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Sunday Night Sample - Eminem - Stan

I got the idea to cover this song from a lights out comment from @Sam_Yearsly2 on the blog I did on Eminem's run in with a home invader. 

"Stan"  was the third single, off of 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP. In the song, Eminem tries to deal with his new fame, assuming the persona of a deranged fan who kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend, mirroring "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" from The Slim Shady LP.

The song is written in the first person and tells the story from the perspective of a crazed fan named Stanley Mitchell. He writes Eminem several letters, telling him he is his biggest fan, spread out over the first three verses. As the song goes on he becomes more and more obsessive and angry that Eminem hasn't replied or acknowledged him. 

He eventually records himself drunk-driving, a reference to Eminem's "My Name Is" (I drank a fifth of vodka, dare me to drive?). He brags that he tied up his pregnant girlfriend and locked her in his trunk as he speeds and drives off a bridge into a river. 

The last verse features Eminem responding to Stan and level with him. He suggests Stan get some help and mentions the gruesome story he heard on the news about a guy who drunk drove off a bridge killing himself and his pregnant girlfriend. It then hits him that that guy was actually Stan.

There was actually a fifth verse that Eminem scrapped but referenced in 2011 on his Shade 45 channel on SiriusXM. 

There was a verse where [Stan] got out of the water. He escaped and came to my house to kill me. Then I had to kill him first, [but] I missed him, and he was in the hospital for like three weeks. Then he was pissed off that I didn’t write him get-well cards, so he came to kill me again, and in the last verse finally I just blew his head off.

Eminem did release somewhat of a sequel to the song in 2013 with "Bad Guy".

Stan was produced by Mark James, aka "The 45 King". A legendary producer and favorite of Eminem's. 

The song is so well known that it's title has become a term to describe obsessive fans. It's even been added to the Oxford Dictionary.


The song heavily samples Dido's lyrics from the opening lines from her song "Thank You" under a sample of rain. The track also uses a slightly modified break from "Thank You" as its base sample; both songs were released as singles in late 2000. "Stan" actually debuted prior to "Thank You" which led to massive sales for Dido's record upon release.

There was just as much controversy surrounding the video as there was the song.

The video is a literal interpretation of the story, directed by Dr. Dre and Philip G. Atwell and featuring Devon Sawa as Stan and Dido as his pregnant girlfriend. A prologue involves Stan dying his hair blonde and reacting angrily to being called "Stanley" by his girlfriend. Later, he sits in a basement full of Eminem's posters, writing letters that express his devotion as "your [Eminem's] biggest fan". He is aware of every development in Eminem's personal life.

Stan wants Eminem to contact him through a personal letter or a phone call; but, due to unfortunate circumstances, the letters fail to reach Eminem in a timely manner. Believing he has been ignored, Stan uses a tape recorder to record himself driving along a rain-soaked highway while his girlfriend is locked up in the trunk; which he does with the intention of driving off a bridge. In the process, Stan references both "My Name Is" ("I drank a fifth of vodka, dare me to drive?") and an urban legend about Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight" before explaining that there is no way of transmitting this final tape to Eminem. The car then breaks through the bridge barrier, sealing both occupants' fate.

Stan's mother and his little brother Matthew visit his grave. When Matthew opens his hoodie, he has dyed his hair blonde like Stan. Eminem finally gets around to responding to Stan. He apologizes for being late, thanks him for being a fan, and expresses interest in Stan's personal life. Eminem worries about Stan's mental state and says he does not want Stan to end up like a story he had seen on the news recently—a man who had driven drunk off a bridge with his girlfriend in the trunk, about whom he then realizes, "It was you. Damn." Unbeknownst to Eminem, flashes of lightning shine on his window, revealing the ghost of Stan silently glaring. The video ends with Matthew staring at Stan's grave.

Doesn't sound that bad, except that MTV heavily censored the video's images and lyrics. The video was cut down so much that there was a "short edit" that the station would air instead of the full version. MTV cut out all traces of Stan's girlfriend bound in the trunk of the car and removed one scene showing him guzzling vodka while driving. In the MTV full version, which is 8:15 long, verse 3 censors Stan mentioning his girlfriend in the trunk and about him not slitting her throat, but tied her up.

Dido has stated that she was gagged in the third verse of the video,  but this was censored so widely that versions with her gagged are rare. In the uncensored version, Stan is shown drinking at the wheel of the car before showing Dido struggling in the trunk of the car. She manages to remove the duct tape from her mouth and screams before struggling for breath. Most versions were censored so that there is only a brief clip of Dido in the trunk of the car towards the end of the verse. 

Eminem claimed he wrote the song as a message to the media as much as his fans-

“Basically it’s just about crazy fan mail that I get from people, and it’s about a kid who is really sick, you know what I’m saying? He takes everything I say literally like if I say I wanna slit my wrists then he wants to slit his wrists. He’s crazy for real, like I’m not, and it’s like everything I say he can relate to. So at the end of the song, he ends up committing suicide and driving his girlfriend off a cliff and it’s really crazy. But it’s kind of like a message to the fans to let them know that everything I say is not meant to be taken literally. Just most of the things”.

Eminem performed the song with Elton John at the Grammy's in 2001, quieting critics that claimed he was a homophobe.