107 Best 90s Songs

Best 90s Songs

The 90s were a decade best defined musically as “anything goes.” You could hear grunge, hip-hop, and pop on any popular radio station. There were crossover hits from the R&B and country charts hitting big on the pop charts!

So it’s no surprise that this list of the best songs of the 1990s includes a little bit of everything.

Contents

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Song Year: 1991

This song is the first single from Nirvana’s second album, the track that launched them into popularity. It’s one of the most important songs of the 90s for how it helped grunge hit the mainstream. Lead singer Kurt Cobain died just three years after releasing the song.

“Everlong” by Foo Fighters

Song Year: 1997

After losing his lead singer, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl recorded an album by himself. He said it was by “Foo Fighters” because he wanted people to think it was a whole band. The demos were a hit, and Grohl eventually did hire musicians to form a full band. “Everlong” is from the second album and quickly became one of the band’s best-known songs.

“Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears

Song Year: 1998

Critics credit “Baby One More Time” as one of the best songs of the 90s for how it revitalized teen pop. The song hit the charts around the world and remains one of the top-selling singles ever. The catchy lyrics had innovative dance moves in the video that grabbed teens’ attention and sent Britney Spears into stardom.

“Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah

Song Year: 1998

Some of the best 90s songs come from movie soundtracks. “Are You That Somebody” was a hit single from the Dr. Dolittle soundtrack in 1998. The song was a hip-hop and pop crossover. Aaliyah won a Grammy for this song, which features a rap by Timbaland.

“Tearin’ Up My Heart” by NSYNC

Song Year: 1998

NSYNC was just one boy band that ruled the 90s. “Tearin’ Up My Heart” was their second single but is one of their most recognizable songs. It became a global hit, reaching the top 10 in many countries. The song was first offered to the Backstreet Boys, who turned it down because they had their own hits, as you’ll see next.

“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by Backstreet Boys

Song Year: 1997

The Backstreet Boys released “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” as a single from their second international album, but they hadn’t yet released an album in the United States. They thought it would be strange to have a song implying they’re back when they hadn’t yet debuted in America, but they released it as the third US single, and it was an instant hit.

“No Scrubs” by TLC

Song Year: 1999

TLC released two strong albums before “FanMail” came out in 1999. “No Scrubs” was the first single, with lyrics about dating standards. Chilli sings lead for the first time, sharing what she looks for in a man and what she won’t accept.

“Wannabe” by Spice Girls

Song Year: 1996

Spice Girls were a British pop group who sang empowering music. “Wannabe” was their first single, released before their debut album. The song, about valuing friendships over romance, hit the charts around the world and helped the group become known for girl power.

“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

Song Year: 1997

“My Heart Will Go On” is another 90s hit from a soundtrack. Celine Dion recorded this song for the movie Titanic. Though Dion didn’t write the song herself, it’s now one of her best-known songs due to her signature vocal power. The Recording Industry Association of America included it as one of the Songs of the Century.

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

Song Year: 1998

Aerosmith formed in the 1970s but never had a number one hit until “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” The song was on the soundtrack to Armageddon, a blockbuster movie in the summer of 1998. The songwriter, Diane Warren, wanted Celine Dion to sing it, but the rock band took it instead.

“This Kiss” by Faith Hill, A Top Song Of The 90s

Song Year: 1998

Faith Hill is a country star who had a crossover hit with “This Kiss.” The song hit the pop charts in 1998 and charted around the world. The lyrics are about falling in love and the excitement that comes along with first kisses. The song’s upbeat tempo matches the lyrics perfectly.

“The Way” by Fastball

Song Year: 1998

“The Way” is more than just a catchy rock song—it’s a true story. Singer Tony Scalzo read a story about an older couple leaving home to go to a nearby festival. The wife had Alzheimer’s, and the husband was recovering from brain surgery. Their crashed car was found weeks later, hundreds of miles away from where they were trying to go.

“Closing Time” by Semisonic

Song Year: 1998

“Closing Time” is a ballad about people leaving a bar at the end of the night. Singer Dan Wilson later said it was also about his impending fatherhood. If you read the lyrics thinking about a baby’s birth, they become meaningful in an entirely new way.

“All Star” by Smash Mouth

Song Year: 1999

“All Star” was the last song Smash Mouth recorded for their second album, but they released it as the first single. They were on the brink of becoming a one-hit wonder since their first album’s singles didn’t do well, besides “Walkin’ on the Sun,” but this track launched them back into superstardom. You’ve probably heard this song in Shrek, which came out two years later.

