Eminem - "Stan"

[Lifted from the April 2005 issue of Q Magazine]

Eminem : "I attract some fucking weirdos. I've had people trying to kiss my hand, dudes crying and shit". It was precisely these sort of experiences that would provide the inspiration for the most pivotal song of Eminem's career : the tale of a stalker who bombards his idol with a series of increasingly twisted letters before killing himself and his girlfriend.

In 1998, Brooklyn hip hop producer Mark James saw a trailer for a romantic comedy called "Sliding Doors", featuring a snippet of a lifting love song called "Thank you", by then unknown British singer Dido. James : "They only played the first verse, but it made an impression". James built a framework of beats around a sample of the song's opening lines and sent it to Eminem's manager. Eminem : "I got a tape with the music for what would become "Stan" on it. I heard it and I said I need this". Rather than a love song, though, Eminem interpreted "Thank you" in a completely different light. Eminem : "When I heard the words, I was like 'This is an obsessed fan'. Dido's lyrics instantly put me there. It was one of the few songs where I mapped everything out. I knew it what it was all about from the stars".

Work began on Eminem's second album, "The Marshall Mathers LP", in 1999. The pressure was on to deliver a big-hitting follow-up to his 4 million debut album, "The Slim Shady LP". The mood was focused, only the rapper, the manager Paul Rosenberg and a few studio hands were present. "Stan" was one of the first songs Eminem recorded. Mike Elizondo (bass) : We recorded "Stan" in one afternoon. It wasn't until he [Eminem] played it back that I realized what he'd created. I can't think of anyone else who could do that and it not be corny".

Back in London, Dido was unaware the part her original song, "Thank you", was playing in hip hop history. Dido : "I got a letter out of the blue. It said 'We like your album and we've used this track. Hope you don't mind and hope you like it'". Dido was obviously the biggest beneficiary of "Stan"'s success : her appearance on the song gave her debut album, "No Angel", a new lease of life and went on to sell over 8 million copies.

Available on the album "The Marshall Mathers LP"