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"
"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 Germany, Australia 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 of 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] where the music video was featured. 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.

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Loser" by Beck
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
March 12, 1994 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"God" by Tori Amos
Preceded by
"Loser" by Beck
Norwegian VG-Lista number-one single
24/1994 – 29/1994 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet
Preceded by
"Without You" by Mariah Carey
Swedish number-one single
June 3, 1994 – June 17, 1994 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Baby, I Love Your Way" by Big Mountain
Preceded by
"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" by Prince
Australian (ARIA) number-one single
June 11, 1994 – June 25, 1994 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet
Preceded by
"United" by Prince Ital Joe and Marky Mark
German number-one single
July 15, 1994 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"I Swear" by All-4-One


  1. ^ "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)". Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  3. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Singles". Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  4. ^ KINK Live Performance of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
  5. ^ Does Brad Roberts sometimes change the words to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm? at the Crash Test Dummies FAQ
  6. ^ [ Crash Test Dummies Mmm mmm mmm mmm]
  7. ^ The 20 Most Annoying Songs : Rolling Stone
  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
  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)
  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. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  17. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in French). Les classement single.
  18. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  19. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Crash Test Dummies search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  21. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Top 40 Singles.
  22. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". VG-lista.
  23. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Singles Top 100.
  24. ^ " – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Swiss Singles Chart.
  25. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  26. ^ a b c d Billboard (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  27. ^ 1994 Australian Singles Chart (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  28. ^ 1994 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  29. ^ "Single top 100 over 1994" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  30. ^ 1994 French Singles Chart Archived 2011-08-20 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
  31. ^ 1994 Swiss Singles Chart (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  32. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1994". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Crash Test Dummies; 'Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  34. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  35. ^ "British single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Mmm Mmm Mmm in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  36. ^ "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
  37. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard. BPI Communications. 107 (3): 57. January 21, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]