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The Goo Goo Dolls didn't always bask in the pop limelight. Early in their career, Buffalo natives the Goo Goo Dolls were frequently dismissed by critics as mere imitators of the Replacements; however, the band refined and mainstreamed their sound enough to become of the most popular adult alternative rock bands of the latter half of the '90s, selling millions of records to audiences largely unfamiliar with their inspirations. That's no knock on the band either - their music simply improved in craft and accessibility as the years progressed, and radio happened to be receptive to what a decade earlier would have been considered collegiate power pop. Thus, the band landed two huge hits with the acoustic ballads "Name" and "Iris."
The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in Buffalo, NY, in 1985 by guitarist/vocalist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac, and drummer George Tutuska, initially under the name the Sex Maggots (the new name was chosen from an ad in True Detective magazine at the behest of a local club owner). Originally a cover band with a taste for power pop and classic rock & roll, the group soon began writing its own songs. Their early sound recalled the Replacements' origins as a bratty punk band (circa Sorry, Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash) - melodic, snotty, and a little bit thrashy. That sound was the reason the band attracted the interest of the heavy metal label Metal Blade, which issued their debut album in 1987 (known either as The Goo Goo Dolls or First Release). 1989's Jed continued in a similar vein; the college-radio breakthrough came with 1990s Hold Me Up, a Replacements-ish power pop record.
The Goo Goo Doll's 1993's Superstar Car Wash was the band's artistic breakthrough; though it did nothing to quell the Replacements comparisons, it was a finely crafted pop/rock record, and its lead single, "We Are the Normal," was co-written with Replacements' leader Paul Westerberg himself. Still, Superstar Car Wash wasn't the commercial force the band hoped it would be, especially in light of the success of similar bands like the Gin Blossoms. That all changed with 1995's A Boy Named Goo, when an L.A. rock station put the acoustic-driven ballad "Name" into heavy rotation. It was eventually released as a single nationwide, and went Top Five late in the year; platinum sales for the album followed close behind. Unfortunately, drummer Tutuska was no longer around to enjoy the band's success; prior to the album's release, he'd been sacked and replaced by ex-Minor Threat drummer Mike Malinin.
The Goo Goo Dolls were dissatisfied with the royalty rates in their Metal Blade contract, so the band waged a legal battle that wound up allowing them to jump to parent company Warner Brothers. Somewhat drained, Rzeznik and the band shook off a case of writer's block to contribute the ballad "Iris" to the soundtrack of the 1998 Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan romance City of Angels. Appearing that April, the song was a monster smash, although it was never released as a single (so its official Top Ten pop-chart status doesn't convey how popular it was); for a better indicator, "Iris" spent nearly a year on Billboard's airplay charts, including an astonishing 18 weeks at number one, and was nominated for three Grammys. The band's next album, Dizzy Up the Girl, was released in September, during the middle of "Iris"'s marathon airplay run, and sold over three million copies. Its clean, polished sound completed the Goo Goo Dolls' transformation into mainstream pop-rockers who happened to have alternative roots. Further hits from the record followed over the next year, including "Slide," "Dizzy," and the Grammy-nominated "Black Balloon," and the band toured heavily in support.
In 2001, the Goos released their first ever compilation CD, What I Learned About Ego, Art, Opinion and Commerce. Gutterflower (2002) achieved certified gold, producing the hits "Here Is Gone," "Sympathy" and "Big Machine."
2004 saw the release of the Goo's Live in Buffalo: July 4th 2004 which propelled "Give a Little Bit" to #1 on the US Adult Top 40 chart.
In 2006, the Goo Goo Dolls marked their 20th anniversary with their new cd, "Let Love In" which included the studio recording of "Give A Little Bit" as well as other top 10 radio singles, "Better Days" and "Stay With You."
Fan Resource - Absolute Goo
Goo Goo Dolls Song List
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