The Goo Goo Dolls are one of the most iconic bands of the 90s, breaking out into mainstream success after the 1995 release of “Name”, their breakthrough single at the time.
Everyone knows their biggest hit “Iris”, but did you know that they’d been making music for more than ten years before that song brought them into stardom?
Initially, the members of the Band named themselves the Sex Maggots back when they first formed in 1985.
Trivia aside, we’ll be taking a look at their greatest hits today (not in any particular order) with a bit of commentary on each.
I’ve tried my best to give a good mix of their different songs, from their greatest hits to their hidden gems, so take a trip with me through the nineties and let’s enjoy the songs of The Goo Goo Dolls together.
Iris is easily the band’s most well-known song and is still recognized instantly by many today. Originally, the song wasn’t on any album, but was rather a soundtrack and then a single.
The band’s lead singer originally wrote the song, explaining that he was inspired by the character of the Angel played by Nicholas Cage, completely willing to give up his own immortality to experience something human.
- Iris was originally written for the soundtrack of the 1998 film City of Angels. The band later included the song in their sixth album: Dizzy Up the Girl, but not before releasing the song as a single on April 1, 1998.
- The song Debuted at number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart on April 18, 1998, and eventually spent a record of 18 weeks at number one on the chart.
- Iris became an international hit soon after its release and has become the 19th biggest-selling single of all time.
- The song’s meaning directly correlates to the plot of the movie it was written for: City of Angels, and follows from the perspective of the angel willing to give up his forever to be with a woman he loves.
“Name” was the breakthrough song for the Goo Goo Dolls and is still a real banger.
The song is a recognizable classic with a mid-to-low tempo feel and a memorable melodic hook that repeats throughout the song.
- It was released in September 1995 as the third single from the band’s fifth studio album, A Boy Named Goo, and became the band’s first major hit.
- The Goo Goo Dolls were considered an alternative group before the single’s release. “Name” crossed them over into pop territory, greatly increasing the band’s fan base.
- The song has an unusual guitar tuning: D-A-E-A-E-E with the B string being replaced by a second high E in order to get the song’s sound.
3. Better Days
Another memorable hit, this song breaks from some of the molds of previous songs in this list in that it has an emphasis on a piano line that runs throughout the whole song.
Released in 2005 as the first single off the album, Let Love In, the song peaked at number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and also rose to number 3 on the Billboard Top 40 Tracks chart
- The song was originally performed for a Target store-branded Christmas album.
- The song was used by ABC and CNN as their theme for the Hurricane Katrina coverage.
- The song was featured in a few other television series at the time as well as being used overall as a theme for “tough times.”
4. Black Balloons
Black Balloon was released in June 1999 as the fourth single of the sixth studio album, Dizzy Up the Girl, and reached number 3 in Canada, number 16 in the Us and number 23 in Iceland.
According to John Rzeznik, the song is based on a woman who is struggling with heroin addiction and her lover who is desperately trying to save her.
Noting that the core of the song is about “seeing someone you love who is so great just screw up so bad.”
- Like a lot of other Goo Goo Dolls songs, the band uses alternate tuning for this song too. Tuned to an open D-flat fifth chord
- The music video for the song includes a lot of scenery from a 1950s-era swim club.
Slide is a much more upbeat song compared to the previous four listed.
While I’ve listed it at number 5, it certainly doesn’t make it inferior to previously mentioned songs in my opinion.
A great song, also from the album Dizzy Up the Girl.
According to lead singer John Rzeznik, the song is about a Catholic girl who becomes pregnant and discusses with her boyfriend how they should handle the situation.
- Musically, the song is considered to be Jangle pop and Alternative rock
- Although not as successful as iris, Slide was another major hit for the Goo Goo Dolls. The song peaked atop three US Billboard charts: Adult Top 40, Modern Rock Tracks, and the Mainstream Top 40
- The Recording Industry Association of America awarded the song a platinum certification in June 2022
Another great song to dance around to while you wash dishes.
This is one of the songs I would tend to listen to while spending a day relaxing at home.
The song was released in 2000 as the last single from their sixth studio album Dizzy Up the Girl and while not being as popular as some of the album’s other singles, it still managed to hit number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100 at the time.
- The song refers to the Broadway-Filmore neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, a lower-income neighborhood where lead singer John Rzeznik grew up.
- The lyrics pertain to Rzeznik’s difficult relationship with his alcoholic father, who died when Rzeznik was 15. The singer recounts how he wrote the song reflecting on the tradition he observed growing up, where young men would replace their fathers in the bar once they were of drinking age.
7. Big Machine
First released on their Gutterflower album in 2002, John Rzeznik called this song his “disco song” and described it as a “propulsive tale of unrequited love.”
