The Goo Goo Dolls are an American rock band formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York, by guitarist/vocalist John Rzeznik, bassist/vocalist Robby Takac, and drummer George Tutuska.
After starting off as a cover band and then developing a punk sound, The Goo Goo Dolls experienced mainstream success following the 1995 release of their breakthrough single, "Name". The band is renowned for its biggest hit, "Iris", released in 1998. The song spent nearly 12 straight months on the Billboard charts and held the number one position on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for 18 weeks. In October 2012, "Iris" was ranked #1 on Billboard's "Top 100 Pop Songs 1992–2012" chart. Other notable singles include "Slide", "Black Balloon", and "Broadway" from 1998's Dizzy Up the Girl; "Here Is Gone" from 2002's Gutterflower; and "Better Days", "Give a Little Bit", and "Stay with You" from 2006's Let Love In.
The band has had 19 top-ten singles on various charts, has sold 15 million records worldwide, and has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.
The band's original lineup included John Rzeznik , Robby Takac , and George Tutuska . Takac and Tutuska had been long-time friends in school and met Rzeznik while he was playing in the band The Beaumonts with Takac's cousin, Paul Takac, and close friend Michael Harvey who was the inspiration for the band. In 1999 Rolling Stone reported the trio picked their name from a True Detective ad for a toy called a Goo Goo Doll. In 2022 Rzeznik said he didn't remember how they picked the name. "We had a gig and so we had to come up with some kind of a name just to play the show," Rzeznik said. "It's kind of a stupid name."
The band started out playing covers, but went on to develop a punk sound. With Takac as their lead singer, the band released their first album, Goo Goo Dolls, in 1987 on Mercenary Records, but was picked up in 1988 by Celluloid Records, a larger record company. They played around Buffalo's underground music circuit and across the country opening for punk bands such as Gang Green, SNFU, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, Motörhead, ALL, The Dead Milkmen, Doughboys, Big Drill Car, The Gun Club, Uniform Choice, The Dickies, and DRI and playing with fellow Buffalo bands. The band released its second album, Jed, in 1989.
The band released its third album, Hold Me Up, in 1990 and featured Rzeznik as the lead vocalist on five tracks, including the single "There You Are"—as well as their then-concert favorite, "Two Days in February". After being embraced by local college radio and punk scenes , the Goo Goo Dolls incorporated elements of heavy metal, pop rock, and punk rock into the album. In 1991, the song "I'm Awake Now" was recorded for the soundtrack of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.