You Oughta Know

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"You Oughta Know"
Single by Alanis Morissette
from the album Jagged Little Pill
ReleasedJuly 7, 1995
FormatCD single, cassette single, 12"
Recorded1994
GenreAlternative rock, post-grunge
Length4:09
LabelMaverick, Reprise
Writer(s)Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Producer(s)Glen Ballard
Alanis Morissette singles chronology
"(Change Is) Never a Waste of Time"
(1993)
"You Oughta Know"
(1995)
"Hand in My Pocket"
(1995)
Audio sample
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"You Oughta Know"
Single by Alanis Morissette
from the album Jagged Little Pill
ReleasedJuly 7, 1995
FormatCD single, cassette single, 12"
Recorded1994
GenreAlternative rock, post-grunge
Length4:09
LabelMaverick, Reprise
Writer(s)Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Producer(s)Glen Ballard
Alanis Morissette singles chronology
"(Change Is) Never a Waste of Time"
(1993)
"You Oughta Know"
(1995)
"Hand in My Pocket"
(1995)
Audio sample
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
file info · help

"You Oughta Know" is a song originally performed by Canadian American recording artist and songwriter Alanis Morissette, for her third studio album, Jagged Little Pill. The song was written by Morissette along with Glen Ballard, who also produced it. The song was chosen to be released as the lead single from the album by Maverick Records on July 7, 1995. It was her first song in her change from bubblegum pop to the alternative rock sound she was later known for.

"You Oughta Know" was highlighted as an album track, and it received generally positive reviews from critics. It reached the top 10 in Australia and the United States, where it was a multiformat hit in several different genre charts, and made the top 20 in Canada and the top 40 in Sweden, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The song subsequently won two Grammy Awards: Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Flea and Dave Navarro of the Red Hot Chili Peppers played bass and guitar on the track, respectively.

Composition[edit]

"Flea and I did that song together in the studio. It was already written with different instrumentation and we were asked to kind of re-write the music... A lot like a re-mix. The structure of the song was in place but there were no guide tracks, we just had the vocal to work from. It was just a good time and we basically jammed until we found something we were both happy with. Alanis was happy too."

Dave Navarro talking about the conception of "You Oughta Know".[1]

In an August 2008 interview with the Calgary Sun, actor-comedian Dave Coulier admitted to being the ex-boyfriend portrayed in the song.[2] In 1997 the Boston Herald reported that Coulier "admitted the lines are very close to home. Especially the one about 'an older version of me' and bugging him [Coulier] 'in the middle of dinner.'"[3] In early 2014, Bob Saget said that he was present when Morissette made that call during dinner, although it was not clear whether he was joking or not.[4] Later in 2014, Coulier denied being the subject of the song.[5]

However, in October 2008, Morissette reiterated her refusal to identify the subject, commenting to a CanWest News Service journalist,

"Well, I've never talked about who my songs were about and I won't, because when I write them they're written for the sake of personal expression. So with all due respect to whoever may see themselves in my songs, and it happens all the time, I never really comment on it because I write these songs for myself, not other people."[6]

Other celebrities have been rumored to be the lover in the song, including: Mike Peluso, hockey player for the New Jersey Devils;[3] Matt LeBlanc, the actor who appeared in the video for Morissette's single "Walk Away" in 1991;[3] and Leslie Howe, a musician and the producer of Morissette's first two albums in the early 1990s.[3]

Chart performance[edit]

"You Oughta Know" received moderate to major success worldwide. Most notably, the song was a Top 10 hit in three different genre charts in the United States, peaking at #3 in the active rock charts, #7 in the contemporary hit radio charts and #1 at modern rock.

Unusually, however, the song was only a modest hit in Morissette's native Canada, peaking only at #20 pop[7] and #21 rock[8] in RPM. Music journalists have attributed the song's weak chart performance to resistance from Canadian radio programmers,[9] because the aggressive, hard rock nature of the song marked a dramatic shift from Morissette's established image as a teen dance-pop star.[9] Despite the song's weak chart performance, however, the video reached #1 on MuchMusic and #3 on MusiquePlus,[9] and overall album sales of Jagged Little Pill were comparable to those in the United States even while the single's performance was faltering.[9] It was the only single from the album not to hit #1 or #2 on the Canadian pop charts.

In addition, the song was a top ten hit in Australia, and reached the top 40 in Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Nick Egan. It features Morissette running or walking through a desert and, in some scenes, sitting on a chair outside. During each chorus, the video shows musicians performing along with Morrissette, who is singing with a microphone.[citation needed]

Cover versions and samples[edit]

"You Oughta Know" has been covered by several artists, such as Britney Spears (left) and Beyoncé Knowles (right).

American singer-songwriter, musician, parodist, record producer, satirist, music video director, film producer, actor, and author "Weird Al" Yankovic utilized a portion of this song for The Alternative Polka, which appeared on his album Bad Hair Day, released the year after the song was released.

Alternative-punk band Thousand Mona Lisas covered the song and included it as a hidden track on their 1995 album, New Disease. Also, Off the Beat released an a cappella cover in 1997.

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine covered the song in a comedic lounge music style on their 2005 album Aperitif for Destruction'.

