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Top 10 Songs of 1991

The Best Pop Hits

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In 1991 dance music continued on a hot streak. A new British invasion introduced bands such as EMF and Jesus Jones to the American pop charts. The grunge revolution was just over the horizon. Step back in time to revisit the top 10 pop songs of 1991.

1. R.E.M. - "Losing My Religion"

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
Courtesy Warner Bros.

With its distinctive mandolin riff, "Losing My Religion" became R.E.M.'s third top 10 pop hit and their biggest yet peaking at #4. It won two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance By a Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best Short Form Video. Peter Buck of R.E.M. said the music of the song emerged from his own efforts at learning to play the mandolin.

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2. Boyz II Men - "Motownphilly"

Boyz II Men - Cooleyhighharmony
Courtesy Motown

"Motownphilly" tells the story of the discovery of Boyz II Men by New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe member Michael Bivins. It blasted the group into the pop spotlight by climbing to #3 on the pop singles chart. The group's gorgeous vocal harmonies soon turned them into one of the top pop acts of the decade. Boyz II Men won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals for their album Cooleyhighharmony which features "Motownphilly."

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3. Gloria Estefan - "Coming Out Of the Dark"

Gloria Estefan - Coming Out of the Dark
Courtesy Epic

The inspirational ballad "Coming Out Of the Dark" was co-written by Gloria Estefan, her husband Emilio Estefan, Jr. and singer Jon Secada. Among the voices in the backing choir are Jon Secada and R&B singer Betty Wright. This was the first single released by Gloria Estefan after suffering a near fatal traffic accident in her tour bus. The recovery experience inspired the song. It became a #1 pop and adult contemporary hit.

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4. C&C Music Factory - "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)"

C&C Music Factory - Gonna Make You Sweat
Courtesy Columbia

"Gonna Make You Sweat" became mired in controversy when the diva vocals of Martha Wash were not credited on the song's release and they were lip-synched in the accompanying music video by Zelma Davis. Martha Wash sued successfully to earn proper credit and royalties for her contribution. Despite the controversy, the power of the recording is undeniable. It was a #1 hit on the pop, dance, and R&B charts.

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6. EMF - "Unbelievable"

EMF - Unbelievable
Courtesy EMI

The loud "Oh!" shout at the beginning of each chorus is the voice of American comedian Andrew Dice Clay. However the group EMF are from England and emerged out of the Madchester dance music scene in Manchester, England. "Unbelievable" with its somewhat chaotic sound leavened by a sweet pop melody and vocals went all the way to #1 on the pop singles chart in the US.

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7. D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince - "Summertime"

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime
Courtesy Jive

D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith turned away from the joke-filled humorous rap of their early hits to a somewhat more serious and universal tone on "Summertime." The result was their biggest hit single. It topped the rap and R&B charts and went to #4 on the pop singles chart winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Single. "Summertime" has become a laidback summer classic.

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8. Jesus Jones - "Right Here, Right Now"

Jesus Jones - Doubt
Courtesy SBK

Jesus Jones were associated with the Madchester dance music scene out of Manchester, England. Their worldwide breakthough single "Right Here, Right Now" speaks about being in the history of the moment. It was inspired by dramatic world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. The song topped the modern rock chart in the US and went to #2 on the pop singles chart.

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9. Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch - "Good Vibrations"

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations
Courtesy Interscope

Mark Wahlberg, aka Marky Mark, is the younger brother of Donnie Wahlberg, a member of New Kids On the Block. He followed his brother on to the pop charts with this single. The song is ultra-catchy and features powerful dance diva vocals from Loleatta Holloway. However, it may be the video which shows off Marky Mark's muscular physique that became one of the biggest factors in the song's success. "Good Vibrations" topped the pop singles chart.

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10. L.L. Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out"

LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
Courtesy Def Jam

After "Mama Said Knock You Out," LL Cool J no longer needed to fear his career was on the wane or he would be considered a sell-out to pop success. The song's most famous line is "Don't call it a comeback / I've been here for years." The song was certified gold, topped the rap chart and landed inside the top 20 on the pop singles chart.

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