Way back in 1995 when Avril Lavigne was still in grade school, there was another feisty Canadian female burning up the charts. Her name was Alanis Morissette, and her hit single “You Oughta Know” turned her from a little-known L.A. transplant into a girl power icon and ’90s poster girl overnight.
The first single off her first album for an American record label (Maverick, the only label that didn’t pass on her), “You Oughta Know” quickly gained national popularity, going into heavy rotation on MTV and inspiring a generation of young girls to get angry (like, fling your hair around menacingly and scream in your car angry) at the men who’d wronged them instead of just sitting around moping. The high contrast video of Alanis freaking out in the desert helped underscore the song’s emotional rawness, as did bitter, explicit lyrics like the oft-censored line about you-know-what in a theater. The weird rumor that the song was about actor Dave Coulier, best known as Uncle Joey from family sitcom “Full House,” only increased the song’s notoriety.
Alanis went on to release five more singles off Jagged Little Pill, staying on the Billboard charts for more than a year. She also cleaned up at the 1996 Grammy awards, taking home nods for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song (both for “You Oughta Know”), as well as Best Rock Album and Album of the Year. Although nothing she’s done since has matched the insane international success of Jagged Little Pill, she’s done pretty well for herself, releasing four more studio albums, recording a great episode of “MTV Unplugged” (which she later released as an album) and acting in various movies and TV shows, including Dogma (in which she literally played God), “Weeds” and “Sex and the City.” Not too shabby!