The 90’s had amazing music, almost anyone would agree with that. But with all the great music, some of the biggest hits were forgotten in later decades. Here are ten songs that were big hits in their day, but have become forgotten by pop culture today. These songs are hard to rank but I tried to combine the success of the song with how forgotten the artist and song is today.
#10. UB40 – (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love with You
In 1961, Elvis Presley released “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, based on a melody from a French song from 1784. In 1993, British reggae band UB40 covered the song. Their version proved to be a major success, reaching number one in more than 10 countries, including the US and the UK. The song also finished in the top 5 on year-end charts in the US, Australia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. UB40 is one of the best-selling bands in history, having sold over 70 million albums since the band formed in 1978.
#9. Wilson Phillips – Hold On
Wilson Phillips were an all-female band made up of Brian Wilsons’ daughters Carnie and Wendy, as well as Chynna Phillips, daughter of John and Michelle Phillips, from The Mamas & the Papas. Wilson Phillips’ self-titled debut album made them the best-selling female band of all time (at the time), and had three number one singles. The biggest hit was “Hold On”, which Billboard named as their number one single of 1990. Chynna Phillips and her mother became the only mother and daughter to reach number one on Billboard, on separate songs. Wilson Phillips released another, less-successful, album before going on hiatus until 2004, when they reunited, have since released 3 further albums.
#8. Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
Alternative rock band Counting Crows released their debut album, August and Everything After, in 1993. The lead single “Mr. Jones” became a surprise success, reaching number 2 on billboard, and charting across the world. The song describes lead singer Adam Duritz’s conversation with Mr. Jones, with both men dreaming of becoming famous musicians. Mr. Jones has been interpreted in many ways, as being the protagonist to Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”, Duritz’s friend Marty Jones, bassist of The Himalayans, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, or even an imaginary friend.
#7. Weezer – Buddy Holly
“Buddy Holly” was released as the second single from Weezer’s 1994 debut album, The Blue Album. The song mentions the influential namesake rock musician, as well as actress Mary Tyler Moore. It was released on what would’ve been Holly’s 58th birthday. The innovative music video, directed by Spike Jonze, used clips from the 1970’s show Happy Days to make it appear as if Weezer were playing in the show. The memorable ending of the video, which received huge amounts of airplay, uses a body double to show Fonzi dancing to the song.
#6. Real McCoy – Another Night
German Eurodance group Real McCoy released “Another Night” in the summer of 1993, but it would only become a hit towards the end of 1994. The song reached number one in Australia and Canada, and hit number three on Billboard. “Another Night” even made it on Billboard’s Top 100 Songs of the first 50 years of the charts, and was the only song on the list that did not reach the top two. It is the best-selling German single in American history, despite not charting high in Germany.
#5. Dishwalla – Counting Blue Cars
Dishwalla’s only hit single, “Counting Blue Cars” was released in 1996. It received a lot of radio airplay, and charted highly, being ranked in the top 30 of 1996. It also won Billboard’s 1996 “Best Rock Song” award. The song became famous for its chorus, “Tell me all your thoughts on God, cause I’d really like to meet her”, which caused mild controversy. The band got their name from a Hindi term for person who provides cable to a neighborhood. The band found the name in a Wired article, and decided to name themselves after the term.
#4. The Presidents of the United States of America – Peaches
The President of the United States of America (also known as PUSA due to their long name) released their self-titled debut album in 1995. The singe “Peaches” became a surprise hit, charting around the world, reaching number one in Canada, and being nominated for a Grammy. The unusual song describes moving to the country in order to eat canned peaches for free. The video was just as bizarre, showing the band playing in front of trees growing peach cans. Ninjas suddenly attack the band, who eventually win the fight.
#3. Duncan Sheik – Barely Breathing
“Barely Breathing” was written as a “throwaway” track just to complete Duncan Sheik’s self-titled debut album in 1997. The song would go on to become his only hit, and would make him one of the biggest one-hit wonders of the 90’s. “Barely Breathing” won a BMI Award for the Most Played Song of 1997. Despite five later albums, and writing compositions for movies and Broadway, Sheik was never able to even come close to the success of “Barely Breathing.”
#2. Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men – One Sweet Day
Spending an incredible 16 weeks at number one on Bilboard’s Hot 100, “One Sweet Day” is the longest running numer-one single in US history. The song was named the #2 song of 1996, but the top song of the entire decade. It was written about losing a loved one, and meeting them again in heaven, where you realize you’d taken them for granted. The song was heavily inspired by the AIDS epidemic that was gripping the globe at the time. The music video was made up of pieces of the recording process, since the busy schedules of Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men meant the two could not get together to film an actual video.
#1. New Radicals – You Get What You Give
In 1998, New Radicals released the first single off their debut album, “You Get What You Give.” The song became an international hit, and would go on to be played over a million times on the radio in the US alone. The song was praised for its motivational message. However, the lines near end where lead singer Gregg Alexander writes about political messages like “Health insurance, rip-off lying” and slams celebrities Beck, Hanson, Marilyn Manson, and Courtney Love for being fake created controversy. Most of the media attention was focused on the celebrities, which Alexander said he’d written as a test to see if attention would be focused on the political issues or the celebrities.
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