“Who Will Save Your Soul” by Jewel

Song Year: 1996

Jewel’s first single was enough to make her a star. It wasn’t only her first hit but also the first song she ever wrote. She was hitchhiking in Mexico and felt so alone that she wondered who would help her if she needed it.

“Intergalactic” by Beastie Boys

Song Year: 1998

Beastie Boys released four previous albums of rap rock hits before “Hello Nasty,” the album that includes “Intergalactic.” The single became a big hit around the world, partially because the music video is so silly and memorable. It has Godzilla vibes, except the dueling characters are a huge robot and an octopus-like creature.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor

Song Year: 1990

Prince wrote and recorded “Nothing Compares 2 U,” but Sinéad O’Connor made it her own. You can feel the emotion in her voice as she sings about how it feels to be abandoned by your lover. The video is a simple close-up of O’Connor as she sings, and the emotion on her face is real tears.

“Rusty Cage” by Soundgarden

Song Year: 1991

“Rusty Cage” is one of Soundgarden’s most popular songs. Chris Cornell sings about his anger feeling trapped in a cage, and it’s been locked away for so long that the cage has grown rusty. He’s reached his breaking point and is eager to run away. Johnny Cash recorded a cover in 1996, with a slower tempo that helped it become a country hit.

“Breakfast At Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something

Song Year: 1993

Deep Blue Something is a one-hit wonder, but their hit went to number five on the Billboard charts, so it made a major impact. The lyrics address a couple breaking up, and the singer is trying to find something they have in common to save the relationship.

“I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts

Song Year: 1995

Many people don’t know the title of this 90s hit, instead identifying it as the Friends theme song. The show’s producers first asked to use a R.E.M. song for the theme, but the band said no. The Rembrandts recorded the song just for the show, then added extra verses and re-recorded it to put on their album.

“Barbie Girl” by Aqua

Song Year: 1997

“Barbie Girl” is a novelty pop song by the Danish group Aqua. The song pokes fun at Barbie and Ken dolls, which angered the doll producer Mattel, who sued the band. Mattel thought the song positioned Barbie as a sex object, but the courts found that the definition of a parody protected the lyrics.

“MMMBop” by Hanson

Song Year: 1997

“MMMBop” was Hanson’s first single from their debut album. It hit number one in many countries around the world and is still the band’s biggest single. Though the chorus sounds like nonsense, the song is actually about prioritizing things that matter most to you.

“Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera

Song Year: 1999

Christina Aguilera is another 90s pop princess that offers something a bit different from Britney Spears. Aguilera brought R&B elements to her music and wasn’t a fan of her pop hit initially. She wanted to stick to her Latin roots and come out as a serious musician, but producers told her this single would get her name out there. She recorded a Spanish version as well.

“Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin

Song Year: 1999

Ricky Martin is another Latin star that ruled the pop charts in the 1990s. Martin was a member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo before launching a solo career in Latin America. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” was his first English-language single and hit number one on charts around the world.

“You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain

Song Year: 1997

Shania Twain was a popular country singer before scoring a crossover hit with “You’re Still The One.” She was tired of the press criticizing her relationship with her much-older husband, so they wrote the song together to show that they truly loved each other.

“Nice & Slow” by Usher

Song Year: 1997

“Nice & Slow” was Usher’s first number one song. The R&B ballad follows the popular style that created crossover hits throughout the 90s. Usher raps in the middle of the song to show off his signature vocals. The video shows the story of a man and woman preparing for a romantic date.

“I Swear” by All-4-One

Song Year: 1994

“I Swear” was a hit for R&B group All-4-One just a year after John Michael Montgomery landed on the country charts with the same song. Both songs sound very different, though the lyrics are unchanged, with the narrator pledging his love to his partner.

“I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole

Song Year: 1996

Like The Rembrandts, as mentioned earlier, Paula Cole gained attention when her song “I Don’t Want to Wait” was used as a theme song. She recorded it for her second album, and the show Dawson’s Creek used it as a theme a few years later.

“Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin

Song Year: 1996

Shawn Colvin released her fourth album as a concept album. She was getting a divorce and wanted to record an album about the changes she was going through. The song tells the story of a woman returning home after being away, the implication that she was imprisoned for murder.

