It’s been 25 years since the Buffalo Bills won the AFC East, and for some perspective let’s take a look at one of 1995’s most enduring albums, Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill.”
It was the Canadian born Morissette’s third studio album, and her first released in the United States. Her two previous albums were filled with bubble gum pop, and released while she was still in high school. Both albums did well in Canada and included a few radio hits.
The 1990s were good years for the Buffalo Bills, and they were excellent years for the recording industry as well. Compact disc sales were near their peak in 1995, and radio and MTV were still powerful forces when it came to music promotion.
The musical landscape was diverse in the 1990s, but it is an era that is best known for the rise of the grunge sound thanks to artists like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. Grunge replaced the commercial dominance of rock and new wave artists of the 1970s and 1980s.
After Morissette graduated from high school, she moved to Toronto to continue to pursue a music career. Not long afterward, she moved to Los Angeles and began a songwriting partnership with Glen Ballard, who had already worked on successful albums by Michael Jackson and Wilson Phillips.
Even with Ballard’s credentials, no major record label would release “Jagged Little Pill,” so she signed with Maverick Records, a label founded in part by Madonna in 1992. The label had achieved commercial success with Candlebox’s debut album in 1993, so while they were a smaller label, they had the resources to get the album distributed internationally.
When Morissette released the lead single, “You Oughta Know,” in July of 1995 KROQ in Los Angeles put the song in heavy rotation, which began the album’s commercial ascent.
Propelled by the follow-up singles, “Hand in My Pocket” and “Ironic,” “Jagged Little Pill” reached number one on the Billboard album charts in October of 1995, knocking Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Cracked Rear View” from the top position.
By December of 1995, when the Buffalo Bills clinched the division, Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” had already achieved platinum sales status, and was still in the top ten. The album went on to win five Grammy Awards and was the largest selling album of the 1990s.
Even though Morissette never equaled the success of “Jagged Little Pill,” she continued to record and release new music, including an album in July entitled “Such Pretty Forks in the Road,” which hit number one on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.
In 2019, a musical based on “Jagged Little Pill” premiered on Broadway, and was nominated for 15 Tony Awards earlier this year. The 2020 awards ceremony has been postponed indefinitely, as was Morissette’s 25th anniversary tour for “Jagged Little Pill.”
And while taste in popular music has changed dramatically since the Bills won the east in 1995, there are a few artists that were in the Top 100 in 1995 and the week the Bills clinched this year. They are Mariah Carey, AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen.
Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.