Feliz Cumpleaños: Shakira’s ‘Laundry Service’ turns 20 this weekend

Epic Records

Twenty years ago Saturday – November 13, 2021 – Shakira released her first English-language album, Laundry Service, which made her a global superstar.  In honor of the anniversary, an expanded digital edition of the limited-edition version of the album, Laundry Service (Washed and Dried), is out now, with four bonus tracks.

Here are some things you may not know about this multi-platinum record:

–It was Gloria Estefan who persuaded Shakira to record in English, and who convinced Shakira’s record company to release the album.  “They were trying to think in the box and I wanted to take her out of the box,” Gloria said at the time.

–To be able to write the album’s songs in English, Shakira took lessons from a private tutor, bought rhyming dictionaries and analyzed the work of Walt Whitman, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

–Shakira named the album Laundry Service because she said her two great passions, love and music, are like “soap and water.”  “It was a deep cleansing, almost like being reborn,” she said of making the album.

–Laundry Service went on to sell 13 million copies, and included the hits “Whenever, Wherever” and “Underneath Your Clothes.”  Peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, “Whenever, Wherever” was Shakira’s most successful single to date, until “Hips Don’t Lie” hit number one five years later.

–The memorable video for “Whenever, Wherever” showed off Shakira’s now-famous belly dancing skills. The song includes one of Shakira’s most famous lyrics, which has been both praised and criticized: “Lucky that my breasts are small and humble/so you don’t confuse them with mountains.”

–After Shakira sang “Whenever, Wherever” at the 2020 Super Bowl, sales of the song increased by 1,264%.  The new digital version of the album includes a remix of the Super Bowl performance of “Whenever, Wherever.”

–Laundry Service was banned in Argentina as a protest against then-president Fernando de la Rúa, who was blamed for the Argentine Great Depression. That’s because Shakira’s then-boyfriend — de la Rúa’s son, Antonio — appeared in the video for “Underneath Your Clothes.”

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