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Top 10 Pop Songs of 1997


Many of the top pop hits of 1997 were aimed at making you want to move, with the notable exception of 2 of the most significant pop songs of mourning of all time by Puff Daddy and Elton John. Hanson and the Spice Girls brought bubblegum pop back to the forefront after a long exile from the mainstream.

1. Smash Mouth - "Walking On the Sun"

Courtesy Interscope

The ska-punk band Smash Mouth burst into the spotlight with this catchy slab of 60's-ish psychedelic soul. Unfortunately, the band never quite returned to the glory of this single, but it is one of the greatest tracks of the decade.

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2. Hanson - "MMMBop"

Hanson - MmmBop
Courtesy Mercury Records

The Hanson brothers brought back bubblegum pop in all of its glory. "MMMBop" is catchy, sugary sweet, and irresistible. Just try to avoid singing along.

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3. Shawn Colvin - "Sunny Came Home"

Shawn Colvin - A Few Small Repairs
Courtesy Columbia

Sunny, the protagonist of this folkie story song, comes home with some matters to settle. Parts of this song can send chills up your spine while Colvin's voice gently lulls you back into the story.

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4. Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112 - "I'll Be Missing You"

Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112 - I'll Be Missing You
Courtesy Bad Boy Entertainment

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.

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5. Dave Matthews Band - "Crash Into Me"

Dave Matthews Band - Crash Into Me
Courtesy RCA

Although the lyrics invite ambiguous interpretation, for many this is one of the most unabashedly erotic songs of the decade. Listen and enjoy Matthews' intimate vocals over intricately arranged bluegrass-tinged pop.

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6. Various Artists - "ESPN Presents the Jock Jam"

ESPN Presents the Jock Jam
Courtesy Tommy Boy

This medley will win no prizes for art, but it welds together some of the most popular songs used at sporting events and was nearly inescapable in 1997. Kicking off with the immortal "Are you ready to rumble..." this pop culture artifact is sure to get your blood pumping with snippets from such tracks as "Whoomp! There It Is," "It Takes Two," "YMCA" and "Pump Up the Jam."

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7. Wallflowers - "One Headlight"

Wallflowers - Bringing Down the Horse
Courtesy Interscope

This band, led by Bob Dylan's son Jakob, spent over a year on the pop singles chart with this quiet masterpiece. Jakob Dylan's vocals have an alluring world weariness that could at times be a dead ringer for Tom Petty.

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8. Elton John - "Candle In the Wind 1997"

Elton John - Candle In the Wind 1997
Courtesy A&M

The summer of 1997 seemed to come to a tragic close as Princess Diana died in a horrific car accident. The attention of the world was riveted on her funeral, and Elton John reworked his song "Candle In the Wind" for the occasion. It quickly became the biggest selling single ever worldwide.

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9. No Doubt - "Don't Speak"

No Doubt - Don't Speak
Courtesy Interscope

This song is somewhat of an anomaly in style from much of the rest of No Doubt's work, but it served to make No Doubt's lead vocalist Gwen Stefani a recognizable star. The song's pop hook is irresistible and kept it on the pop chart for most of the year.

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10. Spice Girls - "Wannabe"

Spice Girls - Wannabe
Courtesy Virgin

Even after the years of hype surrounding this all-girl group and its members, "Wannabe" is an exhilarating listening pleasure. "Girl power" from the Spice Girls swept the U.K. in 1996 and then conquered America the following year.

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