Alanis Morissette, 2022 Inductee speaks onstage during the 2022 Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame Gala at Massey Hall on September 24, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeremy Chan/Getty Images)

Born in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, Alanis Morissette seemed destined for a career in entertainment from a young age. She wrote her first song when she was only ten. While in junior high school, Alanis appeared on the kids’ sketch comedy show You Can’t Do That on Television. But her eventual worldwide fame and success didn’t come overnight.

Alanis Morissette launched her music career in Canada in the early 1990s. Back then, she had a very different sound. After releasing two pop-leaning albums and graduating from high school, Alanis moved from Ottawa to cosmopolitan Toronto and began writing songs with other people. Along the way, she met songwriter and producer Glen Ballard who brought Alanis to Los Angeles where they would record her breakthrough 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill.

Led by the single “You Oughta Know,” the album was praised for its emotion. In the U.S., it debuted at No. 117 on the Billboard 200 and reached the top spot in October 1995, almost four months after it was released. It stayed at number one for a total of twelve weeks. It also topped the charts in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe and, of course, Alanis’ native Canada.

Over the course of her prolific career, Alanis Morissette has released 10 studio albums, three live albums, six compilation albums, two EPs, 46 singles, 12 promotional singles, six video albums, and 41 music videos. She has won seven Grammy Awards, fourteen Juno Awards (Canada), and is in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. She has also kept up her acting, appearing in numerous films, television shows, and plays. Alanis even adapted Jagged Little Pill for the stage in 2018. For this edition of the Throwback Threesome, let’s look at three videos from her 1995 album.

  • You Oughta Know (1995)

    This song of revenge was the springboard Alanis Morissette needed to break through to a wider audience. The lyrics are sung from the perspective of a woman scorned by her ex-boyfriend. According to Songfacts, “You Oughta Know” was rumored to be about actor Dave Coulier (“Full House”), but that has never been confirmed. Dave Navarro (guitar) and Flea (bass) from The Red Hot Chili Peppers played on the track. The video was shot in Death Valley and shows Morissette in the desert landscape with her then band-members, including the late Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) on drums.

  • Hand In My Pocket (1995)

    Topping Canada’s RPM Singles and the U.S. Billboard Alternative Airplay charts, “Hand In My Pocket” was supposed to be the theme song for the ’90s teen drama “Dawson’s Creek.” According to Songfacts, Alanis Morissette decided against that and Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want To Wait” got the nod. The black-and-white video for “Hand In My Pocket” was filmed in Brooklyn, New York and features Alanis singing in a neighborhood parade. And, yes, she really does play the harmonica.

  • Ironic (1996)

    Alanis admits that the lyrics to “Ironic” are not true examples of irony. They’re more about bad luck and sarcasm. Nevertheless, it went on to become her highest-charting single. “Ironic” won Canada’s Juno Award for Single of the Year, and received two Grammy Award nominations in 1997, for Record of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video. The video won MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Editing, and Best New Artist In A Video in 1996. It features not one, but four Alanis Morissettes singing the hit as they travel along on a winter’s day in a 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V.

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