This Day In Pop is a reoccurring RX piece, where BreatheHeavy examines a monumental anniversary in pop music. Whether it be a blockbuster release, game-changing performance, live mishap, or something in between, we’re here to dig through the archives and highlight some of the biggest moments in pop music history.
Britney Spears injured her knee while filming the video for “Outrageous” on June 8, 2004.
Some consider it the beginning of the end, but however you decide to interpret it, Britney Spears’ knee injury on-set of her music video for “Outrageous” 15-years ago changed the trajectory of the pop titan’s performance offerings for good. It’s a sore subject for all of the B Army, but an important component in understanding one of the many reasons why she does not perform as she did in the past. For our latest installment of This Day In Pop, BreatheHeavy is revisiting the summer night when the singer took to the streets of Queens, New York to film the clip to the hip-hop-charged track and seemingly put a nail in the coffin to the promotional trail for 2003’s In The Zone.
For a long time in her early career, due to pop music elitists and general naysayers, it was cool to hate on Britney Spears. In The Zone, more specifically “Toxic,” shifted the perspective on the singer and opened her reach to a wider and more grown audience. Nonetheless, her fourth era of pop superstardom hit a roadblock the night she took to the streets to film the video for the R. Kelly-produced track. On the visual front, we had the reliable Dave Meyers, who had previously directed “Lucky” and “Boys (Co-Ed Remix)” as the man in charge.
On the campaign front, the song was set be part of the soundtrack to Halle Berry’s superhero film, Catwoman. For a fourth single, the investment was there. Maybe that’s, in part, because the song was rumored to lead the LP until Britney nabbed Madonna for “Me Against The Music.” Regardless, the promotion, press and release came to a halt at 11:30 PM that Tuesday night when a dizzying spin in her routine made her scream and fall under the L Train line as spectators in a pre-social media world watched from the sidelines. Local indie rock band Mo Matching Drapes took advantage of the shoot by filming an amateur music video of them on set of her set. Little did they know they’d capture one of her biggest career mishaps on camera.
“She obviously took a wrong step and blew out her knee. It was an old dance injury,” a spokeswoman told Reuters at the time. Immediately following the accident, Spears was carried off set and transported to a local hospital, where doctors conducted an MRI scan, found floating cartilage in her knee and performed arthroscopic surgery on the star.
The impact of the injury in Spears’ K-Fed era brought more repercussions than one could have expected at the time. Cue the cancelation of her “Onyx Hotel Tour,” which was scheduled to begin its second North American leg just 14 days later. You try to envision the pop spectacle without choreography. It simply doesn’t work. Earlier in the year, Spears hurt her knee while performing in Illinois, forcing her to cancel some dates, so the validity of the mishap isn’t really up for debate. She was in a thigh brace for six weeks followed by eight to twelve weeks of rehabilitation. Needless to say, it gave her a pass to a much-needed break that she had been yearning at that point in her career.
It’d be the last time that we saw Spears dance to such intricate levels that matched her years of experience. As a consolation prize, we were given a short edit of the music video for “Outrageous” with the release of Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, which arrived later that November. Worth it? Absolutely not. Still, as we all know, the worst had yet to come.