Alt-rock act Goo Goo Dolls had been plugging away for years in their local Buffalo, New York music scene before finally getting some modest success in the broader rock market with their single “Name,” off their fifth studio album A Boy Named Goo. Even so, frontman/guitarist John Rzeznik had found himself at an impasse, suffering from writer’s block and considering ending the band for good.
Then some filmmakers asked Rzeznik to write a song for their movie soundtrack.
The movie was City of Angels. The song was “Iris.” The rest is history.
After its release in spring 1998, “Iris” quickly shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, and stayed there for a record 18 weeks. It also topped the Top 40 Mainstream, Modern Rock and Adult Contemporary charts, making it one of the biggest crossover successes for an alternative rock band at that time. “Iris” went on to garner three Grammy nominations that year, including noms for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. A few months after its release, “Iris” appeared on the Goo Goo Dolls sixth studio album Dizzy Up the Girl, propelling it to triple-Platinum sales.
Suffice it to say that the Goo Goo Dolls history as a band can be clearly marked as two eras: pre-“Iris” and post-“Iris.” They’ve had several other successful singles, but this song is credited with propelling the band to superstardom, and remains their most popular single to date.