GG‘s Number Ones column reviews every Billboard Hot 100 #1 single of the last 10 years.
Pink suffered a troubled childhood. Her father was a Vietnam War Veteran who taught her how to fight, use guns, knives and break wrists. After suffering through her parent’s divorce, she began smoking cigarettes when she was nine. At 12, she got her first tattoo. All this, of course, was just the beginning.
A Troubled Teen
Not long after Pink, born Alecia Beth Moore, was kicked out of home for abusing drugs and alcohol and getting arrested multiple times. “The problem was, I was labelled as trouble,” she later shared with Faze magazine, “so I was like, ‘Trouble? I’ll show you trouble. You want trouble, well here it is!’”
Pink found relief in music. At 13 she began singing at Philadelphia clubs. Moore also began writing songs as a way of expressing her emotions. Her mother described her lyrics as “dark and worrisome”.
How Pink Made Her Name
By the time Pink was 16 she knew she wanted to pursue a career in music. She joined a number of R&B groups until all-woman three piece Choice provided a gateway to fame. the group signed to LaFace Records, a label by successful R&B producer L.A. Reid. Shortly after Choice broke apart but Reid had taken a shining to Moore. He was convinced she could make it as a solo artist.
Whether it was her hair, the character Mr Pink from Quintin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, or how her cheeks flushed rosy when teased, Pink became Moore’s stage name. In 2000 her debut single ‘There You Go’ hit number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting her up for a future in the spotlight.
Raise Your Glass for the Freaks
Fast forward 10 years. It’s now 2010 and Pink’s ‘Lady Marmalade’ as well as ‘So What’ had topped the US charts. She has won two Grammys for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. As an international touring act, her 2009 Funhouse Tour had grossed $150 million and been attended by 1.5 million fans.
In October 2010, she released ‘Raise Your Glass’ a new song from her first compilation album Greatest Hits… So Far!!! The single was produced and co-written by Max Martin. With Martin’s hit-making credentials and Pink’s colossal fame, it was a surefire hit. Leaping up the charts it became her 10th Top 10 hit and her third Number One single. The song’s lyrics was a celebration for the misfits. It was also tribute to Pink’s fans. She expressed her gratitude for the millions of fans who had supported her for more than a decade.
“[Lyric] Dirty little freaks is about celebrating the fact that I might not be skinny, beautiful, perfect, thin or fat, or whether my skin’s too dark or not dark enough,” Moore later shared, “whatever the case may be, there’s nothing cooler than a pair of f*cked up teeth or freckles… I like all the dirty little stuff”.
The ‘Raise Your Glass’ Music Video
The single’s music video added an extra layer of meaning to the song by celebrating gay marriage. It features Pink sumo wrestling, feeding a calf human breast milk, and getting into bed with multiple religious leaders. Part of these visuals were inspired by a real-life experience.
“I threw my best friend’s wedding in my backyard,” Pink fondly recalled in a later interview with UK radio station In Demand. “She is gay and she married her wife, and it was absolutely beautiful. At the end of it, her mum said, ‘Why can’t this be legal?’ and started crying. It was just the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen, so that’s why I’m doing it in my video.”
Pain, Joy and Carey Heart
At the time she released ‘Raise Your Glass’ Pink also had another cause to celebrate. Behind the scenes, Pink’s personal life had been changing. Shortly after the single was released her husband, motocross star Carey Hart, announced they were having their first child.
In 2005 she went against traditional gender values by proposing to motocross star Carey Hart in 2005. The couple had split only two years after exchanging vowels. The breakup was documented on her fifth and most vulnerable album Funhouse. The album revealed themes of loss and heartbreak, but also pure fury. Her first single from the album, ‘So What‘ opened with the line “I guess I just lost my husband; I don’t know where he went”.
Pink and Hart Reunite
Two years later, in February 2010, Pink announced in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she and Hart were back together. She said the separation was a blessing in disguise, teaching her valuable lessons on how to better her marriage. In 2011 she gave birth to their first daughter Willow Sage. They have since had another child, Jameson Moon.
‘Raise Your Glass’ did not ring in a fairytale ending. In June 2020, Pink revealed in an interview with Today that the couple still have their issues, “Carey and I have been in couples counselling almost our entire 17 years that we’ve been together,” she stated, “it’s the only reason we’re still together.”
Behind the Tough-Girl Persona
Pink didn’t like to beat around the bush. She broke societal norms, adapting a tom-boy persona, showing the world that women could be strong and outspoken. Although, behind the fierce attitude and confidence, Pink had her fair share of battles with her mental health.
“I’ve been depressed,” she has gone on record to reveal. “I have anxiety. I overthink everything, but what I do is I keep the right people around me, and I go to therapy.”
Behind her rebellious persona, she is also known for being an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ and her passion for animals’ rights campaigns. She has also supported organisations such as Human Rights Campaign, UNICEF and Save our Children. She received the People’s Choice award in 2019, where she quoted “Kindness today is an act of rebellion.”
P!nk in 2020
Pink continues to put her money where her mouth is. A few months after donating half a million dollars to the bushfires in Australia, she generously donated $1 million to the coronavirus front-line workers, after herself and her three-year-old son Jameson, were diagnosed with the virus.
Pink will always be a generational hero, raising her children in a world of acceptance and standing up for yourself. “When people make fun of me,” she once shared while accompanied by daughter Willow on-stage at MTV’s Music Video Awards, “they say I look like a boy, or that I’m too masculine, or I have too many opinions, or my body is too strong, and I said to Willow, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me changing my body? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world? ‘No, Mama.’ Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world? ‘Yes, Mama,’”.
“So, baby girl, we don’t change,” she concluded, “We take the gravel and the shell, and we make a pearl… we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty.”
‘Raise Your Glass’ Chart Positions
US/Billboard 100: #1 (30 weeks on chart)
Australia/ARIA: #1 (24 weeks on chart)
UK/Official Charts: #13 (30 weeks on chart)
Pink 'Raise Your Glass'6
Advocated same sex marriage
Struggled with alcoholism
A little dated
No fairytale ending