Top Ten Summer Hits of 1998: A Look Back

Each summer on the blog, I recount the top 10 summer hits from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. Last week was 1988 and the sounds of three decades ago. If you missed it, you can find it here:

Today we move to 1998 and the tunes burning up our CD players (if we were lucky enough to have one in our car) 20 years ago. As with previous posts, I rank each track from 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer smash) and reveal the most important truth: is said song on my Apple Music?

Let’s get to it!

10. “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo

We start off quite well with this ballad from K-Ci and JoJo, who originally rose to fame with the R&B group Jodeci. It’s schmaltzy, yes, but in the best way and it gets the job done with the singers expert vocal performances.

My Ranking: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

9. “Crush” by Jennifer Paige

I must confess to having no recollection of this track when I saw it was #9. Listening to it again, it’s a pleasant enough ditty from the one-hit wonder. That said, it’s also rather forgettable.

My Ranking: 6

It Is On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Make It Hot” by Nicole featuring Missy Elliot and Mocha

Timbaland was mostly busy around this time stirring up classics for Aaliyah and Missy Elliot. Yet he concocted this gem for Nicole with assists from Elliot and Mocha. It was her only major hit, but it’s a terrific example of its producer’s wizardry behind the boards.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Come with Me” by Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page

Combine Puff’s love of sampling with the guitar riffs of Jimmy Page’s “Kashmir” and promoting the summer’s unfortunate Godzilla reboot? You get a hit… albeit one that is just as ultimately disappointing as the film in which it appeared on the soundtrack.

My Rating: 5

Is It On My Apple Music? No

6. “My All” by Mariah Carey

Ms. Carey has certainly had her share of powerful ballads. “My All” is an effective one, though I don’t rank it among her most memorable.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes (but mostly because I have her greatest hits and don’t listen to this one hardly at all)

5. “Adia” by Sarah MacLachlan

The Canadian singer is now mostly known for causing you tear up during commercials to help dogs, but she had a string of hits including this one. I’ve never been a big fan and this track does little for me, despite her lovely voice.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “My Way” by Usher

The title track from Usher’s multi-platinum album is a Jermaine Dupri produced banger that spent lots of time being played loudly in my 1987 Ford Thunderbird 20 years ago. Check out Tyrese in the video as well.

My Rating: 9

It Is On My Apple Music?: Yes

3. “Too Close” by Next

An incredibly catchy R&B song from a band that didn’t produce many more hits. This one, however, could still be a massive hit today.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

2. “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain

Another Canadian crooner had her first major crossover hit with this ballad. It moved Twain out of just being known as a country act to one with serious pop appeal.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

1. “The Boy is Mine” by Brandy & Monica

It’s no “The Girl is Mine” by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, but this mid-tempo pop track paired two of the era’s most successful R&B singers to hugely successful results on the charts. Looking back now, I don’t love it (I could list stronger tracks by both Brandy and Monica) but it’s decent.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it! The sounds of 1998 in the summertime…

I’ll return soon with 2008.

Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 10-1

This evening we arrive at the crème de la crème of 90s R&B musical greatness and the final edition of my Top 90 R&B Songs of that decade. I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun going over all these terrific songs and now we’ve arrived at the Top Ten!

To read over numbers 90-11, click on the Music tab of the blog and you’ll find them all there.

Here we go!

10. “Creep” by TLC (1994)

The lead single from TLC’s CrazySexyCool album is a Dallas Austin produced classic.

9. “All My Life” by K-Ci&JoJo (1998)

The duo who originated from the influential group Jodeci made this slow jam which stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for 35 weeks.

8. “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson (1992)

The omnipresent Teddy Riley, who’s produced many tracks on the list, made his best MJ contribution with this one.

7. “Hold On” by En Vogue (1990)

The girl group produced many fabulous singles, but their first is still their best.

6. “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men (1992)

The ballad of the decade spent an at the time record of 13 weeks at #1.

5. “Real Love” by Mary J. Blige (1992)

Queen Mary had her best track among many with this second single from her landmark What’s the 411? album.

4. “Pony” by Ginuwine

Ginuwine’s debut single is a masterwork from producer Timbaland. The track is still highly relevant today and most recently was featured in the hit Magic Mike.

3. “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah

Timbaland strikes again and creates another classic with the late singer, which was featured on the Doctor Dolittle soundtrack.

2. “No Diggity” by Blackstreet (1996)

Teddy Riley once again as his group created this timeless classic featuring rap verses from hip hop genius Dr. Dre and Queen Pen.

1. “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe (1990)

Yes, it was #1 on VH1’s own list of 90s R&B grooves. They got it right. The spinoff group from New Edition created one of the catchiest and undeniable grooves in a track… ever. It still manages to turn the dance floor into a party.

And with that – my list, friends! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I had writing it. At the least, I hope I gave you some songs for your iTunes collection. Signing off in the immortal words of BBD: “Never trust a big butt and a smile.” Until next time!

Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 20-11

We have reached the Top 20 of my personal Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s, with the Top Ten coming tomorrow! For those wishing to peruse my previous entries, scroll through the homepage of the blog or click the Music tab to easily find them.

Let’s get it going!

20. “Back & Forth” by Aaliyah (1994)

The debut single from the late singer’s first album was written and produced by R. Kelly and remains one of her classics, staying at #1 for three weeks.

19. “Bump n’ Grind” by R. Kelly (1994)

This is the sultry track that turned Mr. Kelly into a superstar and it spent 12 weeks atop the R&B charts.

18. “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey (1996)

From her Daydream album, this Jermaine Dupri produced track marks Mariah’s highest hit on my list.

