The 45 King Recorded Dido’s “Thank You” For Eminem’s “Stan” Off Of His TV
A s soon Eminem heard the sample of Dido’s haunting voice on the demo version of “Stan”, he knew what the song had to be about. “Her words instantly put me there,” he said in VH1's Ultimate Albums series while breaking down the Marshall Mathers LP. “‘Your picture on my wall’ — this is about an obsessed fan. That’s all I kept thinking.”
The lyrics for Dido’s “Thank You” may have painted Em a vivid mental picture of an obsessive fan’s descent into madness, but she never anticipated that her song would be re-imagined with such dramatic effect when she first wrote it. “It’s literally one of those songs that took me only a few minutes to write,” she told MTV News in a 2000 interview.
Though Eminem turned the song’s meaning on its head, “Thank You” started out as a simple ode to the people and simpler aspects of our lives that bring us happiness during the tough times. “I was just sitting there thinking, I’m going to write a song about having a shit day, and then one person, or anything — it doesn’t matter — makes it all okay,” Dido told MTV News. “It’s about anyone who has something that makes them happy and just being thankful for that one small thing that actually makes your life good. It’s that simple.”
“A lot of times when I’m writing songs, I see visions for everything I’m writing. This was one of those.”- Eminem
Eminem wasn’t the only person drawn to the power of Dido’s voice, as her music also struck an immediate emotional chord with The 45 King. Before he crafted “Stan” — one of the biggest records of his career — The 45 King first heard “Thank You” while watching a commercial for the movie Sliding Doors on TV. “I was actually doing bills…sitting on the bed watching it,” he told VH1. “I said wow, that’s kind of hot.”
The 45 King was so drawn to Dido’s singing that he decided to tape “Thank You” off of his TV. “I taped it, I took it downstairs to the basement, I looped it up. Added a bassline and drum tracks,” he said.
For The 45 King, “Stan” couldn’t have come at a better time in his life. After doing a brief jail bid for giving someone weed in a school zone, the veteran producer needed to make some money and was eager for any available opportunity. “When I got out of jail I said, ‘I gotta make some money,’” 45 King told DJ Revolution in an interview. “So I started shopping beats.”
45 King explained that before going to Eminem, the instrumental for “Stan” first went to Foxy Brown’s brother Anton Marchand. The beat then found its way to Eminem through 45 King’s friend Steve Stoute, who Marchand worked for at the time. The 45 King’s music was so intensely powerful that Eminem visualized an entire story before he wrote a single word of it. “A lot of times when I’m writing songs, I see visions for everything I’m writing,” he later explained on the Genius website. “This was one of those.”
“It’s literally one of those songs that took me only a few minutes to write.”- Dido
After seeing Em’s powerful reaction to the song, Stoute contacted 45 King to let him know that the high-profile rapper wanted the track on The Marshall Mathers LP. Knowing this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, 45 King said, “Hey Anton why don’t you let me give you another beat. Let this one go to Em.”
Although the beat touched Eminem’s emotional core, he was concerned that the song’s nearly seven minute run time might lose the majority of his fans. When “Stan” ended up becoming the biggest song on The Marshall Mathers LP, he was surprised by its success. “I didn’t know it was going to be so big,” he said on Genius. “When I was writing it, I just thought, ‘Whoa, people are going to get sick of this because it goes on for so long.’”
But the song worked on a deeper emotional level than much of his earlier work, drawing listeners in with vivid storytelling and serious, reflective lens. In the end, the length of the track was irrelevant. “He stepped outside and he took a look in,” Beats Electronics and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine said of the song on VH1’s Ultimate Albums. “He gave us all a look in to what it feels like to be a to be a fan. What it feels like to be the person being admired. And he did it simultaneously.”
17 years after the release of The Marshall Mathers LP, “Stan” remains one of the most emotionally honest songs from Eminem’s massive catalog. And it all started with a song that took a few minutes to write being sampled off of a TV.
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