Study Guide

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) Introduction

In a Nutshell

What makes a woman fierce and independent? Her lack of a boyfriend? Her stiletto heels and all-girl posse? Her ability to make her ex jealous? 

Few big stars play up the image of the independent woman as much as Beyoncé Knowles does. Her hugest hit to date has been called "an anthem for women" and compared to Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit "Respect" and Gloria Gaynor's 1978 "I Will Survive." 

But does "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" have a deep point to make about female independence? In other words, is "Single Ladies" more than just a catchy dance song? Well…we're not actually sure.

About the Song

ArtistBeyoncé
Year2008
LabelSony BMG
Writer(s)Christopher Stewart, Terius Nash, Thaddis Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles
Producer(s)C. "Tricky" Stewart and Terius "TheDream" Nash, Beyoncé Knowles
Musician(s)Beyoncé Knowles (vocals)
Learn to play
AlbumI Am…Sasha Fierce

Music Video

Influences on Beyoncé

Destiny's Child
Lauryn Hill
Anita Baker
Diana Ross
Rachelle Ferrell
The Jackson 5
Aretha Franklin
Whitney Houston
Janet Jackson
Mariah Carey

Influenced by Beyoncé

Rihanna
Jordin Sparks
Katharine McPhee
Miley Cyrus

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) Resources

Books

Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography of Destiny's Child, by Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams
Even though Destiny's Child is now officially disbanded, the three women are still friends, and get together at least once a year. This is their 2002 exposé of how they became one of the most popular all-girl groups in history.

Beyoncé Knowles: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies), by Janice Arenofsky
This is a 2009 take on the life of Beyoncé so far. Given that Beyoncé is still a super-young star by many standards, we're guessing that later biographies will improve over this one.

Bad Girls: Cultural Politics and Media Representations of Transgressive Women, by A. Susan Owen, Leah R. Vande Berg, Sarah R. Stein
This book is mostly focused on pop cultural representations from the 90s, but it is an interesting exploration of the development of feminism through the lens of pop culture.

Albums

Dangerously In Love (2003)
Beyoncé's first solo album, released after almost a decade of work with Destiny's Child when she was still only 22, was (not surprisingly) immediately a huge hit.

B'Day (2006)
Beyoncé has never done anything that could be described as a "flop," but her second solo album didn't exactly take off the way she probably hoped. Jay-Z's un-interesting rap on this album takes a little bit away from the Queen B, but it's still fun to hear them together.

I Am…Sasha Fierce (Deluxe Edition) (2008)
This version of the album includes a couple of extra tracks since the original release.

Destiny's Child, Survivor (2001)
The last really good album put out by Beyoncé's original trio.

Images

Album cover from I Am...Sasha Fierce
Beyoncé holds her hair back with her hands a lot in these photos.

I Am...Sasha Fierce album photos
More than the music, the photos play up the good girl/bad girl contrast on the album.

Sasha Fierce photos
These photos are not hard to come by wherever you go…nor are parodies, photoshoppings and devilish remakes. But we'll leave it to you to dig for those.

B with Jay-Z
Hip-hop's first couple, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.

Does she really have a Roman numeral "IV" tattoo?
Looks like a "yes" to us...

Websites

The Official Beyoncé Website
Listen to her best music for free, and get fan updates and concert information.

Beyoncé photographic biography for People
A brief, photographic tour of Beyoncé's professional life and development.

"Beyoncé and Taylor Swift: Sisterhood is powerful, especially when male-directed"
The LA Times explores the connection between Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, forever linked by Kanye West's award-show tirade.

"When it's good girls vs. bad girls on the charts, who wins?"
This is a light discussion of the good-girl/bad-girl divide as it pertains to the latest in pop music.

Video & Audio

"Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" Official Video
The official, super-acclaimed music video. Is it worth all the hype? You decide.

Justin Timberlake does "Single Ladies" on SNL
Beyoncé with leotard-clad Justin Timberlake, famously parodying the "Single Ladies" video on Saturday Night Live. Although JT surely could do the dance moves, he refrains from really going there for the sake of the joke.

The Beyoncé baby-dancer who made it big
View a now-famous 13-month-old dancing to Single Ladies—and then join the blogosphere debate about whether the Single Ladies dance (and some of the associated outfits) are appropriate for children.

Live Performance in Rockefeller Plaza
The sound isn't great on this live performance of "Single Ladies", but the video gives us a great view of Beyoncé's all-girl band rocking out to the song.

Flash Mob does "Single Ladies"
A 100-person "Single Ladies" flash dance in the middle of Picadilly Circus appears spontaneous—turns out, it's a clever form of advertising for a big gum company.

Guitar-playing boy covers "Single Ladies"
An acoustic cover of "Single Ladies" puts a totally different twist on the music, and the message.

Beyoncé talks Sasha Fierce
Short interview with Beyoncé that touches on Sasha Fierce, her shyness as a kid, and her famous quietness about her relationship with Jay-Z.

"Why Don't You Love Me?" Video
The latest video from Beyoncé, co-directed by the singer herself, is full of 1960s throwbacks and clever film references—but can anyone figure out what they are?