“It was an inside joke kind of song which, ironically, becomes my most popular hit,” Erykah Badu said of “Tyrone.”
“Tyrone” is one of the most beloved and popular songs Erykah Badu has ever wrote. Although the track was re-recorded as an extended studio version — appearing alongside the live version on Badu’s 1997 Live album — it’s the original live version that fans love so much, the recording capturing the groove, humor and audience reaction to the song when Badu performed it.
Well, in a recent appearance on The FADER Uncovered podcast series, Badu explained that the song, which she refers to as her “most popular hit,” was made on the spot during that live performance.
While speaking with host Mark Ronson, Badu recalled how “Tyrone” was initially a groove her band would do during rehearsal, but she would sing different funny things over the groove. But the groove officially became “Tyrone” during a live concert in 1997 that Badu believes happened in D.C.
“I was onstage and my keyboard player, Norman ‘Keys’ Hurt, starts playing the melody from rehearsal, and I was like, ‘OK.’ And call Tyrone was born on that stage,” Badu said.
“And the recording was in the actual live recording that went viral — if there’s such a thing as viral for radio at that time — but it just kind of went viral,” the singer continued. “And I ended up recording a studio version of it, which is no match for the original.”
From there, Badu then clarifies that the song was made on the spot, adding that the background singers also knew their parts because they would sing similar phrases during rehearsal.
“It was an inside joke kind of song which, ironically, becomes my most popular hit,” Badu said.
In related news, Badu will be a headlining performer at this year’s Pitchfork Festival.