17. “Humpin’ Around” by Bobby Brown (1992)

Bobby’s lead single off his Bobby album is a New Jack Swing classic from mega producers L.A.&Babyface.

16. “Only You” by 112 (1996)

This absolute banger includes rap verses from the great Notorious B.I.G. and Mase.

15. “If Your Girl Only Knew” by Aaliyah (1996)

The first single of her One in a Million album, this was the first time we heard the magic of Timbaland’s production with her voice.

14. “Right Here (Human Nature)” by SWV (1992)

Teddy Riley produced this fantastic track that incorporates Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” with the girl group’s vocals. A masterpiece.

13. “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” by Maxwell

The soulful classic was the debut single from Maxwell’s acclaimed Urban Hang Suite album.

12. “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan (1995)

This one still kills if it comes on the club and Montell’s signature tune spent seven weeks at #1.

11. “That’s the Way Loves Goes” by Janet Jackson (1993)

Ms. Jackson’s first single off her janet album is her most memorable track of the 1990s, where she put out many terrific hits.

Alright folks! Tomorrow: the Top Ten!


Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 50-41

We have arrived at part five of my personal Top 90 R&B songs of the 1990s and that means numbers 50-41 coming at you this evening! If you’d like to see what else has made the list, read my previous entries here:

Let’s keep on moving…

50. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (1992)

You didn’t think I’d leave Ms. Whitney’s signature tune off here, did you? Her smash hit from The Bodyguard soundtrack is prime crank it up when you’re by yourself in the car bliss. And Dolly Parton wrote it!

49. “Lately” by Jodeci (1993)

Not many artists could pull off covering Stevie Wonder, but Jodeci managed excellently with their beautiful version of this classic.

48. “Hey Mr. D.J.” by Zhane (1993)

The group’s biggest hit is a club anthem.

47. “Jerk Out” by The Time (1990)

Prince brought this group to prominence in the 1980s, but this first single off their album Pandemonium has been a personal favorite for quite some time.

***SO, Prince doesn’t let any music he owns on YouTube. Sorry folks!

46. “At Your Best” by Aaliyah (1994)

Aaliyah’s slow jam from her debut album. Get used to seeing her on the remainder of this list.

45. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison (1997)

Mr. Morrison might not have had other stateside hits, but this banger cements his place in history.

44. “My Way” by Usher (1998)

Usher makes his debut on the list with the title track to his fabulous 1997 album.

43. “Weak” by SWV (1993)

This #1 smash was the R&B ballad of summer 1993. This girl group isn’t done yet on the list either.

42. “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJ’s (1996)

This track would still fill up on a dance floor. If you don’t know this one, you need to.

41. “Feels Good” by Tony! Toni! Tone! (1990)

This influential group peaks here with their greatest single.

And that’s our 90s R&B edition for tonight, folks! We’ll get to the Top 40 tomorrow evening!



Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 80-71

We have arrived at Day 2 of my list of personal Top 90 R&B Songs of the 1990s and this means numbers 80-71 coming your way. In case you missed Part 1, you can find it right here:

Let’s go right to it:

80. “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” by PM Dawn (1991)

The soul duo had their largest hit with this jam.

79. “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige (1994)

Ms. Blige had a soulful hit with this cover of the Rose Royce 1970s song.

78. “Water Runs Dry” by Boyz II Men (1995)

The Boyz make their first appearance on the list with Babyface produced slow track.

77. “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters (1994)

Crystal Waters techno/R&B blend hit #1 on the dance chart.

76. “Keep On Walkin” by CeCe Peniston (1992)

CeCe has a number of hits and her signature song is considered “Finally”, but this one has always been my persona favorite.

75. “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston (1993)

Ms. Whitney makes her first list appearance with this David Foster produced ballad from The Bodyguard.

74. “Candy Rain” by Soul for Real (1994)

The boy band hit #1 on the R&B singles chart with this track produced by Poke&Tone and Heavy D.

73. “Tell Me” by Groove Theory (1995)

This male/female duo had their biggest hit with this jam.

72. “One In a Million” by Aaliyah (1996)

The late great singer makes her debut on here with the title track from her critically acclaimed second album which featured the beginning of her groundbreaking collaborations with Timbaland.

71. “The Best Things In Life are Free” by Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson

Featured on the soundtrack to the Damon Wayans comedy Mo’ Money, the Jam&Lewis produced track also features a rap cameo from Bell Biv Devoe.

And that’s all for today, my friends! Back again tomorrow with numbers 70-61!


This Day in Movie History: January 16

10 years ago Today in Movie History – January 16 – marked the release of Along Came Polly, the romantic comedy headlined by Ben Stilller and Jennifer Aniston. The pic would debut to a terrific $27.7 million in its opening weekend, ending the month-long reign of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. With a stellar supporting cast that included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, and a sight impaired ferret, Polly‘s overall domestic haul would eventually stand at $88 million.

Today marks the 66th birthday of director John Carpenter. He is responsible for what I believe to be the greatest slasher flick ever – 1978′ Halloween. There’s also a trio of genre classics starring Kurt Russell – Escape from New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China. Other notables features: Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, Christine, Starman, and They Live.

January 16th would have marked the 35th birthday of Aaliyah. The R&B singer was certainly known more for her musical career, but she was beginning to branch out to film with roles in Romeo Must Die with Jet Li and Queen of the Damned. Aaliyah was tragically killed in a plane crash in 2001.

As for Six Degrees of Separation between the two:

John Carpenter directed Kurt Russell in Escape from New York

Kurt Russell was in Tango&Cash with Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone was in The Expendables with Jet Li

Jet Li was in Romeo Must Die with Aaliyah

And that’s today – January 16th – in Movie History!