Fifteen years ago, Katy Perry kissed a girl…and launched one of the biggest pop music careers of the 2000s.
Katy’s debut single, “I Kissed A Girl,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 on July 5, 2008, and stayed there for seven weeks. It also had the distinction of being the 1,000th number-one song of what Billboard calls “the rock era,” which began in 1955.
The song was mildly controversial, with some accusing Katy of appropriating the gay lifestyle just for attention and some cheering her for making bisexuality more visible. Katy, a staunch LGBTQ+ ally, has said that countless fans have told her the song made them aware of their own sexuality.
In 2018, Katy told Glamour, “We’ve come a long way. Bisexuality wasn’t as talked about back then, or any type of fluidity. If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it. Lyrically, it has a couple of stereotypes in it.”
As for whether or not Katy actually did kiss a girl, she initially said she hadn’t but then confirmed she had. In 2011, she told Vanity Fair that she hadn’t been honest about it because of “sleazy” male journalists making her uncomfortable with their questions about it.
“I Kissed A Girl” has sold nearly five million copies in the U.S. alone. It earned her a Grammy nomination and was the first of Katy’s nine number-one hits to date. Its parent album, One of the Boys, has gone on to sell seven million copies. It also features the hits “Thinking of You,” “Waking Up in Vegas” and “Hot N Cold.”
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