This song refers to Annie, a 12-year-old girl soon to be forced into a life of prostitution by her "drunk-ass" dad. The narrator of the song, sexually attracted to Annie, removes her from the situation, but she ultimately leaves him as well.
Sublime released two albums on their own label before getting a deal with MCA, but lead singer Brad Nowell died of a drug overdose two months before their major-label debut was issued. "What I Got" was sent to American radio stations, and did surprisingly well considering there was no band to promote it. Slowly, listeners were turned on to Sublime, and the album eventually sold over 5 million copies.
"Wrong Way" was the third single promoted to radio (following "Santeria"), and it peaked on the Billboard Airplay chart in August 1997, about a year after Nowell's death.
Since MCA preferred $16 albums over $2 singles, "Wrong Way" and the other songs on the album were not made available for sale in America, which made them ineligible for the Hot 100 chart according to Billboard rules.
The surviving members of the band made a video for this song after Nowell's death. Directed by Gregory Dark and Josh Fischel, Bijou Phillips stars as the girl in the song, Annie.
"Wrong Way" is featured in the video game Aggressive Inline.
Suggestion credit: Conrad - Austin, TX
The line, "big salty tears rolling down to her chin" is a reference to a song called "Big Salty Tears" by The Ziggens, a band that was signed to Sublime's Skunk Records.
Katie Traugh from Oceanside,caAnd Shannon saying Annie is real, how is a father manipulating a young girl to sell her body on the streets for his selfish needs, gross? How is a girl that "nobody ever told her it's the wrong way" supposed to know the difference. To her it was what was expected to her by the person that helped provide her with life. Especially at a young age we tend to trust our parents. And with just the father sung about in the song it's safe to assume that she had a lot of trust in the one parent she had to guide her in the right direction. in the beginning she thought it was the right thing to do. The "normal" thing that's done. She was taken for granted by her father. So tell me how is she gross for that. Society tells us prostitution is "gross" but no one takes the time to get to know the person behind the action. Just as well as with "bums," or drug addicts. Maybe if we took the time and told people who are struggling that it's okay and that we know their actions don't define the kind of person they are maybe then we wouldn't have so many suicides, over doses and overall unnecessary deaths. We all have value, we all have worth, poor decisions shouldn't change that.
Katie Traugh from Oceanside,caDoes anyone know if Bradley wrote this song or if one of the other band members did. I just want to know who exactly put pen on paper and wrote down this song for the first time. Who had the words to the song in their head and actually applied the words to make the song "wrong way." Justcurious.
Randy from Fayettevile, ArHere it is 2014 & I still hear the song on the radio. I think "the wrong way" means some times we chose it so we can cope with life's bad times or just to survive. Love the song!
Rotunda from Tulsa, OkI certainly remember this Sublime song from the mid-Nineties when I was in college & listening to the college stations back then. Now, the music/radio scenes have changed so much, but I just heard it again today & just had to post on Songfacts. Here it is December 2013 & Sublime is still on the radio! That's staying-power, man.
Erin from Sioux Falls, SdIn the version played as the intro on 'Bradley Nowell and Friends,' is Bradley that f***d up with the whole jibberish thing at the end, or just being silly Bradley?... anybody know???
Vanessa from Covina, CaScrew that, man....if my two options were to be a prostitute or to be broke & barely makin' it with Bradley...shoot I'd never leave, I'd put up with all his crap RIP brad!
Lucy from Liverpool, United Kingdomthis kinda reminds of lolita
Pedro from Chula Vista, CaFor Bradley, there was no proverbial Annie. He has had intimate relationships with young girls (an example of one is in the song "Mary"), but it is not known how old he was when he first wrote it.
Sean from Milford, Paa cigarette pressed between her lips but im starin at her tits it was the wrong way
Ivette from Los Angeles, CaI THINK THERE'S A LOT OF ANNIES, SHANNON. LOOK AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU!!!
Austin from Smallsville, NeI think it shows that no one is really happy with the situation they have. Like annie was not happy with her life. But her new life with that new guy was not so great either.
Paulo from São Paulo, BrazilIf there was a Anne, he was assuming he did what ever he would do as a week human being. Nobody is perfect, that is what the song says.
Shannon from Bakersfield , CaI wonder if there really was this annie.If there was it would be gross