MTV Video Music Awards
Rewinding The Charts: In 1995, We Got To 'Know' Alanis Morissette
'You Oughta Know' rose to No. 1 on Alternative Songs … even if she didn't remember recording her U.S. breakthrough
"She played here acoustically and, as were watching, we got the sense that she will be a force to be reckoned with. We all just thought, 'Wow, this is a moment we'll all remember.' "
In the July 15, 1995 Billboard, Brian Phillips, then-PD at WNNX Atlanta, recalled the impact of a 20-year-old Alanis Morissette, who'd played for the station as Maverick/Reprise set up her first U.S. album, Jagged Little Pill. The next issue, blistering lead single "You Oughta Know" rose 2-1 on the Alternative Songs chart dated July 22, 1995, reinforcing his assessment. To date, the album has sold 15 million copies domestically, ranking as the third-best-selling set since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991 (making his take downright Nostradamus-like).
Long before the song's legacy centered on its still-unnamed "Mr. Duplicity" – no, it's not actor/comedian Dave Coulier, who dated Morissette in 1992; he's long laughed off such infamy – those discovering Morissette's music quickly became enamored with her craft. "She's got a great touch with a lyric," Phillips said. "It's very mature – she cuts right to the bone."
The sound of Jagged Little Pill, musically and lyrically, marked a makeover for Morissette, who'd previously starred on Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television and released two dance/pop albums in Canada. "When I was writing it, it was so subconscious," Morissette (who married and became a mother in 2010) told Billboard as "Know" approached No. 1 in 1995. "I wasn't aware of what was coming out of me. I'd go into the booth when the ink wasn't even dry and sing. I'd listen the next day and not really remember it."