Saturday, August 6, 1994

Lisa Loeb “Stay (I Missed You)” hit #1

Stay (I Missed You)

Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories

Writer(s): Lisa Loeb (see lyrics here)

Released: May 17, 1994

First Charted: April 22, 1994

Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 14 RR, 5 AC, 7 MR, 6 UK, 12 CN, 6 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 33.8 video, 111.0 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Chuck Kolsterman asserts in his book The Nineties that the 1994 movie Reality Bites is “an avatar for a certain Gen-X mindset that flourished during a very specific moment in time.” SG Winona Ryder’s character is torn between Ben Stiller’s kind and loving, but commercially-motivated guy, and Ethan Hawke, “a sullen but poetic loser.” SG She chooses the latter, which suggests that “an authentic jerk was preferable to a likable sellout.” SG

The soundtrack was comprised of “’80s pop nuggets and mid-‘90s alt-rock jams.” SG Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You),” from the movie, became history’s first chart-topping song by an unsigned artist months after the movie was gone from theaters. She was Hawke’s neighbor in Manhattan and he asked her to write a song for his onscreen band. Her song was rejected in favor of one written by David Baerwald, but he still wanted her to be part of the movie. He saw her live and liked “Stay.” Hawke sent the song to Stiller and the movie’s music supervisor and it landed the end-credits spot.

It is “a messy, personal romantic-argument song with no chorus and no clear structure.” SG Loeb “sings in a wounded, vulnerable, intimate quaver.” SG The narrator “doesn’t want to break up, but she worries that they’re only staying together because it’s a comfortable default.” SG It isn’t clear which way she goes. While the song got play on alt-rock stations, it was, “in terms of both aesthetic and perspective…a whole lot closer to James Taylor than Jane’s Addiction.” SG

Loeb was born in Maryland, the daughter of two doctors. She went to Brown, studying comparative literature, and graduated in 1990. Then she went to Boston and studied at the Berklee College of Music and started the band Nine Stories. She wrote “Stay” while at Berklee and tried to tailor it for Daryl Hall when learning he was looking for songs for a solo album. As she said, “I’m a big fan of Hall and Oates…especially their older R&B-influenced Motown-type songs. And I thought, wow, they need a new ‘Sara Smile.’” FB She ended up keeping it for herself, realizing it got positive response when she played it at shows.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Lisa Loeb
  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 829.
  • SG Stereogum (3/7/2022). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 9/5/2022.

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