Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1997: A Look Back

Today, we continue on with the summer songs were filling our ears two decades ago. Last week, I brought you the top 10 seasonal ditties of 1987. If you missed that post, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1987-a-look-back/

As I’ve done with these posts previously, I’m personally rating each of them on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer fire). I’m also answering the important question as to whether each track is located in my Apple Music catalog.

Before we delve into the top 10, I must say that when I looked up Billboard’s chart I expected to see Will Smith’s “Men in Black”, the theme song to 1997’s highest grossing picture. Surprisingly, it was nowhere to be found but in case you wanted to put on your nostalgia goggles and watch the Fresh Prince groovin’ with an alien, here you are:

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the songs that were constantly playing on our radios and CD players 20 years ago:

10. “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony

While I expected Mr. Smith’s movie hit to be in this list, I had plain forgotten about Cleveland rap group Bone’s track that appeared on the Batman and Robin soundtrack. I guess the movie itself isn’t the only forgettable thing about the fourth Caped Crusader flick. While Bone has had some classics (“Tha Crossroads”, “1st of tha Month”), this isn’t one of them.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

9. “Do You Know (What It Takes)” by Robyn

Swedish pop star Robyn scored her first of two top 10 singles stateside with this uptempo dance hit (her second was “Show Me Love”). The fact that I had to look it up to remind myself of it means it’s a bit of a throwaway, but my head was nodding along to it and it’s got a little Britney Spears vibe pre-Britney. This makes sense because it was co-produced by Max Martin, who went on to make massive hits for Britney, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and many many others.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase

The second single from Biggie’s Life After Death album (released just weeks after his murder), “Mo Money” is a Puff Daddy confection that samples the Diana Ross classic “I’m Coming Out”. It would have sounded perfectly at home on Puff’s hit album from that summer, but it hits a high note when Christopher Wallace’s fierce rap closes it out.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Say You’ll Be There” by Spice Girls

For those who didn’t live through the Spice revolution, the British girl group were a massive sensation and this is on the higher end of their pop hits. They even went the movie route six months after this topped the charts with Spice World, which performed well worldwide despite mostly scathing reviews.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

6. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

This cut from San Francisco rockers Third Eye Blind was inescapable two decades ago. It may be a perfectly sounding pop concoction, but it’s actually about crystal meth addiction. Woo hoo! Truthfully, I found this song rather grating back then and still do. It was featured prominently in American Pie two summers later.

My Rating: 5

It Is On My Apple Music? No

5. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison

British hip hop artist Morrison had his one hit wonder with this anthem and it’s a darn catchy one that still resonates today. It was even recently featured in a Burger King commercial!

My Rating: 9

It Is On My Apple Music?: Yes

4. “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” by Backstreet Boys

Also produced by the aforementioned Max Martin, this is Backstreet’s first chart topper in the United States. Is it their best? No, that easily belongs to “I Want It That Way”, but it’s a good pop tune.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “MMMBop” by Hanson

The Oklahoma brothers had an absolute smash with the ubiquitous “MMMBop”. It received critical raves as well. I’ll fully admit this a song I would turn off today, but I liked it too back in the day.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

2. “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks

This female empowerment track by Oregon songstress Brooks was inescapable as well. It doesn’t touch top tier Alanis as far as I’m concerned, but it’s easy to belt out the chorus. It would be prominently featured three years later in the Mel Gibson rom com What Women Want.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

1. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112

Puff Daddy’s tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. with an assist from his widow and Bad Boy label mates 112 was an absolute juggernaut that spent 11 weeks at #1. Sampling The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, it was a powerful track coming so soon after Biggie’s demise. Truth be told, it’s also rather mawkish and doesn’t hold up nearly as well today but I sure dug it then.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it, folks! I’ll be bringing you the 2007 list very soon…

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…

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/26/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1986-a-look-back/

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…

 

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 20-11

The Top 20 has arrived in my personal Top 90 hip hop singles of the great 1990s decade! Please feel free to peruse my other entries by scrolling through the blog or clicking the Music tab to review numbers 90-21. We’ll get to the Top 10 tomorrow (!), but here are the fabulous tracks comprising nos. 20-11:

20. “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs n Harmony (1996)

The Cleveland rap group’s tribute to their founder, Eazy-E, was a soulful summer anthem of 1996.

