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Top 10 Pop Songs of 1999


The year that closed out the decade and the millenium was a year of great music. Dance music, Latin beats, and major comebacks were all part of the big musical stories of the year. The song that topped them all, however, marked the emergence of a phenomenal pop personality.

1. Britney Spears - "...Baby One More Time"

© Jive Records

She first gained national notice as a member of The New Mickey Mouse Club on Disney's cable network, but it was as a pop singer that Britney Spears became the most watched celebrity in the world. Her first single "...Baby One More Time" is a brilliant piece of pop music. It's catchy, sexy, and it sports a mildly controversial video certain to keep people talking.

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2. Santana featuring Rob Thomas - "Smooth"

Santana featuring Rob Thomas - Smooth
Courtesy Arista Records

"Smooth" genuinely appeared out of left field. Who would have thought legendary Latin guitarist Carlos Santana would record one of the biggest pop hit singles of all time? Add to that - who would have thought the vocalist would be the lead singer for post-grunge band Matchbox 20? It did happen and "Smooth" deserved the sales and acclaim. In 2005 Rob Thomas, the lead vocalist with Matchbox 20, proved his performance on "Smooth" was no fluke with a stellar solo album ...Something To Be.

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3. 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 three years. Cher is certainly someone who believes in "life after love."

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4. Ricky Martin - "Livin' La Vida Loca"

Ricky Martin - Livin La Vida Loca
Courtesy Columbia

Among Latin audiences, Ricky Martin was a household name by 1999 having begun his career many years before as a lead singer with the legendary teen group Menudo. With "Livin' La Vida Loca" the English-speaking world found out what they had been missing. It's irresistibly sexy and nearly impossible to listen to without moving the body.

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5. Lauryn Hill - "Doo Wop (That Thing)"

Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)
Courtesy Columbia

After the far too early breakup of the Fugees, the music world waited impatiently for Lauryn Hill's first solo effort. The wait was worth it. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is one of the top albums of the decade and "Doo Wop (That Thing)" is a brilliantly tuneful dissection of sexual politics from the point of view of both genders.

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6. TLC - "No Scrubs"

TLC - No Scrubs
Courtesy LaFace

The r&b trio TLC electrified the pop music world with their phenomenal album Crazysexycool released in 1994. Then it was a long 5 year wait for the next installment. Fortunately, Fan Mail was nearly as good as its predecessor. "No Scrubs," the leadoff single, is picture perfect late 90s R&B.

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7. Whitney Houston - "It's Not Right, But It's Okay"

Whitney Houston - It's Not Right But It's Okay
Courtesy Arista

By the time the 90s headed toward a close, it had been eight years since the last new Whitney Houston studio album. Music industry legend Clive Davis coaxed her back into the studio for a new set and the resulting album My Love Is Your Love has some of her best work. "It's Not Right, But It's Okay" is a hard-hitting anthem for women on the way out of relationships that sounded great on the radio or on the dancefloor.

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8. Backstreet Boys - "I Want It That Way"

Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way
Courtesy Jive Records

"I Want It That Way" is simply one of the great ballads in pop music history. It gave the Backstreet Boys the perfect opportunity to let their polished voices shine and became one of their biggest hits.

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9. Marc Anthony - "I Need To Know"

Marc Anthony - I Need to Know
Courtesy Columbia

The success of Ricky Martin early in 1999 opened the door for other Latin pop vocalists. One of the most talented is Marc Anthony. "I Need To Know" was the perfect vehicle to land his gorgeous voice on the radio airwaves.

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10. Sugar Ray - Every Morning

Sugar Ray - Every Morning
Courtesy Atlantic

Sugar Ray's feel-good music is one of the pure pleasures of 90s pop music. This tale about a girlfriend who "has a halo hanging from the corner" of her four-post bed is instantly recognizable and memorable.

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