Alanis Morissette

Today is the 24th birthday of rock sensation Alanis Morissette. Morissette

shot to

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" (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

Chili Peppers.

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" (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

release,

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

Cure),

38; Mike Joyce (the Smiths/Adult Net), 35; and Jason Donovan, 30.