How the Boy Band 98 Degrees Made SF History
On September 15, 1998, the boy band 98 Degrees released their second single from their second album, 98 Degrees and Rising. The song was "Because of You" and it was an instant hit, reaching the number three spot on the Billboard Hot 100. I was a sophomore in high school when the music video debuted, and I'm pretty sure I fangirled upon seeing that they filmed it right here in San Francisco.
Watching the music video now, 24 years later, fills me with nostalgia and I'm still just as blown away by the scenes of them standing on top of a Golden Gate Bridge tower as I was then. I remember my disbelief: "They didn't actually film up there, did they?" Yup, they sure did!
The video director, Wayne Isham, spoke to Architectural Digest about the experience. “It was the first time that they ever let anyone film up there. It was incredible. It was breathtaking. It was also windy as hell and everyone was hanging on," he recalled. Band member Jeff Timmons was said to have been terrified during filming, but, nevertheless, the band has fond memories of the experience and all of the fanfare over "Because of You." In a 2014 interview with Bustle, lead singer Nick Lachey revealed "[My favorite 98 Degrees song] would probably be 'Because of You,' which was really our first big single. I remember the experience and excitement we had over it going Top 10, and the video being shot on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. There are just a lot of great memories about that song, surrounding that song and all the excitement we had with that song kind of blowing up and putting us on the map."
Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, told SFGate in an interview about the music video earlier this year, that filming on the bridge became limited after 9/11 and that the towers have since been off-limits to film crews. That means the men of 98 Degrees were the last people to film on top of a Golden Gate Bridge tower. As previously mentioned, Wayne Isham stated in his interview that they were also the first. But were they?
In the 1985 film "A View to a Kill" (the fourteenth in the James Bond series) there is a prominent scene that takes place on the Golden Gate Bridge that features some of the actors on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. But how much of that scene was actually real? According to a 1984 SF Chronicle article, the Golden Gate bridge directors were hesitant to approve filming for the movie, but ultimately decided to grant permission for the stunt doubles to film a short clip on the bridge cables. Only 5% of the film's Golden Gate Bridge scene was actually filmed on the bridge. The rest was filmed on a set in England. You can view the scene here:
Regardless, the men of 98 Degrees have made history as being among the handful of people to ever film on top of a Golden Gate Bridge tower. And for that, they have major bragging rights. Take that, NSYNC and Backstreet Boys! (Kidding...I love them too!)