Goo Goo Dolls
|Origin||Buffalo, New York, U.S.|
After starting off as a cover band and then developing a punk sound, The Goo Goo Dolls experienced mainstream success following the 1995 release of their breakthrough single, "Name". The band is renowned for its biggest hit, "Iris", released in 1998. The song spent nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard charts and held the number one position on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for 18 weeks. In October 2012, "Iris" was ranked #1 on Billboard's "Top 100 Pop Songs 1992–2012" chart. Other notable singles include "Slide", "Black Balloon", and "Broadway" from 1998's Dizzy Up the Girl; "Here Is Gone" from 2002's Gutterflower; and "Better Days", "Give a Little Bit", and "Stay with You" from 2006's Let Love In.
Origins and early music (1986–1993)
The band's original lineup included John Rzeznik (guitar, vocals), Robby Takac (bass, vocals), and George Tutuska (drums, percussion). Takac and Tutuska had been long-time friends in school and met Rzeznik while he was playing in the band The Beaumonts with Takac's cousin, Paul Takac, and close friend Michael Harvey who was the inspiration for the band. In 1999 Rolling Stone reported the trio picked their name from a True Detective ad for a toy called a Goo Goo Doll. In 2022 Rzeznik said he didn't remember how they picked the name. "We had a gig and so we had to come up with some kind of a name just to play the show," Rzeznik said. "It's kind of a stupid name."
The band started out playing covers, but went on to develop a punk sound. With Takac as their lead singer, the band released their first album, Goo Goo Dolls, in 1987 on Mercenary Records, but was picked up in 1988 by Celluloid Records, a larger record company. They played around Buffalo's underground music circuit and across the country opening for punk bands such as Gang Green, SNFU, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, Motörhead, ALL, The Dead Milkmen, Doughboys, Big Drill Car, The Gun Club, Uniform Choice, The Dickies, and DRI and playing with fellow Buffalo bands. The band released its second album, Jed, in 1989.
The band released its third album, Hold Me Up, in 1990 and featured Rzeznik as the lead vocalist on five tracks, including the single "There You Are"—as well as their then-concert favorite, "Two Days in February". After being embraced by local college radio and punk scenes (including such venues as CBGB), the Goo Goo Dolls incorporated elements of heavy metal, pop rock, and punk rock into the album. In 1991, the song "I'm Awake Now" was recorded for the soundtrack of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Superstar Car Wash, released in 1993, received significant media attention. The critical success and encouraging sales of their last album resulted in a larger budget from Metal Blade Records. The album was partially recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario. The single "We Are the Normal" received a major push toward play on college and independent radio, and its video was displayed on MTV's 120 Minutes program. "Fallin' Down" made it onto the 1993 soundtrack of Pauly Shore's hit film Son in Law.
Mainstream success (1993–2010)
A Boy Named Goo, legal issues, and Tutuska's departure (1993–1997)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2020)
Just before A Boy Named Goo's release, Tutuska was fired from the band and replaced by Mike Malinin. Prior to Tutuska's departure, there was a payment dispute between him and Rzeznik over Tutuska's contribution to the writing of the Superstar Car Wash single "Fallin' Down". During the completion of A Boy Named Goo, Tutuska had told band management that he would not tour behind the album unless royalties were to be split evenly among the three members, a practice Tutuska said had been the band's standard practice ever since the release of its self-titled debut in 1987. Tutuska has said that when he told Rzeznik he had not received royalties from "Fallin' Down", Rzeznik admitted that he had been receiving such royalties for two years.
A Boy Named Goo, released in 1995, had a catchy rock sound, and became one of the most successful alternative rock albums of the mid-1990s. A Boy Named Goo became the first album in Metal Blade history to achieve double-platinum status. This success, however, proved bittersweet, as the band found themselves in a legal battle with Metal Blade records. The band filed suit against Metal Blade, claiming they had not earned any royalties from their album's sales, which was attributed to a "grossly unfair, one-sided and unenforceable contract" which had been signed by the band in 1987. The two sides reached a settlement which had the band signed to the Metal Blade's distributing label, Warner Bros. Records, under which the band released their sixth album, Dizzy Up the Girl, in 1998.
The Goo Goo Dolls experienced mainstream success following the 1995 release of their breakthrough single, "Name". The success of "Name" marked a fundamental change in the band's sound from alternative rock to a more mainstream, adult-oriented direction; this disappointed many of the original fans of the band. "Name" made the band popular, and led to guest appearances on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed.
