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Iris (song): Wikis


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Single by Goo Goo Dolls
from the album City of Angels: Music from the Motion Picture and Dizzy Up the Girl
Released April 1998
Format CD single
Recorded 1997
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:50 (album version)
3:35 (radio edit)
Label Warner Bros. Records
Writer(s) John Rzeznik (lyricist and composer)
Producer Goo Goo Dolls
Goo Goo Dolls singles chronology
"Lazy Eye"

"Iris" is a song by American alternative rock band the Goo Goo Dolls. Originally written for the soundtrack of 1998 film City of Angels, the song was later included on the band's sixth album Dizzy Up the Girl. The acoustic guitar in the song gives a distinctive sound as it is in an odd tuning, with the bass E string tuned down to B, and the remaining 5 strings tuned to D. This gives a ringing effect similar to a 12-string guitar. "Iris" has contributed greatly to the band's success. It is the longest charting number one single in Billboard Hot 100 Airplay history with 18 weeks scoring number one. It is considered by many as the band's best-known song.


Origins and theme

The instrumentals in the song are heavily driven by guitar riffs, mandolin, violins, and cellos, with a steady drum beat beneath.

It was the first song that the Goo Goo Dolls had been asked to write specifically for a film. Songwriter Johnny Rzeznik has been quoted as saying he broke several years of writer's block and several years of sobriety simultaneously the night he wrote this track.

In the music video the band is shown high up in skyscrapers, watching the lives of people through telescopes. Seen throughout the video is the actor Nicolas Cage portraying his character from the film, Seth. This theme reflects on what the angels do in the film. Interspersed throughout the video are clips from the film depicting scenes where Seth is falling in love and deciding whether or not to give up being an angel.

The song was named "Iris" by guitarist/vocalist John Rzeznik for Iris DeMent.[citation needed] Rzeznik found an article about her written by Daniel Levitin while flipping through an issue of Billboard Magazine, and thought she had a nice name, and thus chose it for the song title. Prior to this, some fans of the song have speculated that the title refers to the Greek messenger of the gods, Iris. This is thought supposedly because angel is the ancient Greek word for messenger and this song was written for the movie City of Angels (in which the main character is an angel).

Track listing

Reprise 44525

  1. "Iris (Album Edit)" – 4:54
  2. "Lazy Eye" – 3:48
  3. "I Don't Want To Know" – 3:37

EP version

  1. "Iris" – 4:51
  2. "Slide" – 3:34
  3. "Iris" (acoustic version) – 3:26
  4. "Slide" (acoustic version) – 3:15

Korean CD single

  1. "Iris"
  2. "Lazy Eye"
  3. "I Don't Want to Know"


Upon its release, "Iris" became second of a string of hits from the film's soundtrack, City of Angels: Music from the Motion Picture. (The first was Alanis Morissette's "Uninvited" and the third was Sarah McLachlan's "Angel.") On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 the song peaked at number nine for five weeks, and it spent a record eighteen weeks at number one on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. It was not allowed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 until after it had peaked (still managing to crack the top ten at #9) because no commercial single had been released. "Iris" also peaked at #8 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock and #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts.

The song was also a major international hit. "Iris" spent a total of 31 weeks in the Ireland singles chart, and became the thirteenth biggest-selling single there.

The Goo Goo Dolls performed this on October 20, 2001 at Madison Square Garden as part of the The Concert For New York City to raise money for victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.[1]

This song was also used in the production of The Bear by Anton Chekov performed by Rebecca Gove and Ioannis Bakogeorgos.

Besides the song's success on the charts, "Iris" enjoyed critical acclaim. At the 41st Grammy Awards, "Iris" received nominations for "Record of the Year" and "Pop Performance by a Duo or Group." The song also garnered John Rzeznik a "Song of the Year" nomination.[2]

The single was certified Platinum by the RIAA on August 18, 2008.

Chart (1998) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 1
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 8
US Billboard Hot 100 9
Preceded by
"Closing Time" by Semisonic
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
July 4, 1998 – August 1, 1998
Succeeded by
"Inside Out" by Eve 6

Cover versions

  • Avril Lavigne performed the song on stage at the Fashion Rocks Awards with Goo Goo Dolls lead singer Johnny Rzeznik. It was the choice of the first dance for her 2006 wedding with Sum 41 lead singer Deryck Whibley.
  • In 2006, Irish singer, Ronan Keating, covered the song and subsequently released it as the second single from his Bring You Home album, with a music video shot in Dubai.It is his first single not to reach the UK top ten.
  • It was recently featured on the reality show Rock Star: Supernova, performed by Ryan Star.
  • New Found Glory also recorded the song for their album, From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II.
  • The song was referred to in the 2007 movie Farce of the Penguins
  • Jade Gallagher covered the song on her Maybe This album, released in 2007
  • Finley covered the song on their Adrenalina 2 album, released in 2008
  • Pakistani band Jal has recorded a cover version of the song and released it on their website.
  • Iris was also covered by Boyz II Men on their 2009 Love album.
  • The newest cover of Iris is by the Youtubepopular Band Boyce Avenue


  1. ^ Iris Songfacts
  2. ^ 41st annual Grammy nominees and winners. 24 February 1999. CNN. Accessed 7 March 2008.

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