50 Surprising Facts About Your Favorite '90s Songs
Britney Spears' iconic schoolgirl uniform was purchased at Kmart.
1. Alanis Morissette's breakthrough single "You Oughta Know" features Dave Navarro on guitar and Flea on bass.
2. British singer-songwriter and gay rights activist Labi Siffre made Eminem change the lyrics to "My Name Is" when the rapper wanted to sample a distinctive keyboard riff from his 1975 song "I Got The…". The original line — "My English teacher wanted to have sex in junior high / Only problem was, my English teacher was a guy." — was replaced by the less homophobic "My English teacher wanted to flunk me in junior high/ Thanks a lot — next semester I'll be 35."
3. Initially, Celine Dion had no interest in singing "My Heart Will Go On" and had to be coaxed into cutting a demo by legendary record exec Tommy Mottola. She went on to nail it in a single take and the final track features her demo recording.
4. At eight minutes and 58 seconds, "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses is the longest song to ever reach the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
5. Spike Jonze's award-winning video for Bjork's single "It's Oh So Quiet" was inspired by Jacques Demy's 1964 French musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.
6. In 2012, comedian Donovan Strain deduced the exact date Ice Cube rapped about on "It Was a Good Day." Strain claims the titular "good day" occurred on Jan. 20, 1992.
7. Sinéad O'Connor's hit "Nothing Compares 2 U" was originally written and recorded by Prince for his side project, The Family.
8. Brandy and Monica's duet "The Boy Is Mine" spent 13 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the longest-running No. 1 singles in history.
9. Bikini Kill's riot grrl-anthem "Rebel Girl" is about singer Kathleen Hanna's friendship with artist Juliana Luecking.
10. Sir Mix-a-Lot wrote "Baby Got Back" after realizing that the skinny, waif-like girls in Super Bowl commercials didn't look anything like the women he knew in real life.
11. "Wonderwall" by Oasis was originally titled "Wishing Stone."
12. The Barenaked Ladies' goofy "One Week" was the result of writer's block. After struggling to write the verses, lead singer Ed Robertson decided to freestyle for a couple minutes and just used his favorite lines.
13. Rage Against The Machine's guitarist Tom Morello came up with the iconic "Killing in The Name" guitar riff while teaching a music lesson.
14. "Say My Name" is Kelly Rowland's favorite Destiny's Child song.
15. Before he was signed, Garth Brooks heard songwriter Tony Arata sing "The Dance" at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Brooks promised Arata right there that if he ever got a record deal, he'd cut the song.
16. When Seal wrote "Kiss From a Rose" he couldn't play a single instrument.
17. Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" was written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren.
18. The original version of Madonna's "Ray of Light" was more than 10 minutes long.
19. REM guitarist Peter Buck composed the mandolin parts of "Losing My Religion" by accident while he was teaching himself to play the instrument.
20. All the iconic outfits in Britney Spears' "…Baby One More Time" were purchased at Kmart.
21. Danielle Brisebois, the Annie sampled on Jay Z's "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Life)," has always felt like she should've gotten royalties from the song.
22. R. Kelly's inspirational R&B hit "I Believe I Can Fly" was written for the Space Jam soundtrack.
23. Weezer released "Buddy Holly" on the rock 'n' roll icon's birthday.
24. Despite the fact that Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" is sung almost entirely in English, record executives still tried to make the songwriters produce an "English version" of the Latin-inspired hit.
25. Nas was in the studio with Will Smith when he recorded "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."
26. After Radiohead released "Creep," Thom Yorke started getting disturbing letters from prisoners on death row about how they related to the song's lyrics.
27. Bob Dylan sued Hootie And The Blowfish for the allusions to his lyrics in the band's song "Only Wanna Be With You."
28. Fiona Apple wrote "Criminal" in 45 minutes.
29. Cher's "Believe" was the first pop song to deliberately distort a singer's vocals with Auto-Tune.
30. "Peter Pan Syndrome" was the original title for Blink-182's What's My Age Again?".
31. The title for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came from Bikini Kill member Kathleen Hanna drunkenly writing "Kurt smells like teen spirit" on Cobain's apartment wall.
32. Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone" was originally meant to be an instrumental track, until writer Sebastian Molijn came up with the sentence "Do you think you're better off alone?" after a breakup.
33. Massive Attack's hit "Teardrop" almost featured vocals from Madonna instead of The Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser.
34. Underworld's Karl Hyde wrote "Born Slippy" from the point of view of an alcoholic during a night out drinking. Hyde himself struggled with alcoholism, and was "horrified" when fans saw "Born Slippy" as a drinking anthem.
35. The lo-fi music video for Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" reportedly cost under $1,000 to produce.
36. Jewel was 18 and homeless when she wrote "Hands."
37. When writing "Just A Girl," No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani asked female friends and family about the low-level sexism they experienced every day.
38. Lauryn Hill broke down crying while recording the vocals for The Fugees' hit "Ready or Not."
39. Hanson's hit "MMMbop" was inspired by The Beach Boys.
40. A decade before joining the Real Housewives of Atlanta cast, Kandi Burruss co-wrote TLC's Grammy-winning single "No Scrubs."
41. The first rap song to reach No. 1 on the pop charts was Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby."
42. The Dixie Chicks' heartrending "You Were Mine" was written by Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison about their parents' divorce.
43. Mariah Carey directed the music video for her hit single "Fantasy."
44. Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" was inspired by the real-life suicide of Jeremy Delle, a troubled 16-year-old from Texas who shot himself in front of his second-period English class.
45. Lou Bega, the singer behind the Latin-pop hit "Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of)," is actually a German singer of Italian and Ugandan heritage.
46. "All I Want" by Toad The Wet Sprocket is about frontman Glen Phillips' battle with depression.
47. The Breeders' hit "Cannonball" was originally titled "Grunggae," a portmanteau of grunge and reggae.
48. "Song 2" by Blur was intended to be a parody of the American grunge scene.
49. Sarah McLachlan's song "Elsewhere" is about the experience of growing up and untangling herself from her parents.
50. Lisa Loeb didn't have a record deal when her chart-topping single "Stay" was released.