Dizzy Up the Girl and Gutterflower (1997–2005)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2020)
Rzeznik was approached to write a song for the City of Angels soundtrack, and the end product was "Iris". This song continued the band's fame, as it stayed on top of Billboard Hot 100 Airplay charts for a record-breaking 18 weeks and spent 4 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Pop Songs chart. Iris held the record for the most weeks on the radio for almost 22 years before The Weeknd released "Blinding Lights" and broke the long-standing record on August 22, 2020. Shortly after Iris was released in 1998, it was nominated for three Grammys. According to several interviews with Rzeznik, he was experiencing serious bouts of writer's block when he was approached, and was on the verge of quitting the band days before he wrote the song.
"Iris" was included on the quintuple-platinum Dizzy Up the Girl, considered their most successful album, and was among top-ten hits "Slide", "Black Balloon", "Broadway", and "Dizzy" from the same album. In 2001, the Goos released their first ever compilation CD, What I Learned About Ego, Opinion, Art & Commerce. Next, Gutterflower (2002) achieved gold certification, producing the hits "Here Is Gone", "Sympathy", and "Big Machine". On July 4, 2004, the band performed a free concert in Buffalo, playing through a deluge of rain that can be seen on the DVD released later that year. The DVD also contained a studio version of the Goo Goo Dolls' cover of "Give a Little Bit" by Supertramp. The single reached the top of the Adult Top 40 chart in 2005. July 4, 2004, has been proclaimed "Goo Goo Dolls Day" in their native Buffalo, New York.
Let Love In (2005–2007)
In 2006, the Goo Goo Dolls marked their 20th anniversary with their new album Let Love In, which included the studio recording of "Give a Little Bit" as well as other top 10 radio singles "Better Days", "Stay with You", and "Let Love In". With their third consecutive single ("Let Love In") from the album, the Goo Goo Dolls hit a record 12 top 10 hits in Adult Top 40 history; upon the release of "Before It's Too Late", that total increased to 13. Goo Goo Dolls performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 8, 2007, and at The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on June 22, 2007.
On June 27, 2007, the Goo Goo Dolls performed to a sold-out crowd at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. The entire concert was released as a DVD on the limited edition version of their 2008 release, Vol.2. Though the album has not (as of 2007) been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), various music sites have asserted that it has gone gold.
Greatest hits albums (2007–2008)
On November 13, 2007, the Goo Goo Dolls released a greatest hits album entitled Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles, which includes a new version of "Name" recorded and mixed by Paul David Hager, and a remix of "Feel the Silence" by Michael Brauer.
The band performed "Better Days" and "Stay With You" at the halftime of the Detroit Lions' 2007 Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field, which focused on the United Way and the NFL's commitment to youth health and fitness.
Something for the Rest of Us (2008–2010)
The Goo Goo Dolls announced recording sessions for a new album, on their official website, unrelated to their Volume Two in 2008. In addition, the band performed as part of the O2 Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park in the summer of 2008.
Something for the Rest of Us was released on August 31, 2010.[better source needed] While the album was full of the pop-rock that has sustained the band for decades, lead singer/guitarist Rzeznik's songwriting took on a more somber, serious tone. Something for the Rest of Us included the single "Home", which extended the band's record to 14 top ten hits at the Hot AC radio format (more than any other artist in the history of that format).
Later career (2010–present)
Magnetic and Malinin's departure (2010–2015)
In December 2013, Malinin announced his departure from the band. In November 2014, Malinin sued the band for wrongful termination, claiming that he was fired after requesting paternity leave.
Boxes, 20th anniversary of A Boy Named Goo and touring (2015–2017)
The band spent the majority of 2015 in the studio writing and recording their eleventh studio album, Boxes, at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington. The album was released on May 6, 2016.
You Should Be Happy, Miracle Pill, and Christmas album (2017–2021)
On May 12, 2017, Goo Goo Dolls released a five-song EP entitled You Should Be Happy. In support of the EP, the band toured throughout the summer of 2017 on the "Long Way Home" tour with Phillip Phillips. With 2018 marking the 20th anniversary of Dizzy Up the Girl, the band embarked on a commemorative tour where they performed the album in its entirety. Also in 2018, the band released two live albums: The Audience is This Way in June, and The Audience is That Way in November.
At the beginning of 2019, the Goo Goo Dolls announced that they were working on a twelfth studio album. On record store day (April 13, 2019), a vinyl box limited to 1000 copies under the name Topography was released.
On August 24, 2020, the band announced its first Christmas album: It's Christmas All Over, which was released on October 30. Later that year, Rzeznik sat down with Atwood Magazine to discuss the band's 35th anniversary.