19. “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D and the Boyz  featuring Aaron Hall (1991)

This Teddy Riley produced dance hit marked a career highlight from the late Heavy D… and his Boyz.

18. “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest (1992)

The brilliant hip hop group had their best known track with this banger that featured an amazing verse from one Busta Rhymes.

17. “Regulate” by Warren G. featuring Nate Dogg (1994)

Fantastically sampling Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin'”, Warren G and Nate Dogg burst onto the west coast scene with this classic from the Above the Rim soundtrack.

16. “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

The first single off 1997’s Life After Death found Biggie rapping over a sample from Herb Alpert’s groovy “Rise”.

15. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes (1997)

Mr. Rhymes has given us plenty of terrific rap tunes, but this first single of his When Disaster Strikes album is his finest hour.

14. “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z (1998)

Shawn Carter is one of the few MC’s alive who could take a sample from Annie and make it relevant to his music. And did he ever!

13. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” by Missy Elliot (1997)

Our first taste of the incredible collaboration between Missy and producer Timbaland, this is an impossibly infectious groove from the best female rapper we’ve likely ever seen.

12. “So What’cha Want” by the Beastie Boys (1992)

So many unforgettable tracks, yet the Boys second single from their Check Your Head project is perfect.

11. “What’s My Name?” by Snoop Dogg (1993)

Mix Dre’s production with Snoop’s natural flow and this first single from his debut smash Doggystyle has everything you’d want.

Top Ten tomorrow, friends! Until then…

Top 90 Hip Hop Songs of the 1990s: Nos. 60-51

Today we roll into part 4 of my personal top 90 hip hop singles of the 1990s. If you missed the first three parts covering numbers 90-61, you can check them out here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/23/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-90-81/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/24/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-80-71/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/25/top-90-hip-hop-songs-of-the-1990s-nos-70-61/

Alright, onto the next ones!

60. “Dre Day” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (1993)

The second single off Dre’s brilliant Chronic album also featured a very memorable video dissing former NWA partner Eazy-E.

59. “Money, Power, Respect” by The Lox featuring DMX and Lil Kim (1998)

This Bad Boy label group had their signature tune with this banger with assists from DMX and Lil Kim.

58. “Gimme Some More” by Busta Rhymes (1998)

Mr. Rhymes can usually be counted on for great beats (this one samples the Psycho theme) and imaginative videos. This one has both and then some.

57. “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde (1993)

This rap foursome hit #1 on the charts with this groove.

56. “Warning” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

One of Biggie’s most hard hitting and creative tracks from his debut Ready to Die album.

55. “1st of tha Month” by Bone Thugs n Harmony (1995)

The Cleveland group had one of their giant singles with this unforgettable ode to welfare checks.

54. “Natural Born Killaz” by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube (1994)

Dre and Cube reunited for the first time since NWA for this fantastic song from the Murder Was the Case soundtrack.

53. “Ditty” by Paperboy (1993)

It may have been his only big hit, but Paperboy delivered a wonderful one with this catchy tune… or ditty, if you will.

52. “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (1991)

The second best song with the name “Good Vibrations”, it’s still awesome and it’s definitely Marky’s finest hour at the mic. He would go onto a storied movie career. The Funky Bunch did not.

51. “Cell Therapy” by Goodie Mob (1995)

This Atlanta based group (which includes Cee-Lo) created a masterpiece here. This is Mob’s only single that cracked the top 40.

And that’ll do it for now, friends! We’ll get into the top 50 tomorrow…