“I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men

Song Year: 1994

Boyz II Men released this song as the first single for their second album. It was a huge hit for them, staying on the charts for 14 weeks and earning the group a Grammy. Though the song is an R&B ballad, it was a crossover hit on the pop charts.

“Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia

Song Year: 1997

The song “Torn” was a Danish hit before it became Natalie Imbruglia’s breakout single. It hit number one on the charts around the world and earned her a Grammy nomination, though she lost to Celine Dion’s hit “My Heart Will Go On.” The lyrics are about a woman who fell in love with a man but didn’t see his true colors until it was too late, and she was already heartbroken.

“Come to My Window” by Melissa Etheridge

Song Year: 1993

Melissa Etheridge publicly came out as a lesbian in the early 1990s, and this song was her first hit after the fact. The lyrics provide a little insight into her LGBT activism, saying there’s no reason for other people to care about who she loves.

“Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Dogg

Song Year: 1992

“Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” is the biggest single from Dr. Dre’s first solo album, “The Chronic.” The song hit number two on the Hot 100 and stayed at number one on the hip-hop charts. Countless rappers have sampled this song since its release, using it to create their own hits.

“Da’ Dip” by Freak Nasty

Song Year: 1997

Freak Nasty is a one-hit wonder, despite this single coming from his second album. It wasn’t a popular R&B or rap song, but a year after its release, it soared to the top of the Hot 100 chart. The simple lyrics explain how to dance so everyone can get out on the floor when the song plays.

“Song 2” by Blur

Song Year: 1997

This song has minimal lyrics and is best known for the vocalizations at the beginning of the track. Frontman Damon Albarn wrote the song as a joke and suggested it as a single. He was surprised when the producers agreed, and the song then flew to the top of the charts and won the band all sorts of awards.

“In the Meantime” by Spacehog

Song Year: 1994

This alternative single was the biggest hit for the British band Spacehog. Singer Royston Langdon says the song is about searching for your true self and accepting yourself. Like Blur’s “Song 2,” you probably recognize this track from the lead singer’s opening vocalizations.

“Wonderwall” by Oasis

Song Year: 1995

“Wonderwall” is one of Oasis’s most popular songs. The lyrics tell the story of an imaginary friend who can help save you from yourself. In 2020, the song became the first single from the 90s to hit one billion Spotify streams, proving that the epic track is timeless.

“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails

Song Year: 1994

Nine Inch Nails is an industrial rock band, but this single hit the Hot 100 chart and brought the band commercial success. The lyrics are far from upbeat as they’re about self-hatred, but many people misinterpret it as a song about lust.

“Freak of the Week” by Marvelous 3

Song Year: 1998

Marvelous 3 was an indie pop-punk band from Atlanta, shifting their focus after their glam hair band failed to reach commercial success. Though they released several albums, “Freak of the Week” was their biggest single, reaching number five on the Billboard charts.

“Back That Thang Up” by Juvenile

Song Year: 1998

This track is also known by its uncensored title, “Back That Azz Up,” but both versions got significant airplay on both mainstream and hip-hop radio stations. The song helped launch the career of Juvenile’s bandmate Lil Wayne.

“C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” by Quad City DJs

Song Year: 1996

Despite repetitive lyrics, this catchy dance song hit number three on the Billboard Top 100 chart. It became a popular choice to play at sporting events, earning it the title of “jock jam.” The album version of the song is over seven minutes long, so a radio edit condensed the track to four minutes.

“Brick” by Ben Folds Five

Song Year: 1997

“Brick” is an alternative rock song that ranked highly on popular music charts in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. The lyrics are about teenagers needing to get an abortion and how much it impacted them. Despite the subject matter, the song isn’t political.

“Sober” by Tool

Song Year: 1993

“Sober” was Tool’s first single, and it immediately garnered them attention for their unique sound. The lyrics are about someone who doesn’t feel complete or creative unless they’re drunk. The song is serious, but the video uses stop-motion animation to share the story.

“Until It Sleeps” by Metallica

Song Year: 1996

Grunge wasn’t the only type of rock music popular in the 1990s. Heavy metal bands like Metallica scored hits that crossed over from the rock charts to the mainstream Billboard charts. This song is about singer James Hetfield’s mother battling cancer. It was the first pirated MP3, which pushed Metallica into lawsuits about music piracy.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve

Song Year: 1997

The Verve is a British rock band that achieved worldwide fame with this single from their third album. The band sampled an instrumental version of a Rolling Stones song, which brought them legal troubles. As a result, Rolling Stones members are now listed as songwriters for this track.

