Are you prepared to watch this shocking video by Shania Twain? Beware, she’s frolicking in a field, surrounded by horses and wagon wheels. And even though she’s wearing jeans and a denim jacket, you can see… her BELLY BUTTON!!
Yes, the video for “Any Man of Mine” — and Twain’s entrance into country music — caused some ripples of controversy. Nonetheless, the fans won out and the song became Twain’s first No. 1 country hit this week in 1995.
“I call that my career song,” she told CMT Insider in 2004. “That’s the song I think that really, really broke me in a big way, because it was so different.”
Only the most dedicated country fans knew about Twain’s first album, where she’s wearing a parka on the cover. Then her follow-up had a modest start in America, with “Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” not even cracking the Top 10. Although her corresponding album, The Woman in Me, received an F from Entertainment Weekly and the normally diplomatic Billboard compared her vocal hook to The Three Stooges, the Canadian performer persevered. In retrospect, “Any Man of Mine” changed the game.
CMT columnist Chet Flippo wrote in 2008, “Twain’s allure was greatly enhanced by her videos, which truly were revolutionary for the time for country music. She was hectored at the time of the ’Any Man of Mine’ video, with its belly button barrage, for ruining country music by exposing her navel. But that’s about all she ever really did show, when you look back at her video work. She slyly hinted at the rest. And six months after that video midriff revelation, you couldn’t walk down Music Row without encountering seeming hordes of midriff-baring babes with their navels hanging out.”
As Twain told CMT Insider, “’Any Man of Mine’ was a risky song to release. At the time, a lot of people were afraid of it. It was way too edgy for what was going on. Everybody was kind of leery about releasing it. And I remember when I went on the radio tour to introduce all this new music, it was so amazing getting a reaction to that song. Some people just loved it. They just fell in love with it right away. And other people it really did scare. I don’t know whether they just didn’t like it or whether they thought, ’Whoa!'”
Simply put, Twain’s career exploded in 1995. “Any Man of Mine” received two Grammy nominations, while The Woman in Me took home the Best Country Album trophy. The project also won the ACM Award for album of the year and moved more than 12 million copies. And if you listen to “Any Man of Mine” now, it sounds just like country music! That may be the real shocker.
Twain, of course, stands as one of the most influential entertainers of that era — not just among women and not just in country music. Her groundbreaking videos and impeccable fashion established her brand, yet she is not to be discounted as a songwriter. From “Any Man of Mine” through the hits of Come On Over, you can pretty much mention the title of any of her singles and still be able to sing a few lines.
Asked by CBS Sunday Morning in 2017 if she considered herself out on a limb with “Any Man of Mine,” Twain replied with a laugh, saying, “I was told I was out on a limb! ’Belly button’ and all this stuff.” The reporter noted, “Your midriff was the topic of a lot of conversation,” with Twain stating, “I had no idea it was going to be such a problem!”
Luckily for country fans around the world, her risk was rewarded.