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Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by Crash Test Dummies

Album: God Shuffled His FeetReleased: 1993Charted:
  • The song tells the story of three children whose strange experiences seem normal to them. The theme is the strength of the family unit.
  • The Crash Test Dummies are Canadian. They began as a cover group while lead singer Brad Roberts studied to be a professor in English literature. Roberts played guitar in the group but did not sing because he thought his voice was too deep. A vocal coach convinced him that he had a good, distinctive voice, and Roberts' deep baritone made this stand out on the radio. Even today, very few people sing as low as he does on rock records.
  • In 2000, Roberts was nearly killed in a car accident, but escaped with a broken arm before his car exploded. The band is named after the devices used to test the effects of car accidents on humans. They once toured with Alanis Morissette, who might consider this ironic.
  • This was a success on the adult album alternative (AAA) format that was gaining momentum at the time. Other artists who found success there are the Cranberries and Counting Crows.
  • This was the group's only US Top 40 hit, although three years earlier they had a big song with "Superman's Dead," which reached US #56 and sold over 400,000 copies in Canada.
  • Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison produced this. He has also produced other modern rock artists like Stroke 9, Live and No Doubt.
  • Between the title and the unconventional vocals, disc jockeys made lots of jokes about this when they played it. Some said it sounded like "Sylvester Stallone on Quaaludes."
  • The band released their first album in 1991 and put out the single "Superman's Song," which hit #56 in the US. "Superman's Song" was used as the B-Side of this.
  • As a result of this song, The Crash Test Dummies were nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy in 1994, even though they formed in the late '80s and released their first album in 1991.
  • This is the longest song title made up of one letter repeated. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adam - Wrexham, Wales
  • Like black licorice or the Grateful Dead, people tend to either love this or hate it. Despite its popularity, VH1 named it one of the "Top 50 worst songs of the '90s," outraging fans of the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ricky - Cabot, AR
  • The Crash Test Dummies once played at the MuchMusic awards singing "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody, "Headline News" with Yankovic. They both played the music and Brad Roberts sang in his low low voice. The Weird Al version calls for the sound of kazoos right at the end. Al wasn't expecting to have this feature live on stage when singing with Roberts, but was pleasantly surprised when all the Crash Test Dummies suddenly whipped out kazoos and started "quacking" through the end of the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jason - Wairoa, New Zealand
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Comments: 41

The singer sourced this song from the internet and asked people if they could share a short story that would make people wonder why about such things happen.
The first thread in the reply was about the girl who refused to change for gym class.
The other 2 stories were from me and the boy who got hit in the car/school bus accident happened in the Hurst Euless Bedford Texas area and I was standing with my friend who saw him first standing up waiting to leave the bus and I mention - Who's the guy with the wig?
He punched my shoulder and started crying that it was his best friend who just recently left the hospital and that it was not a wig but his real hair color and not only was he not looking but also the car driver was not looking either and so he got hit pretty hard.

People on the message board back then cried BS that never happened. No matter how truthful a person is there will always be a person who will never believe.

My second story was from a boy in Hot springs Arkansas in Jr. High we were good friends but for the years we went to the same school he never do anything after school but his family would always try to get me to go along with them and one day I did and well I felt so alienated going there seeing people flop around like fish on the floor. I never went back.

