Rap star the Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) was tragically gunned down in March of 1997. His recording partner Puff Daddy (now known as Diddy) put together this moving memorial with Smalls' widow Faith Evans and the vocal group 112. It memorably samples the Police classic "Every Breath You Take" and became a favored memorial track of the late 90s.
In March 1990 Gloria Estefan, her husband, and her son were all injured when a truck struck their tour bus. Gloria suffered a fractured vertebra and was unable to tour for a year. The accident and long recovery inspired this gorgeous hit ballad. "Coming Out Of the Dark" swiftly became one of the top inspirational pop hits of all time.
Although 17 #1 hits have followed in its wake, this was the world's first introduction to the voice of Mariah Carey. Echoes of the influence of Whitney Houston are evident, but the sheer power and swooping highs are Mariah's own. This debut still ranks as one of her very best recordings.
It's ironic that a gentle ballad became the breakthrough hit for a band best known for blending classic uptempo funk with alternative rock. The song emerged out of lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis' struggles to overcome heroin addiction. After the addiction destroyed a number of his personal relationships, Kiedis' reflected on his relationship with the city of Los Angeles itself. "Under the Bridge" made it all the way to #2 on the pop singles chart."
After their dramatic success with The Joshua Tree and an epic concert tour of the U.S., U2 completely reinvented their musical style on the album Achtung Baby. Glorious pretensions gave way to some of the sexiest funky rock of the decade. "Mysterious Ways" features sinuous guitar work from The Edge and gospel-influenced vocals from Bono that drive home one of U2's most uninhibited pop-rock songs on record.
Soul Asylum shot to the top of the ranks of alt-rock bands with this folkish classic. The video for "Runaway Train" was accompanied by advertisements about missing children serving a powerful public service. Many alt-rock fans abandoned Soul Asylum as having sold out to the mainstream, but pop fans pushed "Runaway Train" to #5 on the chart, and it became a well-deserved classic.