It was their 1997 massive hit “Sex and Candy” that catapulted the alternative pop-rock trio on to the mainstream radio airwaves, but their passionate, loyal, and wide-reaching followers are equally as enamored with the group’s deep catalog of 6 albums and countless fan-favorites.
Although the members of Marcy Playground met in New York City during the mid-’90s, both singer/guitarist John Wozniak and bassist Dylan Keefe originally hailed from Minneapolis. The group took its name from the Marcy Open School, an experimental elementary school that Wozniak attended in the late ’70s. Wozniak was intimidated by a few other students during his time at Marcy Open, and he ultimately refused to join his peers on the school’s playground during recess. Subsequently, the singer claimed that this tough period of his life served as “a foundation for a future self.” He explains, “The strange way in which I see the world today can be directly traced back to the time when, as a little boy, I sat paralyzed by the unfortunate realities of life as I looked out of a school window and down onto the Marcy Playground.”
The group first released “Sex and Candy” on an indie-label compilation CD (Deep South Records) and eventually signed a recording contract with Capitol Records and released a self-titled debut album in February 1997, featuring the soon-to-be hit song. Several months after the album’s release, rock radio picked up on the group’s single “Sex and Candy” which pushed the album up the U.S. charts and, eventually, to platinum certification. The song spent a record 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts, and went on to become one of the most played radio songs of the 90s, crossing genres into adult rock, top 40, active rock, and alternative rock.
Wozniak’s fairytale-esque style of rock-n-roll sing-alongs has become a staple of the band’s sound, including their most recent album Leaving Wonderland in a Fit of Rage, which was met with great critical and fan acclaim. The band has gone on to sell over 5 Million Records worldwide and remains one of the most iconic hit bands from the 90s.