The above I freely gave as that was how it was in the early internet days. People stopped calling them BBS's and started calling them messageboards. This was when infoseek was still ranked as the best search engine and nobody heard of google until 1997 or so.
Inachu - East Coast
I remember hearing this song on the radio when it was new, as an adult. I've often wondered about the meaning, and thought I would offer my observations. I think it deals with abuse, and here's why: Others on this thread have speculated that the first two children made up excuses for the possible abuse. I agree, because in the video, the parents smiled and cheered their children's performances while the third child's parents seethed as he simply stated that a religion was foisted upon him, which some would consider a form of abuse. He would not pretend otherwise. The parents were obviously furious as they left the theater. Three stories of abuse, three different ways of reacting to it. I won't speculate on the notion that this song is ant-religion simply because religion was called out. I am a religious person, but I believe in total freedom of religion. It could simply be an expedient way to show that the signs of abuse dont always manifest themselves visually.Chief - Knothole, Ky
God Shuffled His Feet is one of the greatest albums of the 90s!Layton - Paris, Tx
I can't remember the name of it but Midnight oil has a song from their deisel and dust album that sounds simmilar.I'm not saying it is a rip off by I can definatly hear influences.I always liked this songBrian - Boston, Ma
i have to say that i love this song, but at the end there is a animal noise at thend.Karl - Ingatestone, United Kingdom
This song is kind of weird, but in an ok way I guess. When I first heard it, I was thinking, did Sylvester Stallone start a music career?Jessica - Tulsa, Ok
I agree about the song being about abuse, and I agree that it IS an awesome song. I absolutely Love the vocals.Stacy - Dallas, Tx
My big Brother turned me on to this song when we were growing up. I love it's unqiueness till this day. Thanks Bro!Travis - Grandisland, Fl
Did anyone here the story of the thirteen year old who had a nightmare about this song? His story was on Amiright.com. Really funny. But nonetheless, I like this song. It has a unique chorus, interesting story line, and a lot of melody. More people need to listen to the Crash Test Dummies.Landon - Winchester, Oh
I really need to download this song its awesome!!Daniel - Winchester, Oh
This is a fantastic song(Y)
Im actually writting a speech on it now , hence stumbling across this page.

There was an interveiw with Brad Roberts on the Radio about this song and he actually said that when he took the demo of the song when he went into the studio he hadnt made up a chorus yet he was just humming untill he thought of something to put there and the studio people actually like it with the "mmm-ing " and thats how that came about.
Iv seen on some sights that its in the song because its what you do when kids are telling stories and they thought that the bruises and hair was all about kids telling stories.
But you really never know %100 what the song means or why Brad wrote such amazing lyrics.
any ways that is all
Jessa - Aus, Australia
Good song, but who's idea was the chorus?Landon - Winchester, Oh
I could not understand the bit about the snob parents looking really pissed.Vickeybird - Pune, -
Just re-found the Wierd Al version and thought I should play the real one too. This band just goes to show why Canadians are always the funniest North Americans. They know what irony really is - apart from Alanis Morrisette.

Love the kazoo story and the comment about calling out the name at a concert.

Question: In the video why do I recognise the two parents who ".. made him come directly home right after school"

The Dad looks like Tom Skeritt and the Mum (Mom) like an older Winona Ryder. Or am I just too sad?
Gavin - Belfast, United Kingdom
Only song I know of that has a whole chorus with nothing but "MMMMMMMs". Can you imagine shouting this as an encore at one of their concerts???? Makes me render CTD as not very creative.Julia - Knoxville, Tn
This is a great song. Grew up listening to the Crash Test Dummies. It'll always remind of the fun we used to have making up goofy dances in our tiny living room after dinner.Tearsofblood - Nowhere That Concerns You
I definitly think this song is about abuse. the white hair on the first kid is symbolic of him being afraid. The car crash was his story to cover up the abuse. The birthmarks are bruises. The girl said they were birthmarks to again, cover up the abuse. The last verse is the most confusing. The boy was made to come home after school and when they went to church they ALL lurched on the floor meaning the child was given a poison which his parents also took. The girl and boy were glad because they were only beaten whereas the last boy was killed.E - Danvas, Ma
The Crashtest dummies sang "Superman's song" Not "Superman's dead" that was another group entirelyNicole - London, Canada
This is one fo my favorite albums.Camille - Oz, Wa
How does someone shout out this song title at a concert? It would sound like someone put tape over my mouth. Not very good marketing :)Brandon - Peoria, Il
"This was the group's only US Top 40 hit, although 3 years earlier they had a big song with 'Superman's Dead,' which reached US #56 and sold over 400,000 copies in Canada."

