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Story of Song

‘California Gurls’ is a fun beach song. Perry was inspired to write this song while watching her friends go crazy at a party when Jay-Z’s New York tribute ‘Empire State of Mind’ was playing. Perry said: “Everybody was holding their drinks in the air and dancing, and I thought, ‘We’re not in New York, we’re in Los Angeles! What about California? What about all the homies, the gin and juice, the swaying palm trees, the sun kissed skin 24-7?’ I decided that we needed to make a response. I want people to want to book a ticket to California the first time they hear it.” In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Perry added: “It’s been a minute since we had a California song and especially from a girl’s perspective. We took the references of Prince, which is always a great reference, and some of the ’90s, almost house music references.” The song was initially titled ‘California Girls,’ with correct spelling. It was later changed to ‘California Gurls’ after the passing of Big Star member Alex Chilton as a nod to that band’s song. Perry explained: “My manager, Bradford, he’s from Mississippi, and he’s a huge Big Star fan. And with the death of one of their members, I had just written that song, and he’s like, ‘Katy, just for me, will you please title it ‘California Gurls,’ with a ‘u’? People won’t even know!’ I don’t know the whole catalog of Big Star, but I did it because Bradford is one of my best friends, and I thought it was cool, and you know, the kids like those variations.”

Release date

Released May 7, 2010


Katy Perry – Lukasz Gottwald – Max Martin – Benjamin Levin – Bonnie Mckee – Calvin Broadus



Chart Rankings

In the US, ‘California Gurls’ was Perry’s highest chart debut and her second number 1 song; it was Snoop Dogg’s third number 1 song. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100, the US Adult Top 40, US Dance Club Songs, and the Mainstream Top 40. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it 7 times Platinum for sales over 5.7 million copies. In the UK, the song topped the Official Charts Company and sold over 780.000 copies. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified it Platinum.  The song also topped the charts in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland and Scotland. It reached the top 10 charts in several countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland. In Australia it was certified 6 times Platinum, and reached Quadruple Platinum status in Canada. It was certified Platinum in Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. The song was certified Gold in Belgium, Denmark, Japan, and Mexico.


Artist’s age on release date

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, aka Katy Perry, was 26 years old. Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr., aka Snoop Dogg, was 39 years old when this song was released.

Cover Versions

The Baseballs – The Hub – Cebu Pacific (pre-flight safety demonstration) – Tyler Ward and Crew – James Blunt – Ebony Day (acoustic) – Fede (drum cover) – Eskimo Callboy – Blyss – gootmusic – Jonathan Young (Punk Goes Pop compilation)– Teamwork – 5th Flo – Other amateur artists have covered this song on Youtube.

Added by Slate

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