Saturday, August 1, 1998

Goo Goo Dolls spend first of 18 weeks atop airplay chart with “Iris”


Goo Goo Dolls

Writer(s):John Rzeznik (see lyrics here)

Released: April 7, 1998

First Charted: April 11, 1998

Peak: 9 US, 118 BA, 14RR, 22 AC, 117 A40, 2 AA, 8 AR, 15 MR, 3 UK, 18 CN, 15 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 1.25 UK, 8.39 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.8 radio, 217.0 video, 1276.98 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Goo Goo Dolls formed in 1986, but didn’t really gain traction until almost a decade into their career when “Name” became a top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. They were even more successful with “Iris” in 1998. The song, named after country-folk singer-songwriter Iris DeMent, WK was arguably the biggest pop song in the history of the Billboard charts, despite a #9 peak. Huh?

In the mid-to-late-‘90s, record companies sometimes refrained from releasing radio hits as singles in an effort to drive sales of the album instead. Such songs weren’t eligible for the Hot 100, but would show up on the airplay chart. “Iris” proved a monster at radio, spending an astonishing 18 weeks atop the chart – a feat which, had it been on the Hot 100, would have made it the biggest #1 pop song in the history of the chart. Billboard changed its rules in December 1998, WK but the song had already peaked, accounting for the #9 chart position.

The song also spent a whopping 17 weeks at the pinnacle on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart and hit #1 on the alternative rock chart. It was also a #1 on the United States’ Radio & Records chart and reached the top in Australia, Canada, and Italy. WK It was also one of the the best-selling singles of all time in Ireland. WK “Iris” also landed Grammy nominations for Song and Record of the Year.

John Rzeznik, the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, said he wrote the power ballad with the Nicolas Cage City of Angels character in mind. Cage is an angel helping humans transition to the afterlife, but he falls in love with a human (Meg Ryan). As Rzeznik, said, “This guy is completely willing to give up his own immortality just to be able to feel something very human. And I think, ‘Wow! What an amazing thing it must be like to love someone so much that you give up everything to be with them.” WK


First posted 1/22/2020; last updated 7/24/2023.

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