You couldn’t scan radio stations in the late 90s and early 2000s without hearing a Matchbox Twenty song. The band experienced a great amount of success, including multiple multi-platinum albums.
Popular in the US as well as internationally, the group continues to make music much to the delight of its fans. But what isn’t as well-known is that the band’s name wasn’t always Matchbox Twenty.
Join us as we dive into the history of Matchbox Twenty and discover what their original name was.
Let’s take a look!
The Story of Matchbox Twenty
In the mid-90s, Rob Thomas, Brian Yale, and Paul Doucette were jamming together in Columbia, South Carolina. However, the three artists added Jay Stanley and John Goff in 1995 to form Matchbox 20 before signing a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
The band’s name was Paul Doucette’s original idea. He noticed a man’s shirt in a restaurant where he waited tables. The two words on the shirt that stuck out to him were “Matchbox” and the number 20. Combining the words created a band name that would quickly get recognized worldwide.
Their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, came out in 1996. It contained many of their most popular songs, like Push and 3 AM. However, while these songs were wildly successful, the Billboard Hot 100 only considered songs released as singles. But this didn’t stop the album from selling more than 12 million copies and achieving diamond certification.
A Slight Change To Their Name
Until 2000, the group went by the spelling of Matchbox 20. However, shortly before the release of their second album, Mad Season, the group changed the spelling to Matchbox Twenty. The record was another success and was certified 4x platinum in the United States.
Matchbox Twenty’s third album, released in November 2022, had a more pop-funk/pop-rock sound. However, it didn’t perform nearly as well as their previous records. But it received a tremendous amount of radio play the next year.
In 2004, the band took a hiatus to allow the members to pursue side projects. Adam Gaynor, the band’s rhythm guitarist, left the group, and it wasn’t until 2007 that Matchbox Twenty reunited.
They released their fourth album, North, in 2012. The band spent a good part of that year and 2013 touring the world, promoting the record.
The group took some time off from touring and was scheduled to tour in 2020 but was forced to reschedule multiple times. Matchbox Twenty is now scheduled to hit the road in 2023. And lead singer, Rob Thomas, announced on social media in June 2022 that the group was working on a new album.
Matchbox Twenty’s Best-Known Songs
A few songs have defined the success of Matchbox Twenty over the years. They’re the ones that most people instantly recognize the second they hear them. So let’s look at a few of their best-known songs.
When Rob Thomas wrote Push, he reflected on a previous toxic relationship. Thomas shared that a high school girlfriend donated his clothes to charity when they broke up. At the time, Rob didn’t have the money to replace his clothing and benefited from local bands giving him t-shirts.
Instead of writing the song from his perspective, Thomas put a spin on it. He wrote the tune from the viewpoint of his ex-girlfriend. As a result, the lyrics, “I wanna push you around, I will, I will,” refer to how the girl treated him and not what he was saying to her.
The biggest hit from Matchbox Twenty came from their song Bent. It was the only tune from the group that hit #1 on the Hot 100. The lyrics are about a man in a serious relationship, and he’s confused about how to proceed. As a result, he needs help from those around him to decide.
Rob Thomas would later tell VH1 Storytellers that the number was the first love song he ever wrote. It’s about a relationship between two “screwed up” people. The couple is toxic for each other, but they’re okay because they’re together.
The hit 3 AM, released in February 1998, off their album Yourself or Someone Like You, reached #3 on the charts. But, despite what many think, it’s not a love song. Instead, the lyrics reflect Thomas’ feelings when his mother was battling cancer.
The song was wildly successful because many listeners could relate to the same emotions and experiences. The lyrics helped fans reflect on the times in their lives when they went through similar situations.
Why Did Matchbox Twenty Change Their Name?
What many people don’t know about Matchbox Twenty is that most of the group was in a previous band called Tabitha’s Secret. Formed in 1990, Tabitha’s Secret featured Rob Thomas, John Goff, Jay Stanley, Brian Yale, Chris Smith, and Paul Doucette.
In 1995, Atlantic Records approached the group in pursuit of a long-term deal. However, a couple of members, Stanley and Goff, weren’t fans of the contract. They believed it offered more for Rob Thomas than the rest of the group. This ended up playing a major role in the group splitting up.
Thomas, Yale, and Doucette went on to sign a seven-record deal with Atlantic Records. Their new label introduced them to Adam Gaynor and Kyle Cook, and Matchbox 20 was formed.
What Is Matchbox Twenty Doing Now?
While we haven’t heard much from Matchbox Twenty in the past decade, they’re still alive and well. There have been rumors throughout the years of another album from them. However, it wasn’t until September 2021 that Rob Thomas discussed releasing a new album.
The band’s official Twitter tweeted in June 2022 that it was coming. Unfortunately, when the album will be released remains to be seen. If you’re anticipating this release, keep an eye on their social media accounts.
Matchbox Twenty had a tour planned for 2020. But after multiple cancellations, the band is planning to hit the road in 2023. Fans are crossing their fingers that none of the complications of the previous few years will change those plans.
In the meantime, Rob Thomas has been raising money for the charity he and his wife started, Sidewalk Angels Foundation. The foundation supports charities helping animals. In addition, they’re attempting to raise public awareness about violent crimes against animals.
A Great Band With Long-Lasting Hits
Matchbox Twenty served as the anthem for many millennials. Their authentic and transparent lyrics detailed feelings and emotions that listeners found relatable. Unfortunately, the band experienced some drama in their early days, causing the original band to split.
Tabitha’s Secret is no longer around. But Matchbox Twenty appears to have an exciting future that a new generation of music enthusiasts get to enjoy.
What’s your favorite Matchbox Twenty song? Let us know in the comments below.