Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

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"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
Mmm mmm singlecover.jpg
Single by Crash Test Dummies
from the album God Shuffled His Feet
Released October 1, 1993
Format CD single
Recorded 1993 (Music Head Recording in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin)
Genre Alternative rock,[1] folk rock
Length 3:55
Label BMG/Arista
Songwriter(s) Brad Roberts
Producer(s) Jerry Harrison, Crash Test Dummies
Crash Test Dummies singles chronology
"The First Noel"
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
"Swimming in Your Ocean"
Audio sample
Crash Test Dummies – "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"

“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” is a song by the Canadian folk rock group Crash Test Dummies, It was released on October 1, 1993 as the lead single from their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. It was very successful all around the world, peaking at number one in Australia, Germany, Iceland and on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart. It also became a top five hit in both the UK Singles Chart and the all-genre U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[2][3]


Each verse describes the isolation and suffering of a child, two of whom have a physical abnormality. In the first verse, a boy is injured in a car accident and misses school for an extended period; when he returns to class, his hair has changed color from black to white. In the second verse, a girl refuses to change clothes in the presence of other girls due to the birthmarks that cover her body. The third child is a boy whose parents make him come directly home after school; during services at their church, they "shake and lurch" across the floor. During a 2010 live performance for the Dutch radio station Kink FM, Brad Roberts whispered "Pentecostal" during the third verse, suggesting this is the denomination of the church.[4]

An alternative version sometimes performed at live concerts replaced the third verse with one concerning a boy whose mother disposed of his tonsils after a tonsillectomy, thus depriving him of the possibility of bringing them to show and tell.[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Dale Heslip and premiered in October 1993.[6] It sets the song's lyrics as the script for a series of one-act plays performed by school children. Throughout, the scenes of the performance are intercut with scenes of the Crash Test Dummies performing the song at stage side.

All three one-act plays included nicknames for their lead characters, to provide Heslip with easy references.

  1. The first featured a kid nicknamed "Whitey."
  2. The second pitted "Blotchy" against "Bratty Kids", whom Heslip thought lived up to their nickname. Blotchy's marks are covered with a long cape she wears throughout, whereas the "Bratty Kids" wear deerstalker hats and carry magnifying glasses.
  3. The third had, as its focus, a "Reluctant Boy".

These nicknames were all revealed in an installment of Pop-Up Video.[episode needed] The same installment also revealed that Brad Roberts had decided to hum, rather than actually sing, the refrain of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" because humming the refrain sounded more resigned to him, and that he never wrote lyrics for it.


Although highly successful when it was released, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" has since been frequently included on lists of bad songs. The song was number 15 on VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever, named by Rolling Stone as the "15th Most Annoying Song",[7] and ranked at number 31 both on Blender's list of the "50 Worst Songs Ever."[8] Contrasting, VH1 named "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" as the 31st greatest one-hit wonder of the 1990s in 2011.[9]

In a 1994 essay in which he makes the case that modern life is better than life in the past, humorist P.J. O'Rourke writes, "Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner's Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while 'Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm' by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes."[10]

The track received a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, which it lost to "I Swear" by All-4-One.[11]

Track listings[edit]

CD maxi[edit]

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me" – 3:07
  3. "Superman's Song" (live from the U.S. public radio program Mountain Stage)

7" single[edit]

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me" – 3:07

U.S. single[edit]

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Superman's Song" (album version) – 4:31
  3. "How Does a Duck Know?" – 3:42

Cassette single[edit]

Features cardboard picture liner

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me"

Charts and sales[edit]

Outside their home country of Canada, the single became the band's most successful song, reaching number 4 in the U.S. and number 2 in the UK – the group's biggest hit in both countries. It also reached number 1 on the Modern Rock Chart in the U.S. and in Australia.

In Canada, the song was a comparative flop. While the Crash Test Dummies had 6 singles reach the Canadian top ten, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" was not one of them. In Canada, the single stalled at number 14.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-05-23.  "The band did not receive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Particularly instrumental in increasing the band's exposure in the American market was the appearance of a new type of radio format, adult album-oriented alternative rock (AAA). These stations put the first single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" in high rotation and the song peaked at No. 4 in the US Hot 100."
  2. ^ "Crash Test Dummies - Discography (Awards)". Archived from the original on 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  3. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Singles". Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  4. ^ KINK Radio (4 June 2010). "Crash Test Dummies - "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"". Archived from the original on 29 May 2016 – via YouTube. 
  5. ^ Does Brad Roberts sometimes change the words to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm? at the Crash Test Dummies FAQ Archived 2010-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Crash Test Dummies Mmm mmm mmm mmm Archived 2010-02-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "The 20 Most Annoying Songs : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. 
  8. ^ The 50 Worst Songs Ever! Watch, Listen and Cringe! from (Retrieved May 3, 2008) Archived December 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "VH1's 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '90s -". Archived from the original on 2016-11-15. 
  10. ^ O'Rourke, P.J. (1994), All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death. Sydney (Picador), 3–4
  11. ^ 37th Grammy Awards – 1995 from (Retrieved February 18, 2010) Archived December 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  13. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  14. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2326." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2335." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  17. ^ "Hits of the World: Denmark (IFPI/Nielsen Marketing Research) 07/09/94". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 106 (28): 43. 9 July 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  18. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  19. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  21. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (28.04.1994-04.05.1994)" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 2018-03-13. 
  22. ^ Irish Single Chart Archived 2009-06-03 at WebCite (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 22, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  24. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". VG-lista.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  28. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Singles Top 100.
  29. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Swiss Singles Chart.
  30. ^ UK Singles Chart Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  31. ^ a b c d Billboard (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  32. ^ "The RPM Top 100 A/C Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2018. 
  33. ^ 1994 Australian Singles Chart Archived 2013-03-22 at WebCite (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  34. ^ 1994 Austrian Singles Chart Archived 2010-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  35. ^ "RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2018. 
  36. ^ "RPM Top 100 AC Tracks of 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2018. 
  37. ^ "Single top 100 over 1994" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  38. ^ 1994 French Singles Chart Archived 2011-08-20 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
  39. ^ "End of Year Charts 1994". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on December 4, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017. 
  40. ^ 1994 Swiss Singles Chart Archived 2013-11-05 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  41. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  42. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Crash Test Dummies; 'Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  43. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  44. ^ "British single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm". British Phonographic Industry.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Mmm Mmm Mmm in the search field and then press Enter.
  45. ^ "American single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  46. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard. BPI Communications. 107 (3): 57. January 21, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]