More than 20 years after it first hit the airwaves, Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” is still one of our favorite songs from the ’90s.
Not only is it a staple of our “breakup song” playlists to this day, the hit also marked a major turning point in the singer’s career. “You Oughta Know,” like the rest of the album Jagged Little Pill, transitioned Morissette from pop music to alternative rock.
But the real lasting legacy of the tune is the mystery surrounding it. There’s no denying that the song is an angry ode to an ex-boyfriend, and Morissette admits it was inspired by one of her own breakups.
Nailing down exactly who Morissette was writing about has consumed music fans since 1995.
The list of suspects includes everyone from pro hockey player Mike Peluso to Friends star Matt Leblanc, who was featured in the music video for Morissette’s song “Walk Away.”
For years, Full House star Dave Coulier‘s name has come up again and again as the most likely candidate. But as the actor revealed in an interview, the truth is more complicated.
Coulier calls the idea that “You Oughta Know” is about him an “urban legend,” and blames it on an offhand comment he made decades ago.
“One time, I was doing a red carpet somewhere and [the press] just wore me down and everybody wanted to know so I said, ‘Yeah, all right, I’m the guy. There I said it.’” Coulier told BuzzFeed.
“So then it became a snowball effect of, ‘OH! So you are the guy!’”
While Coulier admits he dated Morissette, he calls the subject of her song “a real a-hole,” and says he doesn’t want to be that guy.
But Coulier has also admitted that the song’s lyrics seemed awfully familiar the first time he heard them.
Remember when Morissette sings, “Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity? / I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner.”
“That was because we had already broken up and she had called—she was living in Canada at the time—she called, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m right in the middle of dinner, can I just call you right back?’” Coulier told HuffPost Live.
“I remember that line when I heard “You Oughta Know,” and I just went… it was like, ‘uh oh.’”
That sounds pretty damning, but it’s not exactly a confession either. While Morissette says she’ll never tell exactly who the song is about, she’s not surprised “Mr. Duplicity” is denying it – whoever he really is.
“The ironic thing is, if anybody questions whether it’s them I’m writing about, that means something in and of itself,” she said after Jagged Little Pill was released.
“People who were kind and honest and full of integrity throughout the process of making this album wouldn’t question whether they were in that song because they would know.”
Do you have your own theory about the song?