“Because of You” by 98 Degrees

Song Year: 1998

NSYNC and Backstreet Boys are two of the standout boy bands from the 90s, but you can’t overlook 98 Degrees. The band had several hits, including this one. It’s about how the singer’s lover makes him feel refreshed and gives him a reason to live.

“Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child

Song Year: 1999

Destiny’s Child turned the girl groups of the 90s upside down with their dance moves and hip-hop vibes. This single from their second album solidified their reputation and earned them countless awards. The lyrics have a woman accusing her partner of cheating and not taking his lie as an answer.

“I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans

Song Year: 1997

This single samples the song “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. Puff Daddy used that song’s chorus as a jumping-off point to write about the death of his musical partner, The Notorious B.I.G. The song was number one in the United States for 11 weeks, the longest-running record for a hip-hop song at the time.

“Crush” by Jennifer Paige

Song Year: 1998

“Crush” reached number one on many international charts but peaked at number three in the United States. The upbeat pop song writes off feelings as a crush instead of love. At the time, rumors swirled that the song was about Joey Fatone from NSYNC, but Paige denies that.

“Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine

Song Year: 1992

Rage Against the Machine released “Killing in the Name” as their first single, making a huge impact on the airwaves. The protest song has lyrics about race riots and police brutality, ensuring it stays relevant over the years.

“The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica

Song Year: 1998

Brandy and Monica were stars in their own rights, so teaming up for this duet meant they had a huge smash on their hands. The women sing back and forth about who’s really dating one man. Brandy wrote the song after watching episodes of the Jerry Springer Show.

“Loser” by Beck

Song Year: 1994

Beck released “Loser” as a single when he had an independent record deal, and the song was enough to get him signed with Geffen Records. The song hit the top ten on charts around the world. Due to its popularity, he released it on his first major album as well.

“Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)” by Pras

Song Year: 1998

Pras, a member of Fugees, recorded a solo album with some help from his friends. Ol’ Dirty Bastard from the Wu-Tang Clan raps on this track, and Mya also sings along. Since it samples “Islands in the Stream,” songwriting credit includes the BeeGees.

“Alive” by Pearl Jam, One Of The Best Songs Of The 90s

Song Year: 1991

Pearl Jam is a hybrid grunge and alternative band, which means they have a broad audience, and their singles crossed over to many charts. “Alive” was their first single about a boy finding out that the man he thought was his dad isn’t. It mirrors how singer Eddie Vedder grew up, which explains the emotion behind the lyrics.

“Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins

Song Year: 1995

This song was the Smashing Pumpkins’ first top 40 hit in the United States, and it stayed on the chart for weeks. It also won a Grammy Award and remains one of the best rock songs according to critics, MTV, and VH1.

“The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” by Missy Elliott

“The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” by Missy Elliott

Song Year: 1997

Missy Elliott’s debut features a pounding beat by Timbaland and a sample of the Ann Peebles song “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” It charted on the R&B list as well as the Hot 100. Over the years, this song has been sampled by other hip-hop artists.

“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

Song Year: 1997

“Semi-Charmed Life” is Third Eye Blind’s debut single and went to the top 40 in several countries. It’s still the band’s most popular single, though critics initially thought the scatting during the chorus would get old for listeners.

“Ironic” by Alanis Morissette

Song Year: 1996

“Ironic” is Alanis Morissette’s best-selling single, peaking at number four on the Billboard charts. The lyrics share several instances of when things went wrong in an ironic manner. The video showed each story from the song and went on to win several MTV Video Music Awards.

“Selling the Drama” by Live

Song Year: 1994

Live released two albums before “Selling the Drama” came out as a single, but it was their first number one hit. Singer Ed Kowalczyk said the song is about bands realizing they have a platform and should use it to spread positive messages because everyone is listening.

“Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio

Song Year: 1995

This single is another that was included on a movie soundtrack. It appeared in “Dangerous Minds,” but Coolio also released it on his own albums. It hit number one on the Billboard charts and remains one of the greatest hip-hop songs, according to VH1 and NME.

“Candy” by Mandy Moore

Song Year: 1998

Mandy Moore was a teen singer who didn’t find the same success as Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, but still made catchy music. Her debut single “Candy” earned her a spot on NSYNC’s tour in 1999.

“Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots

Song Year: 1992

“Plush” was Stone Temple Pilots’ second single, but it was their first number one single and still remains one of their most popular songs. Scott Weiland wrote the song after reading about a dead body. Police identified it as a girl who had been kidnapped years before.

“Hold On” by Wilson Phillips

Song Year: 1990

The debut single from Wilson Phillips was an immediate hit, getting to number one and winning awards for the single of the year. The lyrics refer to suffering through a bad relationship while battling substance abuse, hence the idea of holding on and taking things one day at a time.

“Macarena” by Los Del Rio

Song Year: 1996

This single kicked off a dance craze that sent the song to number one. It was initially released in Spanish, but the English-language version became the biggest hit. The band enjoyed a massive hit with this song, but never had another single hit the charts.

“Santeria” by Sublime

Song Year: 1996

Sublime is a ska band that had a mainstream hit with this single. It peaked at number five on the charts. The lyrics are about a guy wanting to get revenge on the man who stole his girlfriend. After daydreaming about violence, he decides to find a new girlfriend instead of taking action.

“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins

Song Year: 1992

Sophie B. Hawkins’ debut single hit number five on the Billboard charts and the top ten in countries around the world. Hawkins said she wrote this song about a narrator who saves someone from an abusive relationship.

“Creep” by Radiohead

Song Year: 1992

Radiohead’s debut single is about feeling uncomfortable with yourself. Singer Thom Yorke said he never felt masculine enough when approaching women. He wanted to share that feeling in a rock song that wasn’t brutal and over-the-top, like a lot of heavy metal at the time. Despite the sadness of the song’s tone, it’s meant to be a happy song about accepting yourself.

“Vogue” by Madonna

Song Year: 1990

Madonna wrote this song about the vogue dance style, but the lyrics encourage listeners to dance however they feel like it. It’s meant to provide an escape. Critics call this song an anthem and one of the best singles of Madonna’s career.

“Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer

Song Year: 1994

“Say It Ain’t So” was the last single released from Weezer’s debut album. Rivers Cuomo wrote the music first and tried to think of lyrics when the titular phrase came to him. He started writing about being a teen and worrying that his parents’ marriage was failing due to alcohol.

“Pony” by Ginuwine

Song Year: 1996

“Pony” was Ginuwine’s debut single and sent him high up the R&B and Hot 100 charts. Timbaland produced the single, and it marks his production debut. The catchy song appears in many video games and movies. Artists sample the song, with the most notable instance the recent TikTok mashup with Britney Spears’ song “Toxic.”

“My Love Is the Shhh!” by Somethin’ for the People

Song Year: 1997

Somethin’ for the People hasn’t had another single besides “My Love Is the Shhh!” in 1997. The song samples a song by the Motown group The New Birth. The lyrics address a person confident in what they have to offer a partner. They advise their lover not to cheat or think they can do better. Instead, they should prioritize the singer and her needs.

“Fantasy” by Mariah Carey

Song Year: 1995

Mariah Carey had several singles before “Fantasy” and many after, but it’s one of her best-known songs. The lyrics are about a woman fantasizing about her crush. The song was a hit on its own, and a remix includes raps by Ol’ Dirty Bastard to make it a crossover hit. That remix put Carey on a path to integrate more hip-hop into her music.

“The Sign” by Ace of Base

Song Year: 1992

Ace of Base, a Swedish group, was big in Europe before “The Sign” hit the top of the charts in America. It went to number one in countries around the world, as did the titular album. The lyrics are purposely ambiguous, allowing listeners to shape it for what they need. Most common interpretations involve looking back at a past relationship or changing your path in life.

“Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite

Song Year: 1990

“Groove Is in the Heart” is Deee-Lite’s debut single and cemented its place in the pop genre. Critics recognize the song as a modern-day classic. Though the lyrics are original, the music includes samples from Herbie Hancock and Vernon Burch. The song has a funk feel, making it a hit on the dance floor.

“No Diggity” by Blackstreet

Song Year: 1996

Blackstreet released an album as an R&B group, but their first single from the second album was a crossover hit. It knocked “Macarena” from the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100. The band originally didn’t like the song, but eventually appreciated the impact it made on R&B and pop music.

“Too Close” by Next

Song Year: 1997

“Too Close” is Next’s best-known single because it hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B charts. The lyrics are about a man dancing with a woman at the club and getting turned on by her moves. Group members said that the situation happened to them one night at a club, and they went home, talked about it, and started singing the song.

