This Top 10 Marcy Playground Songs list presents the best Marcy Playground Songs including such big hits as “Sex And Candy,” “It’s Saturday” and more. The alternative rock band, Marcy Playground, officially got its name from a Minneapolis alternative grade school, Marcy Open. The group’s founder, John Wozniak attended this school and chose the name as it served as the main source of his inspiration behind his songwriting. Adding to the influence of the songs that mostly revolved around his childhood, was the music he enjoyed from the Beatles, Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Nirvana, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, and Van Morrison. Those influences are made evident in Marcy Playground’s self-titled debut album that was released in 1997 through the label, Capitol Records.
Leading up to this, however, shortly after Wozniak moved to New York, he met with multi-instrumentalist, Jared Kotler, who believed in his songwriting talent. However, the relations between Wozniak and Kotler reached a breaking point that saw a split after one year of performing together. Replacing Jared Kotler was Dan Rieser as the band’s drummer. Upon the release of the first studio album in 1997, Mercy Playground received its first real taste of mainstream radio breakthrough with “Sex and Candy,” which became certified gold with the Australia Recording Industry Association (ARIA). It was also instrumental for the album to become certified gold in that nation, as well as platinum with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Marcy Playground Roster Changes
In total, Marcy Playground has recorded and released four studio albums, as well as a remixed album, a compilation album, an extended play (EP), and fourteen singles. Their music has also been featured in seven different films. Since the official formation of the band in 1996, it’s been John Wozniak as the frontman and Dylan Keefe on bass and backing vocals. When Jared Kotler was replaced prior to the recording of the first studio album, Dan Riesler took his place as the band’s drummer until the year 2000. He was with the band for the first two albums before moving on to pursue other interests. Taking his place was Gonzalo Martinez de la Cotera until 2009. After the recording and release of Marcy Playground’s fourth studio album, Leaving Wonderland…in a fit of rage, he was replaced by Shlomi Lavie, who is still with Wozniak and Keefe to this day. Although the group hasn’t released any new material since 2012, they still continue to tour from time to time.
Top 10 Marcy Playground Songs
#10 – Punk Rock Superstar
From Marcy Playground’s third studio album, MP3, “Punk Rock Superstar” was actually a track that featured on the Xbox 360’s hard drive media content playlist upon its release in 2006, two years after the album’s release date. Prior to its appearance on Xbox, nobody really heard of it. After Xbox and fans heard the song, there was a surge of interest, which then prompted Marcy Playground to shoot a music video. From the viewpoint of a wannabe star, the desire to become a punk rockstar is the focus behind the lyrical narration and performed in an offbeat manner to fit the punk-rock play style.
#9 – The Needle and the Damage Done
The cover song to Neil Young 1972 classic, “The Needle and the Damage Done,” was recorded by Marcy Playground for its 2012 compilation album, Lunch, Recess, and Detention. For Neil Young, the inspiration behind the fate of great musicians in the making failed to reach true greatness due to the effects of drug abuse, namely with heroin. For John Wozniak, who still is a huge fan of Neil Young, he was inspired by both.
#8 – Wave Motion Gun
Designed as an impression song, “Wave Motion Gun” focused on personal experiences John Wozniak witnessed in regards to the drug, heroin, and how his friends kept disappearing for reasons he couldn’t understand until he learned it was their dependencies on the drug. The powerful feel of defenselessness as a third party looking witnessing the demise of someone close is heartfelt in the performance of Wozniak’s vocals as the acoustics of the music highlight the drama behind the lyrical story.
#7 – All the Lights Went Out
A gothic ballad from start to finish, “All the Lights Went Out” was a song that was featured on Darcy Playground’s second studio album, Shapeshifter. The album’s release in 1999 received mixed reviews from the critics did not was not well received by the fans as its sales didn’t reach the certification levels the group’s debut album achieved in 1997. As for “All the Lights Went Out,” it was cited as a mix of epic crashing, dotty rock that jolted a bit more life into the album.
