Twenty years ago — May 12, 2003 — Black Eyed Peas released the song that would prove to be their mainstream breakthrough: “Where Is the Love?”
The first single from their third album, Elephunk, “Where Is the Love?” was the Peas’ first song to feature Fergie as an official member. The hook of the song is sung by Justin Timberlake, who co-wrote the track.
“Where Is the Love?” was inspired by will.i.am‘s anxiety and fear after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it also takes on issues like racism, pollution and war. Its release was delayed as the Peas’ record company and Timberlake’s record company tried to work out a compromise so that Timberlake, who was promoting his debut solo album, Justified, at the time, wouldn’t be overexposed.
Eventually, Timberlake’s record label approved the release of the track, but he’s uncredited on it and doesn’t appear in the video, either.
Neither of those things seemed to hurt the song’s success, though. It was their first single to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become the bestselling single of 2003 in the U.K. It also earned the Peas and Timberlake two Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year.
On Friday, the Peas tweeted, “20 years ago today we released ‘Where Is the Love?’ A song that not only left a special imprint on our career but our lives, and many around us. We want to thank our team, family, friends and peabodies for always believing in us and the power of love to make change. We feel beyond blessed.”
They also tweeted a link to a remastered 4K version of the song’s video.
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