Today is the 24th birthday of rock sensation Alanis Morissette. Morissette
superstardom in 1995 with the release of the multi-platinum Jagged
Little Pill, one of the biggest-selling albums in history.
Morissette was born in Ottawa in 1974. She began her career on
television at 10, starring in the American cable-TV show "You Can't Do That On
Television." She started recording albums under her first name only and
released Alanis on the Canadian MCA in 1991. It was filled with
simple electronic dance-music along the lines of Paula Abdul's hits. The album
won Morissette a Canadian Juno Award for Most Promising Female Artist.
The next year's Now Is The Time was slightly better. It offered
angrier dance pop with song titles such as "Big Bad Love." After moving
to Los Angeles, Morissette returned her surname to her professional
moniker and teamed with producer/songwriter Glen Ballard, who had worked
with Wilson Phillips and wrote songs for Michael Jackson. Ballard
helped Morissette get a contract with Madonna's Maverick Records. The
two crafted Jagged Little Pill, on which Morissette sang tales
filled with female teen-age venom to pop/rock accompaniments
with a tinge of folk descriptiveness.
The album hit a nerve with youth
around the world who clearly identified with Morissette's angry,
undisciplined delivery and vivid lyrics. In the big hit
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Morissette,_Alanis/You_Oughta_Know.ra m">"You Oughta Know"
m">"You Oughta Know"(RealAudio excerpt), she famously asked, "Are
you thinking of me when you fuck her?"
Although it was edited from the radio version, enough people bought the
album to make Morissette a worldwide sensation. This first single also
featured the funky bass and guitars of Flea and Dave Navarro of the Red Hot
The hits just kept coming for Morissette.
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Morissette,_Alanis/Hand_In_My_Pocket.ra m">"Hand In My Pocket"
m">"Hand In My Pocket"(RealAudio excerpt), in which she explained
her character, was just as popular.
"Ironic" was a #4 smash, despite the fact that the situations that
Morissette sang about in the song were more unfortunate than ironic,
incurring the wrath of wordsmiths worldwide.
In February 1996,
Morissette performed a slow, acoustic version of "You Oughta Know" on
the Grammy Awards telecast, during which "fuck" was edited out via a
seven-second delay. Jagged Little Pill was named Album of the
Year and Best Rock Album that evening, and "You Oughta Know" won Best
Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal.
Despite naysayers who thought that
Morissette was a talentless pawn in a clever marketing scheme, her album
dominated the world. It reached #1 in the U.K. in May 1996. Morissette
has re-teamed with Ballard and they are recording a follow-up to their
enormously successful first effort together.
In the fall of 1997, Morissette sang a few new songs that may be on the new
including "Pray For Peace" and "She Gave Me A Wink," at Neil Young's
Bridge School Benefit concerts. Earlier this year, Morissette's song
"Uninvited," from the hit film "City of Angels," was recorded off of an
L.A. radio station before its official release by a number of Morissette
fan site webmasters. In a matter of days, the song was ubiquitous on the
Internet, satisfying thousands of Morissette fans eagerly awaiting her
next album. The Recording Industry Association of America, though,
quickly ordered the webmasters to remove the song.
Other birthdays: Pat Boone, 64; Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), 51; Graham
Russell (Air Supply), 48; Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode), 39; Simon Gallup (the
38; Mike Joyce (the Smiths/Adult Net), 35; and Jason Donovan, 30.