In May 2021, the band announced that Rarities, a double compilation featuring rare and unheard songs spanning from 1995 to 2007, would be released on June 25, 2021.
Chaos in Bloom (2022–present)
In a June 2021 interview published on YouTube, singer John Rzeznik revealed that the band was working on their 14th studio album, which would be released sometime in 2022. When asked about how the album differs from the band's previous work, Rzeznik claimed that the band had decided to approach both writing and recording in an alternative way. Specifically, the band used earlier forms of production which they utilized prior to the digital era in the music industry.
In a November 2021 Spin interview, Rzeznik stated that he produced most of the album himself. He added that the album would sound more experimental than the band's past releases, hinting that he did not believe it would receive much radio airplay. It was later confirmed that the album was entirely produced by Rzeznik.
On June 27, 2022, the band officially announced on their Facebook page the title of their new album, Chaos in Bloom, as well as the first single off it, "Yeah, I Like You". The latter premiered on July 1, 2022.
In February 2023, Goo Goo Dolls announced their North America tour.
- Studio albums
- Goo Goo Dolls (1987)
- Jed (1989)
- Hold Me Up (1990)
- Superstar Car Wash (1993)
- A Boy Named Goo (1995)
- Dizzy Up the Girl (1998)
- Gutterflower (2002)
- Let Love In (2006)
- Something for the Rest of Us (2010)
- Magnetic (2013)
- Boxes (2016)
- Miracle Pill (2019)
- It's Christmas All Over (2020)
- Chaos in Bloom (2022)
Accolades, awards, and nominations
"Iris", the band's 1998 hit single, enjoyed critical acclaim. At the 41st Grammy Awards, "Iris" received nominations for "Record of the Year" and "Pop Performance by a Duo or Group." The song also garnered John Rzeznik a "Song of the Year" nomination. The song was ranked at number 39 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest pop songs.
In October 2012, "Iris" was ranked number one on Billboard's "Top 100 Pop Songs 1992–2012" chart, which ranked the top songs of the first 20 years of the Mainstream Top 40/Pop Songs chart. The list also featured the Goo Goo Dolls' hits "Slide", ranking at number nine, and "Name" at number 24. The Goo Goo Dolls are the only musicians to have three songs on the list, two breaking the top 10 and all three falling within the top 25. They are also the only musicians that have back to back singles (Iris, 1998 and Slide, 1999) featured on the list.
Billboard Music Awards
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1995||"Name"||Top Modern Rock Track||Nominated|
|1998||"Iris"||Top Hot 100 Airplay Track||Nominated|
|Top Adult Top 40 Track||Nominated|
|Themselves||Top Adult Top 40 Artist||Nominated|
|Top Hot Top 40 Artist||Won|
|Top Hot 100 Singles Artist||Nominated|
|Top Hot 100 Singles Artist – Duo/Group||Nominated|
|"Slide"||Top Hot 100 Airplay Track||Nominated|
|Top Hot Top 40 Track||Won|
|Top Adult Top 40 Track||Won|
|1998||Grammy Awards||"Iris"||Song of the Year (John Rzeznik)||Nominated|
|Record of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Video from a Film||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Video Awards||Pop Clip of the Year||Nominated|
|1999||MTV Movie Awards||Best Song from a Movie||Nominated|
|Radio Music Awards||Song of the Year – Adult Hit Radio||Won|
|Online Music Awards||Themselves||Favorite Rock Group||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Music Group||Nominated|
|2000||Choice Music: Rock Group||Nominated|
|Radio Music Awards||Artist of the Year – Alternative/Pop Radio||Won|
|ASCAP Pop Awards||"Slide"||Song of the Year||Won|
|Grammy Awards||"Black Balloon"||Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|2001||ASCAP Pop Awards||Most Performed Songs||Won|
|2003||"Here Is Gone"||Won|
|2005||Radio Music Awards||Themselves||Artist of the Year – Adult Hit Radio||Won|
|"Give a Little Bit"||Song of the Year – Adult Hit Radio||Nominated|
|2007||ASCAP Pop Awards||"Better Days"||Most Performed Song||Won|
|2008||The Average Lives of Students Music Awards||Themselves||Excellence Award||Won|
|Songwriters Hall of Fame||John Rzeznik||Hal David Starlight Award||Won|
|2013||Guitar Center RockWalk Hall of Fame||Themselves||RockWalk Hall of Fame||Won|
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- After signing with Metal Blade Records in 1987, the band's self-titled debut album Goo Goo Dolls was re-released under the revised title of First Release by their new record label. The albums Goo Goo Dolls and First Release are both identical, except for different cover artwork.
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