In honor of the 20th anniversary of Tragic Kingdom, we’re ranking your picks for the album’s best singles domestically released. With that, we’ve excluded tracks that were planned for a release (“Happy Now?” failed to chart and a music video was canceled) and those released and promoted overseas for promotional purposes (“Hey You” and “Oi To The World”). Obviously some were way more commercially successful than others, but fans voted for their favorites based on impact, likability and how they’ve aged over time. Below we’ve listed the songs from least voted to best and have included videos and information on each.
Kicking off the list at #5 is “Excuse Me Mr.”, the fourth single released from Tragic Kingdom. Released on August 21, 1996, “Excuse Me Mr.” peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock Tracks chart and hit #12 on Canadian RPM Alternative 30. The song didn’t chart outside of the US but became a huge crowd favorite once the band incorporated it into their sets in 1995.
No Doubt were known to close out their shows with “Excuse Me Mr.” and invite the audience to singalong which escalated into a grand finale that still gives us chills. The incredible energy the band always put into the song live made it a standout moment from each tour. No Doubt has since breathed new life into “Excuse Me Mr.” by performing a stripped-down Police-esque version of it on their most recent tours. In a recent poll we hosted, fans preferred the new acoustic take on it to the classic version.
Coming in at #4 is No Doubt’s second single released from Tragic Kingdom, “Spiderwebs”. The track debuted at #10 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock chart and peaked at #5 three weeks later. “Spiderwebs” also did well internationally by hitting #16 on the UK Singles chart and #8 on the Canadian RPM Alternative 30. No Doubt also performed the song on many notable television programs including the Late Show with David Letterman and the 1997 Grammy Awards.
“Spiderwebs” continues to be a live staple for the band (which Tom calls a “triumphant” song) and is usually featured as their set’s opener or closer. Even after it’s mainstream success in 1996-1997, No Doubt still continued to perform it on television recently in 2012 while promoting Push and Shove. “Spiderwebs” is one of the classic No Doubt tracks that is an essential in any show that still gets everyone excited after all these years (it turns 20 on November 19!)
The single that started it all, “Just a Girl”, comes in at #3. The track is such a distinctive and trademark song in No Doubt’s catalog and first made it’s debut on southern California radio in October 1995. With support from local radio stations like KROQ and MTV, “Just a Girl” started to blow up outside of California and led to major late night performances and television appearances. “Just a Girl” became a smash on rock radio and peaked at #10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The single became the band’s first chart success peaking at #23 on Billboard‘s Hot 100. “Just a Girl” was released overseas in 1996 and peaked at #3 in Australia. The single was re-released due to the success of “Don’t Speak” and charted as high as #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1997.
No Doubt introduced “Just a Girl” into their live sets toward the later part of 1994. Once the band hit the road to support Tragic Kingdom, “Just a Girl” became a huge crowd favorite and highlight during the shows. Gwen would invite the audience to participate in a singalong during the middle breakdown famously putting boys against girls to see who would sing the loudest. It usually ended in a climax with Gwen asking the girls to chant “f*** you I’m a girl” followed up with “I’m just a girl in…” followed by the current city the band was playing in. Gwen continued improvising during “Just a Girl” on the road and has become such a classic staple in every No Doubt show.
No Doubt’s third single from Tragic Kingdom, “Don’t Speak”, comes in at #2 on our list. Released on April 15, 1996, “Don’t Speak” topped Billboard‘s Hot 100 Airplay chart at #1 for sixteen straight weeks. “Don’t Speak” was such a huge success and reached #1 also in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom making it No Doubt’s most internationally successful single to date. “Don’t Speak” also gave No Doubt their first Grammy nominations in 1998 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Song of the Year (which unfortunately they didn’t win). “Don’t Speak” is still receiving accolades by being named Blender‘s #495 pick on their The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born list.
“Don’t Speak” is incredible. Everyone knows it. “Don’t Speak” is the song that literally put No Doubt on the map and introduced them to the rest of world. Though the song went through many early changes, the “Don’t Speak” we all know has been performed at pretty much every No Doubt show since it’s reign in 1997. Gwen’s heartfelt lyrics still resonate with fans and she is known to step back and let the audience sing the verses no matter which country they were playing in. It’s also amazing to see the band continue to deliver the same passion throughout the song considering how many times they have performed it over the years.
And coming in at #1 as the best Tragic Kingdom single ever is “Sunday Morning”. Released on May 27, 1997, “Sunday Morning” was the fifth and final single from the album and peaked at #35 on Billboard‘s Pop Songs. Though the track wasn’t a huge hit on paper, “Sunday Morning” did a stellar job on rock radio and even ranked on KROQ’s 500 Biggest Songs of All Time ahead of “Bathwater”, “Ex-Girlfriend” and “Excuse Me Mr.” The song has continually come in at the top in our fan favorites polls and was named the best music video from Tragic Kingdom. Speaking of the video, it also introduced most fans to what are known now as No Doubt Landmarks, including the “Sunday Morning” house on Ohio Street in Anaheim and the M&M Market (which was once owned by Gwen’s family).
To this day, “Sunday Morning” is No Doubt at their best. We’ll say it — it’s perfect. It’s their ultimate song (just like the rest on this list) and translates even better live. From the tempo changes to the soaring chorus — “Sunday Morning” just gets more amazing and finishes on a high note. No Doubt typically incorporates the song towards the beginning or ending of their sets due to its climatic nature and always draws a huge response from the audience. Fans love it. The energy the band puts into “Sunday Morning” is incredible and we’re treated to jumping contests and skanking which is always fun. “Sunday Morning” simply is No Doubt and it really brings out the best of what we love in this band.
Where did your favorites rank on the list? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments and please feel free to leave comments with any requests you may have for our TK20 feature!