Actually it was "Superman's Song" that also made it onto the charts (a sweet song BTW). Being an OLP fan I know that "Superman's Dead" was a hit on the US charts and is a completely different song by another Canadian band.
Mike - Lethbridge, Canada
the first time i listened to this song, all i heard was someone humming... and then the guiter (oh how i love the guiter) and the music, then the lyrics... awesome song. loved this song from that day. roberts' vocals - just beautiful. i think the song is about living a normal life, like those things not quite make sense but they are there somehow???Stink - Male'
How could this song possibly be about abuse and/or "destructive religions"? The boy's hair turning white, the girl's birthmarks (they'd've said bruises if they'd meant bruises) and the last kid's parents going crazy on the church floor (that's "normal" at charismatic churches) is all about weirdness. Only the birthmarks sound like bruises or something, but that would make it totally incongruent with the rest of the song.Casey - Dalton, Ga
I had first heard weird Al's parody, and I thought that the song sounded really cool. I thaen searched for the real song and heard it for the first time. The scratchy (in a good way), deep voice, the piano and guitar part mixes together so beautifully. I just love the musical part of this song As for the lyrics, I never knew exactly what the song was trying to say.Alan - Akron, Oh
the whole album is fantastic.Chris - Edmonton, Canada
As a Bass muso,I can only add that the Bass sound on the album G.S.H.F is phenomenal.Dan Roberts' playing,esp fretless, is outstanding.Gerry - Downpatrick, Ireland
As someone stated below this song is in my favorite movie of all-time, Dumb and Dumber. When Harry is hitch-hiking and you see Lloyd come over the horizon on that mini-bike this song is playing. Honestly, the movie is the only reason I know this song but I love it b/c of this guy's voice!Kory - Atlanta, Ga
just a great song!Marlow - Perth, Australia
Well I still think it's about abuse... and I am stickin' to that story. The "car crash" could be the boy's way of not letting the people at school know about his abuse. The girl's "birthmarks" could actually be bruises. The last story...um... i'm not real sure except maybe the parents made him come home right after school because they wanted to beat him or something and then they acted all "holy" at church?????Kirby - Yitc, Tx
I always thought this song was more about describing how destructive some religions and or parents can be. The first two verses describe children in situations that were caused by fate. (i.e. a car crash and birthmarks). The bridge acknowledges that these things are bad but the kid in the third verse had it much worse because his situation was caused purely by what his parents had imposed on him.Nigel - Birmingham, England
Crash Test Dummies once played at the MuchMusic awards singing "Weird Al" Yankovic's version, 'Headline News' with the King or Parodies himself, both playing the music and Brad Roberts singing in his low low voice. The "Weird Al" version calls for the sound of kazoos right at the end. Al wasn't expecting to have this feature live on stage when singing with Brad Roberts, but was pleasantly surprised when all the CTDs suddenly whipped out kazoos and started "quacking" through the end of the song, Al's song fully finished minus the accordian bit just before the kazoo chant. CTDs... what a tribute!!!Jason - Wairoa, New Zealand
Could one say that this song is about different forms of abuse? I suppose one could make a case for it...Ilikemusic. - This Isn't A City, Md
Actualy ,Alex of new Orleans, BOTH "peter pumkin" head and "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm" were included in Dumb and dumber.Jer - London, Canada
Actually, "MMM MMM MMM MMM" was played also, during the sad part when the two get mad at each other on the roadDat Le - Katy, Tx
Actually,Mark of London, "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" was included in Dumb and Dumber,not Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.Alex - New Orleans, La
I love the beautiful irony of a totally DUMB song being included in "Dumb and Dumber".Charles - Charlotte, Nc
To add to what Erik about Weird Al covering it, the three stories in "Headline News" were those of Michael Fay (the young man who was caned in Singapore for spray painting on cars), Tonya Harding, and John Wayne Bobbitt, all of whom had their 15 minutes of infamy around that time.Jessica - Saint Louis, Mo
beautiful, beautiful song. i love it so much. even if it seems kinda twisted i love it!Anonymous
This song was in the movie "Dumb and Dumber".Mark - London, Ontario, Canada
This was NOT actually the band's only hit, they had a hit with "Superman's Song" on their previous album "The Ghosts That Haunt Me".Dylan - Abby, Canada
This song was covered by Weird Al. It was called "Headline News."Erik - Davis, Ca
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