Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1996: A Look Back

As I do in the summer on this sweet blog o’ mine, we take you back 30 years and 20 years and 10 years recounting the top ten summer hits of those years. Last week, we kicked it off with the jams of 1986… they’re here if you didn’t catch it…

This week – it’s 1996 and the songs that were playing on your fancy car CD player (or if you were like me, portable CD player into your tape deck) during those hot months some two decades ago. As with the previous entry, you’ll get track my rating to 0 (total summer bummer) to 10 (hot summer fire) and whether or not said track populates my iTunes.

Let’s get to it!

10. “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis

This Welsh singer and one-hit wonder had this poppy concoction that got stuck in all our heads. Catchy? Yes. Eventually annoying? Kind of. Sorta forgettable? Little bit.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

9. “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion

Produced by David Foster and penned by Diane Warren, this is one of Ms. Dion’s most well-known power ballads and for good reason. Her vocals are soaring, as ever. This was actually a giant hit in the spring of 1996 from the soundtrack to the Robert Redford/Michelle Pfeiffer weepie Up Close and Personal and its staying power bled over to the summer months.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My iTunes? No

8. “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey

Now we’re talking! Mariah’s had tons of pop gems, but this Jermaine Dupri produced track from her Daydream album has always rivaled “Fantasy” as my very favorite. It’s just a fantastically constructed song that represents the best of 90s R&B.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My iTunes: Yes (doo-doo-doo…)

7. “Twisted” by Keith Sweat

Mr. Sweat experienced a major career resurgence in the mid-90s and “Twisted” is the memorable and silky slow jam that kicked it off.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

6. “C’Mon Ride It (The Train)” by Quad City DJ’s

One of the highlights of the jock jam craze of the decade, Florida group Quad City DJ’s capitalized in a huge way with this track. Built for sporting events, weddings, and looking stupid dancing in your car, it’s undeniably stays with you.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My iTunes? No

5. “How Do U Want It” by 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo

With an assist on the chorus from Jodeci’s K-Ci & JoJo, “How Do U Want It” was 2Pac’s mainstream R&B tinged rap smash that hit it big the summer before his untimely passing. It’s not one of my very top songs from his magnificent All Eyez on Me album, but it’s still pretty great.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

4. “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman

Eight years after her hit “Fast Car”, Tracy Chapman released the biggest song of her career with this – a perfectly pleasant bluesy ditty.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

3. “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony

The Cleveland rappers rose up to new heights with their rapid fire yet touching tribute to their founder, Eazy-E. Total classic.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

2. “You’re Makin’ Me High” by Toni Braxton

The lead single off her second album, this mid-tempo track from producer extraordinaire Babyface represents Braxton at her best.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

  1. “Macarena” by Los Del Rio

If you’re old enough to remember the summer of ’96, this was undeniably the track you heard the most. It set off a dance craze that had Presidential candidates, soccer moms, your Grandma, and everyone else doing it. I’ll give credit to this Spanish duo for catching lightning in a bottle… even if, like the rest of the world’s population, I thought it got really tiresome eventually.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes: No

And that will do it for now. Next week… 2006 where we will be ridin’ dirty and seeing if our hips lie…


One thought on “Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1996: A Look Back

  1. The Vern

    OH GOD I know a few of these songs and while I can appreciate the effort that went into them I dont like the song., Except the Macarena. That should have never been born


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