“Down” by 311

Song Year: 1995

The band 311 released two albums before “Down” came out as a single. It was their first number one hit and broadened their audience. The catchy song has lyrics about the band thanking all the fans that helped them get to their level of success. They were a small band from Nebraska suddenly dealing with massive fame, and they were appreciative.

“Step by Step” by New Kids On The Block

Song Year: 1990

New Kids On The Block were the most popular boy band before Backstreet Boys and NSYNC entered the scene. This single from their third album is their best-selling song. Each band member sang one of the steps. Hardcore fans know that the song is actually a cover, first recorded by The Superiors.

“Keep the Faith” by Bon Jovi

Song Year: 1992

This song was the lead single from Bon Jovi’s fifth album. The bass is the standout instrument on this track, immediately recognizable as the song begins. The lyrics address global problems like war and living through struggles. Parents reassure their kids to keep the faith and hold on to make it through another day.

“Freedom! ‘90” by George Michael

Song Year: 1990

George Michael added “90” at the end of the song title to ensure listeners knew it was different from his previous single, “Freedom,” recorded with his old band, Wham! He samples James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” on this upbeat hit.

“Escapade” by Janet Jackson

Song Year: 1990

“Escapade” was the third single in a string of seven hits from the album “Rhythm Nation 1814.” All seven songs charted in the top five, and “Escapade” went to number one. They had an upbeat track and needed lyrics to go along with it. They liked the sound of the little-used word and crafted lyrics that let the title shine.

“Longview” by Green Day

Song Year: 1992

Green Day put out two albums before “Dookie,” but “Longview” was their first single. It became an instant hit, and the video was constantly on MTV. The lyrics are about feeling bored and sitting around the house with nothing to do.

“Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill

Song Year: 1998

Lauryn Hill had success with Fugees before recording a solo album. It’s her only number one hit and one of the only singles to reach number one that was written, produced, and recorded by a woman. The song was a crossover hit on the R&B and Top 100 charts.

“Turn the Beat Around” by Gloria Estefan

Song Year: 1994

“Turn the Beat Around” was a disco hit in 1976. Gloria Estefan covered it for the movie The Specialist and also put it on her own album. The energy of this song inspired Latin dancing, spicing up the track from its original disco roots.

“Baby, Baby” by Amy Grant

Song Year: 1991

Amy Grant’s hit single “Baby, Baby” was on her eighth album. Though the song is meant to be romantic, Grant was inspired to write the lyrics by her newborn baby. Grant became the first Christian musician to have a number one single in the US. The song went to the top ten in many other countries around the world.

“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams

Song Year: 1991

This Bryan Adams power ballad was included in the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves movie. It hit number one in many countries and is still his most recognizable song. The romantic lyrics are about a partner doing everything they can for their lover and asking them to trust in this unconditional love.

“Are You Jimmy Ray?” by Jimmy Ray

Song Year: 1998

This song was an unlikely hit for the British singer Jimmy Ray. It hit number two on the charts. Listeners loved the repetitive lyrics because they sound like “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. The song isn’t really about anything important, but you’ll be singing along before the track ends.

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Song Year: 1992

Whitney Houston recorded this song for The Bodyguard, in which she played a role. The song was previously a hit for Dolly Parton but quickly became Houston’s signature song. The romantic lyrics make this track relatable, but Houston’s emotional vocals make a major impact.

“1999” by Prince

Song Year: 1998

Prince originally released “1999” in 1982, but with the millennium approaching, he re-recorded it in 1998. The song was understandably a hit near the new year. It’s since been remixed and re-released following Prince’s death.

“Jump” by Kris Kross

Song Year: 1992

“Jump” is a hip-hop hit that samples well-known songs by artists such as The Jackson 5, Ohio Players, Cypress Hill, and more. Though the rappers were young, they had impressive lyrics and rap skills. They insist the listeners not compare them to other hip-hop bands because they want to stand on their own merit.

“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf

Song Year: 1993

Meat Loaf’s power ballad is his only number one single. It also earned him a Grammy. Because the album version was 12 minutes long, producers cut it down to five minutes for radio play. Meat Loaf claims the lyrics are obvious, but no one is sure what he won’t do for love.

“To Be With You” by Mr. Big

Song Year: 1991

Singer Eric Martin wrote this rock ballad when he was a teenager. He had a crush on a girl who always had mean boyfriends, and he wanted to show her that he could be good to her. The lyrics end on a hopeful note, but in reality, Martin never got to date his crush.