The song’s drums were on a drum machine called “Disco” and was written about the people in LA and their way of life.
- The song was performed as an opener for the band’s Independence Day concert and was filmed for the Live in Buffalo DVD release in 2004.
- The song reached number 10 on the Billboard US Adult Top 40 but didn’t do as well on other chart lists.
8. What A Scene
This song was one of the singles on the band’s seventh studio album, Gutterflower, and is aimed at the superficiality of fame seekers in Los Angeles.
Lead singer Johnny Rzeznik described feeling a lot of culture shock during the time of writing this song, after moving to LA at the time, mentioning that he got “really tired of all this manufactured nonsense that’s going on.”
- While the Album What a Scene released on didn’t perform as well as Dizzy Up The Girl, it still achieved gold status with 700, 000 copies sold.
9. Here Is Gone
A song about yearning for a deeper relationship with someone you only know casually. While it’s a great hit from the band, the frontman John Rzeznik noted that it’s a bit of a cynical song.
- Here is Gone was released on March 11, 2002,
- It’s the lead single from the band’s seventh album, Gutterflower
- It reached number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart
- The track also reached a level of Gold certification with a total unit sale of around 500, 000 copies
Sympathy is another one of those songs that has that Goo Goo Dolls sound to it.
With a simple acoustic lean, it’s a timeless track with a bit of a melancholic feel to it while also being juxtaposed by the upbeat guitar feel.
- The song was used in a promotional single released from their album Gutterflower
- The song appeared on the soundtrack of the film “A Cinderella story” and in an episode of Charmed
- The song sat at number 10 on the 2003 Billboard US Adult Top 40 chart and 15 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart
11. All Eyes on Me
From the Album Dizzy Up the Girl, released in 1998.
While there’s not much information about this specific track online as far as any critical acclaim, it’s fair to say that it’s a good song worth a listen.
- Released on the album Dizzy Up the Girl, All Eyes On Me sits in amongst some of the biggest songs from The Goo Goo Dolls like Iris and Slide
- The Lyrics tell a bit of a dark story, while the overall melody of the track is very laid back and typical of late nineties rock.
12. Long Way Down
A bit of a harder rock song, Long Way Down was the fifth single from the band’s 1995 breakthrough album, A Boy Named Goo.
The song is often overshadowed by “Name” and while it wasn’t as successful as Name was on the rock and pop charts, Long Way Down reached number 7 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
- The song didn’t make it to Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart
- Long Way Down appeared on the soundtrack of the 1996 film Twister
- The song was also covered by metalcore band Haste The Day as the final track of their album When Everything Falls- I recommend checking it out!
13. Come to Me
From their tenth studio album “Magnetic,” Come to Me premiered on US radio stations on July 23 in 2013 and was officially released that same day.
A gentle love song with a very indie feel compared to their older music.
Most might not know the title, but the song is easily memorable and you’ve likely listened to it before.
- “Come to Me” sat at the top of Billboard charts through 2013 and 2014, coming in at number 15 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles
- The track received a Gold Certification, selling over 500, 000 copies
14. Let Love In
Let Love in is the titular song of the band’s eighth studio album.
Released in 2006, it was the final single off the album and has been used several times in pop culture
- The song’s music video goes hand in hand with the track, showcasing a progression of the participants from misery and sadness to joy and hope.
- The song was used in a controversial 2006 Trojan Condom ad. The ad was soon pulled after a negative reaction, with many stating that the song was too tongue-in-cheek for a condom ad.
- Steve Carell from the Office has listed the song as one of his favorite songs on iTunes.
15. Over and Over
This track is the second single from the Band’s 11th studio album.
The track covers the relationship between the band frontman Johnny Rzeznik and the bassist Robby Takac, who collaborated to write this song.
It’s a far departure from the original sound of the band’s earlier albums, but it’s a catchy tune with a deep message and an awesome chorus.
- The band launched a contest for fans to submit their music videos for the track. The winning entry was an animated video created by Eliezer Castillo, who also won $5000 and a guitar autographed by the band
- The song was remixed by Grammy Award-winning producer RedOne, giving the song a whole new dimension.
- The 11th album that Over and Over was released on is also the first album that the band produced without their original drummer, who got fired in 2013.
10 More Great songs by the Goo Goo Dolls
|Not Broken||Something for the Rest of us|
|Ain’t That Unusual||Ain’t That Unusual|
|Use Me||You Should Be Happy|
|Without You Here||Let Love In|
|Naked||A Boy Named Goo|
|What Do You Need||Gutterflower|
|We’ll Be Here (When You’re Gone)||Let Love In|
|All That You Are||Transformers Dark of the Moon soundtrack|
|When the World Breaks Your Heart||Magnetic|
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.