Jagged Little Pill: 12 fun facts you might not know about Alanis Morissette's hit record
Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill debuted 20 years ago on June 13, and defined the genre we know today as alternative rock. It was her first rock album — she had previously released two dance-pop records — and at 20 years old, Morissette didn’t have a U.S. record deal when she started working on Jagged Little Pill. But after landing one, the album received nine Grammy nominations and helped her earn a spot in the Canadian Rock Music Hall of Fame earlier this year.
In honor of Jagged Little Pill’s 20th anniversary, here are 12 more fun facts about the album. Unfortunately, we may never know for sure whether or not “You Oughta Know” was written about Full House’s Dave Coulier.
- Morissette met Guy Oseary and the Maverick Recording Company team who produced her third record while wearing sweatpants. “I remember before I met Guy Oseary at Maverick, I was writing ‘All I Really Want’ in my sweatpants,” she told EW. “And they said, ‘You need to go over and meet everybody at Madonna’s label.’ And I said, ‘I’m in my f—ing sweatpants!’ And they said, ‘Well, you gotta go now!’ So my first meeting with the whole team was me in my sweatpants. It was horrifying. Thankfully, they loved my music.”
- Each song on the album was recorded in only one or two takes, as Morissette told Billboard that was “the shortest distance from the personal to the universal.” She told the magazine in 1996, “There’s no better feeling than when you write something that you know is a piece of you and that at some point is going to communicate to someone else. Communication is what I get off on.”
- Jagged Little Pill has no title cut, but the phrase appears in “You Learn,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 40 in June 1996.
- “You Outghta Know” features the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass and Dave Navarro on lead guitar. “It was very instinctive,” Flea told Bass Player magazine in 1996. “I showed up, rocked out, and split. When I first heard the track, it had a different bassist and guitarist on it; I listened to the bass line and thought, ‘That’s some weak s—t!’ It was no flash and no smash! But the vocal was strong, so I just tried to play something good.”
- It took Morissette an hour to write “Hand In My Pocket.” “I saw her write that in front of me, like, in an hour,” the album’s co-writer and producer Glen Ballard told The A.V. Club. “I had a 12-string Epiphone electric guitar and we just wrote it on the spot.”
- She also whipped up “Perfect” in just 60 minutes. Ballard adds, “It truly was delivered just right out of her brain and into the microphone. We did it in like an hour, that one. I know it seems unreal, but it actually happened that way. It doesn’t usually happen that way, but it can when everything’s right and you have someone like Alanis.”
- “Ironic” was the first song Morissette and Ballard wrote together. Ballard told Billboard in 1996 that the track allowed Morissette to experience a “stream of consciousness, spiritual way of writing” that she’d “never tapped into before.”
- There’s a hidden track at the end of Jagged Little Pill that will play if you let the album loop. An alternative version of “You Outghta Know” will start up after Jagged Little Pill is through, and the secret track, titled “Your House (A Cappella),” will begin right after.
- Even though the album features themes like “social commentary, eating disorder commentary, embracing emotions, flying in the face of what’s expected,” Morissette encourages young music fans to listen to Jagged Little Pill. “It’s not the kind of record that I would discourage a 15-year-old to listen to,” she told CTV News. “It’s quite the opposite.”
- Jagged Little Pill won Album of the Year at the 1996 Grammys when Morissette was just 21 years old, making the Canadian singer the youngest artist to take home the honor until Taylor Swift did so at age 20 in 2010.
- In 2005, Morissette put out an acoustic version of the record, which was sold exclusively through Starbucks’ Hear Music brand for six weeks beginning on the date of its 10th anniversary. The release also coincided with her first-ever acoustic tour. “I love this record and am warmed by the thought of tipping my hat to it ten years later,” Morissette said in a statement at the time. In honor of the 20th anniversary, Morissette will release a box set later this summer.
- There’s a Broadway show based on Jagged Little Pill in the works with Tom Kitt, the composer behind Green Day’s theatrical production of American Idiot. “We’re just in the beginning phases of it so I can barely share anything about it because we haven’t created it yet,” Morissette told Billboard earlier this year. “But the story is going to be fictionalized and then at some point down the next 10 years I can envision myself creating a one-person show where I can really get into the subtleties and the stories, but for this particular musical it will be a fictionalized story and we’ll add songs and change lyrics.”
Jagged Little Pill