“(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You” by UB40

Song Year: 1993

This song was originally a hit for Elvis Presley in 1961. The UB40 version adds some reggae beats to make it their own. It was a number one single for seven weeks in the United States and was on the soundtrack for Fools Rush In.

“More Than Words” by Extreme

Song Year: 1990

Extreme’s music was funk metal, but you wouldn’t know it by their hit single. It was such a departure from their sound that the band resented the song for a long time. The ballad had huge success because it’s about sharing your love with someone beyond just saying “I love you.”

“Every Morning” by Sugar Ray

Song Year: 1999

Sugar Ray used a unique approach to this pop-rock hit—they added flamenco rhythms to make it stand out. It worked well for them, becoming a number one hit for weeks in many countries. “Every Morning” is still the band’s most-recognized song.

“Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb

Song Year: 1994

This single was on the Reality Bites soundtrack and played over the movie’s ending credits before taking over the radio airwaves. Lisa Loeb wrote the song for Daryl Hall but decided to perform it herself, and it became her first number one hit before she even had a record deal.

“All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo

Song Year: 1997

This single is from K-Ci & JoJo’s debut album and became their biggest hit. JoJo wrote the song about his daughter and originally thought a female singer would perform it, but kept it for his own group.

“Candle In The Wind 1997” by Elton John

Song Year: 1997

This song is also known as “Goodbye England’s Rose” to differentiate it from Elton John’s previous version of the song. He initially wrote it for Marilyn Monroe, but changed the lyrics after Princess Diana’s death.

“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies

Song Year: 1998

Barenaked Ladies are a Canadian band with several albums out before “One Week” became a hit in the United States. Since it’s such a recognizable song, many people think it stayed at number one for a long time, but actually, it was only in that position for one week.

“If You Had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez

Song Year: 1999

Jennifer Lopez had already made a name for herself by the time she released her debut single. The song was a crossover hit thanks to its catchy pop lyrics with R&B and Latin influences. She became one of the most successful actresses to also have a music career.

“Lullaby” by Shawn Mullins

Song Year: 1998

This hit is about the daughter of famous Hollywood stars. She has everything she could ever need, but wants a peaceful life instead. She’s depressed as she struggles to make her life something new.

“Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden

Song Year: 1997

This song was the third single from Savage Garden’s debut, but their first number one hit in the United States. The group recorded the album for eight months, and singer Darren Hayes was away from his family. He missed them so much that he wrote this song.

“Kiss from a Rose” by Seal

Song Year: 1994

This Seal song was in The NeverEnding Story III and Batman Forever, which helped it become a hit. Seal wrote it in 1987, but thought it was too sappy to become a hit. He scrapped the song until his producer needed another track for Seal’s second album.

“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain

Song Year: 1997

Many listeners think “I’ll Be” is a romantic song and use it at their weddings. However, Edwin McCain said he wrote it more as prayer after a breakup. He’s wishing he’ll become the right man and hoping it comes true in his next relationship. The song was such a major hit that McCain recorded an acoustic version for his third album.

“I Need to Know” by Marc Anthony

Song Year: 1999

Marc Anthony was well-known as a Latin singer before releasing “I Need to Know,” so he recorded a Spanish version of the song as well. The song is about a man wanting to know if a woman has the same feelings for him as he does for her.

“Push” by Matchbox Twenty

Song Year: 1996

Matchbox Twenty was a popular band in the 1990s, but didn’t have a number one hit until 2000. “Push” was the second single from their debut and remained one of their best-performing songs. It ranked in the top ten of several Billboard charts despite controversy. Many critics thought the lyrics glorified domestic abuse, though singer Rob Thomas says that wasn’t the intention.

“Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith

Song Year: 1997

Will Smith was a rapper before he started acting and has successfully juggled both roles throughout his career. After making more time for TV shows and movies in the early 1990s, he released his debut solo album in 1997. “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” was his first number one hit.

Best 90s Songs, Final Thoughts

This list of the best 90s songs gives you a taste of many different genres. The songs hit the top of the charts for country, hip-hop, pop, and rock. You’ll recognize songs from TV shows, movies, and constant radio airplay.

Regardless of what type of music you like, you’ll find something to love in the 90s!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you’ve learned will matter if you don’t know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career’ ebook emailed directly to you!

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