Britney Spears performed the song during her 2009 The Circus Starring: Britney Spears tour.[10][11] Mike Bruno of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "[...] she rocked it. What better way to silence the critics than to step up to the mic, say to hell with it all, and spew some of that bile. Hot, confident Britney, live vocals, a dash of rebellion…".[11] After a number of Jonathan Coulton's fans compared Morissette's cover of "My Humps" to his cover of "Baby Got Back", he covered "You Oughta Know" himself.[12]

In the seventh season of Australian Idol, airing in 2009, contestant Lauren Streete sang a shortened version of the song, with none of the lyrics changed for censorship.[citation needed]

Scala and The Kolacny Brothers covered this song as a girls choir with piano accompaniment on their 2009 release, It All Leads To This.[citation needed]

The song was sampled by American R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles during her 2009 I Am... Tour,[13] as well as at the 2010 Grammys[14] and the Glastonbury Festival 2011.[15]

In the season nine finale of Fox Network's American Idol, which aired on May 26, 2010, Alanis Morissette sang a duet of "You Oughta Know" with finalist Crystal Bowersox. Bowersox sang the line regarding oral sex, originally "Will she go down on you in a theater", but was re-written presumably to make it "family friendly" as "Will she go down with you to the theater."[citation needed]

In 2010, Corey TuT recorded a Trent Reznor-inspired version for Cover Me.[16]

Perrie Edwards, of the girl group Little Mix, used "You Oughta Know" as her audition song on the eighth series of the X Factor.

The Killing Moon performed an alternative version for the cover compilation album Punk Goes 90's.[citation needed]

Narsha of the South Korean Pop girl group Brown Eyed Girls performed the song on the 2010 MBC Gayo Daejun (2010 MBC Music Festival).[citation needed]

Haley Reinhart, Season 10 American Idol contestant, sang this as the Judges' Choice Song during Top 3 Week.[citation needed]

Georgia Murray and her band performed a cover of "You Oughta Know" on episode two of CBC's Cover Me Canada.[17]

The Glee Project season two had to perform the song in episode 5.

The 2013 episode of How I Met Your Mother, "P.S. I Love You" featured fictional 1990s Canadian pop star "Robin Sparkles" singing a song parodying "You Oughta Know" in musical style. Dave Coulier even made a cameo, commenting on the subject of the song, saying "It wasn't me. Why does everyone always think it's me!?"

In one scene of an episode of Bob's Burgers, Bob is singing the karaoke version "You Oughta Know".

In the final season of Glee this song will be featured in a mash-up with Carole King's So Far Away. It will be sung by Dianna Agron and Jenna Ushkowitz.

Legacy[edit]

"You Oughta Know" was ranked at number twelve on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's in December 2007.[18] Allmusic noted the track as a highlight of the album.

In 1996, the single was nominated for three Grammy Awards, winning the awards for Best Rock Song and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance but losing the Grammy Award for Song of the Year to Seal's song "Kiss from a Rose".[citation needed]

The song is also a playable track in the music video game Rock Band 2.

"You Oughta Know", was also featured in the Season 3 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm , "The Terrorist Attack", where she guest stars as herself. Alanis never sharing who her songs are about is parodied as Larry David openly asks Alanis who the subject is and assures her that it will stay between them.

Track listing[edit]

CD Single
  1. "You Oughta Know"
  2. "You Oughta Know" (The Jimmy the Saint Blend)
  3. "Perfect" (Acoustic)
  4. "You Oughta Know / Your House (a capella) [In some editions]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1995–96)Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[19]4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20]39
Canada (RPM)[7]20
Canadian Alternative 30 (RPM)[8]21
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[21]17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22]25
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[23]38
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24]22
US Billboard Hot 100[25]6
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks3
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks1
US Billboard Mainstream Top 407
Preceded by
"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" by U2
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
July 22, 1995 – August 19, 1995
Succeeded by
"J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)" by Green Day

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Navarro, Dave (April 26, 2010). "Sunday 10". 6767. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ McCormick, Eugene. "Coulier Comes Clean: He Admits to Being the Muse Behind Alanis Morissette’s 'You Ought to Know'". The Cleveland leader. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "You Oughta Know". Urban Legends Reference Pages. January 10, 2000. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  4. ^ Webber, Stephanie (2014-01-31). "Dave Coulier, Full House Costars, Joke About Alanis Morissette Song". usmagazine.com. Retrieved 6 June 2014. I was at his house and he said, 'Alanis just hung up on me and said sorry for calling you during dinner,'" Saget recalled. "I was at his house when she said that to him. 
  5. ^ Fisher, Luchina (2014-06-06). "Dave Coulier Now Denies Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’ Is About Him". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Saxberg, Lynn. "Alanis Morissette reveals secret self in songs". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Top Singles – Volume 62, No. 3, August 21, 1995". RPM. RPM Music Publications Ltd. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  8. ^ a b "Rock/Alternative - Volume 61, No. 27, August 7, 1995". RPM. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Alanis a hit everywhere except on hometown radio". Ottawa Citizen, August 19, 1995.
  10. ^ Montgomery, James (February 1, 2010). "'You Oughta Know': The Story Behind Beyonce's Grammy Cover". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  11. ^ a b "Britney Spears covers Alanis Morissette: 'You Oughta Know,' it ain't half bad". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. September 6, 2009. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  12. ^ Coulton, Jonathan. "You Oughta Know". Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ Ganz, Caryn (June 22, 2009). "Beyonce Brings Hits, Jay-Z to "I Am..." Tour opener in New York". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  14. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson (January 31, 2010). "Beyonce Covers Alanis Morissette At Grammys". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  15. ^ "Beyonce covers Kings Of Leon and Prince at Glastonbury". NME (IPC Media (Time Warner)). June 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  16. ^ Padgett, Ray. "Corey TuT Brings a Little Trent Reznor to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know"". Cover Commissions. Cover Me. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Watch Episode Two Performances Now!". Cover Me Canada. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Top 100 Songs of the ’90s". VH1 Blog. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know". Singles Top 60.
  24. ^ "5, 1995/ Archive Chart: August 5, 1995" UK Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Alanis Morissette Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Alanis Morissette.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Could I Be Your Girl" by Jann Arden
Juno Award for Single of the Year
1996
Succeeded by
"Ironic" by Alanis Morissette