be released on the film's soundtrack. The band The Fray also 'covered' this song along with Columbian singer Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" for laughs at concerts.


Chart (2008) Peak

Australian ARIA Singles Chart 5
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 11
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 34
Canadian Hot 100 2
Danish Singles Chart 21
Dutch Mega Single Top 100 12
French Digital Chart 43
Irish Singles Chart 4
Italian Singles Chart 10
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 19
Spanish Singles Chart 10
Swedish Singles Chart 50
Swiss Singles Chart 40
Turkey Top 20 Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 7
UK R&B Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 2

End of year chart (2008) Position
ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2008 74
UK Singles Chart - Charts Plus YE 2008 175

Sales and certifications

Country Certification Sales
Australia 2x Platinum 140,000+
New Zealand Platinum 15,000+
Spain Platinum 40,000+
UK Gold 400,000+
USA 3× Platinum 3,000,000+

Chart procession and succession


  3. Top Ten Songs - 7. Beyoncé's Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
  7. Beyonce starts 2009 atop the Hot 100
  8. Beyonce's eighth single atop the Hot Dance Club Play
  9. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" on acharts.
  14. Lee, Ryan Beyoncé's borrowed moves: New video brings black gay dance style to the mainstream. Southern Voice (2008-11-07). Retrieved 2009-01-23
  15. " First Listen: Beyoncé's 'If I Were a Boy' and 'Single Ladies'" Los Angeles Times. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2009-01-23
  18. " iTunes Store - Beyoncé - Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) - Dance Remixes". Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  19. Turkey Top 20 Chart Retrieved on 2009-01-26
  20. ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2008
  21. Charts Plus YE 2008

External links

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