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Top 100 Songs From the 90s


20. Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
Courtesy Arista Records

The original version of this song was written and recorded in stunning fashion by Dolly Parton. Whitney Houston's version was included on the soundtrack to her film The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner. This recording of "I Will Always Love You" became the biggest pop hit of all time. One of pop music's most beautiful voices met one of the most stunning ballads ever written, and it made history.

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19. Deee-Lite - "Groove Is In the Heart"

Deee-Lite - Groove Is In the Heart
Courtesy Elektra

In a dance-happy pop environment, this trio swept in with a classic that still sounds half-retro, half-contemporary and completely groovy. "Groove Is In the Heart" effortlessly glides across genres from hip-hop to house and funk. Guest musicians including Bootsy Collins, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, and A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip boost the party atmosphere. This was THE song of summer 1990.

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18. 4 Non Blondes - "What's Up?"

4 Non Blondes - What's Up?
Courtesy Interscope

"What's Up?" seemingly appeared out of nowhere becoming a neo-folkie, hippie hit first on modern rock radio stations and then crossing over to pop. Although it only reached #11 on the pop chart, it has been a fixture on pop radio stations ever since. The group 4 Non Blondes never duplicated the success of this hit, but lead vocalist Linda Perry has become a successful songwriter and producer.

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17. Madonna - "Vogue"

Madonna - Vogue
Courtesy Warner Bros.

It was not really part of any album project. It was added on to the I'm Breathless album of Dick Tracy - related material. "Vogue" was also significantly late in spotlighting the underground world of "voguing" (Malcolm McClaren made it there earlier), but this song is possibly the most perfect dance song Madonna, the most successful dance artist of all time, has ever recorded. The acclaimed David Fincher video wraps up a stunning pop-dance package.

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16. Mariah Carey - "Fantasy"

Mariah Carey - Fantasy
Courtesy Columbia Records

Using Tom Tom Club's instrumental track from "Genius Of Love" as backdrop to Mariah Carey's effortlessly soaring vocals was a stroke of genius. This romantic gem remains the best single recording of Carey's phenomenal career.

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15. Cher - "Believe"

Cher - Believe
Courtesy Warner Bros.

No one really doubted Cher would eventually make another comeback, but this time it was with the biggest hit of her entire career. "Believe" is a perfect piece of dance-pop, and it took the entire world by storm. More dance hits followed in its wake and a farewell concert tour that lasted more than 3 years. Cher is certainly someone who believes in "life after love."

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14. Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

Proclaimers - (I Wanna Be) 500 Miles
Courtesy Chrysalis

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" was originally released in 1988, but upon its inclusion in the Benny and Joon movie soundtrack, the energetic pop-rock tune became a hit and is now a classic. The Proclaimers are the Scottish duo of Craig and Charlie Reid. Their music is an energetic, infectious brand of pop-rock with influences from their Scottish background.

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13. Boyz II Men - "Motownphilly"

Boyz II Men - Cooleyhighharmony
Courtesy Motown

This remains one of the best ever autobiographical songs by a pop recording artist. "Motownphilly" details the group's discovery by Michael Bivins, of New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe fame, and their first taste of stardom. The a capella break is simply gorgeous.

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12. Coolio - "Gangsta's Paradise"

Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise
Courtesy Tommy Boy

Prior to 1995, Coolio was mostly known for lighter, more humorous rap that provided an alternative to West Coast gangsta rap. The rivetingly atmospheric "Gangsta's Paradise" was such a shift in focus that Coolio's record label decided to leave it off his own solo album and instead put it on the soundtrack to the film Dangerous Minds. When released as a single, "Gangsta's Paradise" became one of the biggest hits of the year spreading its social commentary on ghetto life from coast to coast.

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11. Sheryl Crow - "All I Wanna Do"

Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do
Courtesy A&M

With the words "This ain't no disco. It ain't no country club either. This is L.A.," the world was introduced to the neo-folkie, irresistible pop of Sheryl Crow. "All I Wanna Do" unfolds lyrically like a mini-movie. Thanks to Crow's artful word paintings, the listener receives a luminous picture of the adventures of Sheryl and "Billy" "until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard."

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