#6 – Sherry Fraser
The third single from Marcy Playground’s debut album was “Sherry Fraser,” which did not reach the music charts, it did receive moderate radio play during 1998 when it was released. The inspiration behind the song and its title came from a friend of the band, who has co-written music for the band on occasion and is also the founder of the band, Two Ton Boa.
When interviewed about the song, John Wozniak admitted Sherry Fraser was his first girlfriend as the two were teenagers. Although the romance didn’t last, the friendship did, as did their songwriting shares as the two embarked on separate lives and recording careers. When listening to the song, there were elements of Alice in Wonderland references in the lyrics, all inspired during the time frame Wozniak and Fraser were still together as a teenage couple.
#5 – Deadly Handsome Man
“Deadly Handsome Man” was the first single released from Marcy Playground’s third studio album, MP3, which was released in 2004. It was actually a song featured on the 2001 comedy film, Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back, but at the time it was under a different title, The Devil’s Song. Fun from start to finish, “Deadly Handsome Man served as yet another humorous side to the group who refused to take itself too seriously as a band.
#4 – Poppies
Marcy Playground made its debut with the upbeat single, “Poppies,” which was released from the group’s first studio album in 1997. While it did not reach any official music charts, served as an introductory portrayal of Wozniak’s minimalistic approach to different styles of music that ranged from folk to psychedelic, to rock. The anthemic guitar riff served as an opening to a purposely silly song that detailed an offbeat account of England’s opium discovery.
#3 – It’s Saturday
“It’s Saturday” was originally titled Teenage Hypochondriac, but was changed just before the 1999 release of the Marcy Playground’s second studio album, Shapeshift. This single peaked at number twenty-five on the US Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, otherwise known as the US Billboard Modern Rock Charts. The commonality of the song’s lyrics with Shel Silverstein’s poem, Sick, is noted in the performance behind the music and vocal play, as is the hook with the startling yodel. The music video featured members of the band underneath the covers of an oversized bed, as well as other beds of other sleepers, and a controversial scene featuring Pope John Paul II.
#2 – Saint Joe on the School Bus
The second single from Marcy Playground’s debut album was “Saint Joe on the School Bus,” which served as the first hit for the group since its release in 1997. On the US Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, otherwise known as the US Billboard Modern Rock Chart, it charted as high as number eight. On the US Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, it peaked at number thirty-one. The subject of the song revolved around bullying, which included in its music video a notorious school bully falsely making accusations of being picked on, only to have it actually happen to that student for real. The casual drawl delivered by Wozniak has served to be one of his trademarked sounds like a vocal artist, which made this song an appealing listen.
#1 – Sex and Candy
“Sex and Candy” has become the signature song for Marcy Playground since its 1997 release. It is that one song when it’s played, fans of the band know it’s theirs. On the US Billboard Main Rock Tracks chart, which is now known as the US Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, it peaked at number one and remained there for a total of fifteen weeks. It was also a top ten hit among a number of US Billboard charts, starting at number three on the Mainstream Top 40, at number four on the Mainstream Rock and Adult Top 40 charts, and at number eight on the Hot 100.
In Canada, “Sex and Candy” also peaked at number one on its Canada Rock/Alternative chart and at number two on its Canada Top Singles chart. Globally, it was a top ten hit among the nations of Australia and Iceland, and a top forty hit in Austria, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and the UK. To this day, this post-grunge, psychedelic-style abstract collection of pop-culture jabs remains a popular favorite on many radio stations today. It has since been covered by a few artists, namely Maroon 5 and Slothrust, as well as in a few different parodies, starting with Weird Al Yankovic’s 1999 song, Polka Power. It’s also been featured in 1997’s Hurricane Streets soundtrack and 2008’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Feature Photo: Gansstock / Shutterstock
Top 10 Marcy Playground Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.