Jon B. feat. Babyface – “Someone to Love” – (1995)

The dramatically goateed Jon B. had a #32 hit on the Hot 100 in 1995 with this duet with Babyface. It was included on the Bad Boys soundtrack and that was what caused it to be such a hit. Babyface was the driving force behind R&B in the 1990s, writing and producing over 25 #1 R&B hits. Having him included on your track was almost a guarantee for success. Kind of like Pharrell right now.

Gerald Levert & Eddie Levert Sr. – “Already Missing You” – (1995)

Eddie Levert was the lead singer of the O’Jays in the 1970s and his son Gerald was a songwriter and performer in his own right who was also a member of LSG (with Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat) in the 90s. With his father, Gerald released two albums (one posthumously). Father & Son was released in 1995. This song peaked at #7 on the R&B chart in 1995. Gerald died at age 40 in 2006.

Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson – “Scream” – (1995)

This is a brother and sister duet. Many people think Michael Jackson peaked in the 80s and while that might be true, his stuff from the 90s was awesome. At the time, this was the highest debuting single on the Hot 100 ever – jumping in at #5 (where it peaked). It’s about the tabloids that were all over Michael after his alleged child abuse among other things. It was nominated from a Grammy and one of the best remembered things about this song was the video. It was considered the most expensive music video ever made – costing over $7 million in 1995. Which is insane. In all reality, it’s probably more memorable than the song itself.

The Real McCoy – “Run Away” – (1995)

Sigh. 90’s Eurodance, how I miss you. This style of music is proof that the 90s were a happier time than now (even if the lyrics here are “Run away if you want to survive”). In a day when house music is pretty much the norm on mainstream radio, I can’t imagine how this ever became so popular in the mid-90s. I mean, it reached #3 on the Hot 100. For that brief period between summer of 1994 and the end of 1996, Eurodance became one of the 90s brief flashes of a very specific genre that would burn out really quick (I’m looking at you, Swing Revival).

AC/DC – “Ballbreaker” – (1995)

“Ballbreaker” was the title (and final) track on AC/DC’s 1995 album. This is the only song I’ve ever heard from this album, and it was never a single (the album had three singles and only one of them charted). In any case, this is not AC/DC’s best work – but the album is still certified 2x platinum (that’s over two million sales) by the RIAA. Which is crazy. AC/DC is one of the biggest selling musical acts in history and it’s no wonder – whatever they put out people buy.

20 Fingers feat. Gillette – “Mr. Personality” – (1995)

God, Gillette is so obnoxious. It’s really hard to think of another artist who can be so nerve-grating. The main vocals aren’t so bad – but when she raps – or even worse, when she laughs, it just makes me want to throw something at my speakers. That said, this song certainly has a certain catchiness to it. And that’s all this song really is – a catchy chorus and then Gillette yelling “yo mama” jokes at you. It’s like an insult song. But that was kind of 20 Fingers’ shtick: catchy pop/dance tunes (they were Dutch) accented by “humorous” lyrics. Things are open to interpretation almost 20 years later.

#13 – Tina Turner – “Goldeneye” – (1995)

This really is one of the better Bond themes. It just happens to come from my favorite Bond film. If you watch the music video for this, Ms. Turner looks a little ill – or maybe it’s confused. Or maybe she just really doesn’t want to be there at all. But the vocals are solid and the song was written specifically for her by Bono and The Edge of U2. This song also ran up the charts all over Europe, making it one of Tina Turner’s biggest international hits.

Toni Braxton – “Let It Flow” – (1995)

Waiting to Exhale was a 1995 movie starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. The soundtrack, written in large part by Babyface, featured two #1 hits and a number of top ten hits. This was one of those #1s. It was a huge soundtrack and the movie went pretty big as well. This is not my favorite Toni Braxton song by any stretch but it isn’t horrible. Babyface could certainly write songs – and hits – in the mid-1990s. But this one seems slow and fairly dated. It was also released on Toni’s 1996 album Secrets.

4PM – “Sukiyaki” – (1995)

Like 90s slow jams? Because here’s an average one. “Sukiyaki” was a #1 single in 1963 for Kyu Sakamoto. It had been covered man times over the years, but in 1994 it was covered by 4PM (which stands for “For Positive Music” and not a time). The lyrics were in English and had been written for a different cover done in 1981. The song has an a cappella feel – the music is very light and there’s a lot of finger-snapping and harmonizing. 4PM is not Boyz II Men, though they’re trying.

Bryan Adams – “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” – (1995)

This is about as mid-nineties as this little list is going to get. This song was featured in the movie Don Juan DeMarco with Johnny Depp. The melody of the song is used throughout the film, as are Spanish versions of the song – which has a very Spanish feel (and, now that I’m listening to it, no 80s-feeling whatsoever). The flamenco guitar is really good (performed by Paco de Lucia). It was a #1 on the Hot 100 and released again in 1996 on Adam’s album 18 Til I Die.

Dog’s Eye View – “Everything Falls Apart” – (1995)

Dog’s Eye View was a one-hit wonder in the immediate post-grunge alternative rock scene. You don’t hear this on the radio anymore but you used to hear it all the time in the mid-to-late-90s. The lyrics are really good and their delivery is even better. And the music just screams of the era. If you’re a fan of The Wallflowers, the Counting Crows, the Gin Blossoms or any similar band – then this is a song you must hear. You’ll remember it.

#4 – Smashing Pumpkins – “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” – (1995)

This is the most well-known song from the Smashing Pumpkins. Starting with the lyrics: “The world is a vampire” and continuing through the chorus, “despite all my rage I’m still just a rat in a cage.” It was the lead single from the fun sounding album Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness, hitting #22 on the Hot 100 and becoming a top five hit on the Mainstream and Modern Rock charts. This song appears on multiple “Top Lists” from the likes of VH1 and Rolling Stone. There’s no denying it’s an awesome song and one of the best rock songs of the decade.

#6 – Presidents of the United States of America – “Lump” – (1995)

“Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh, totally motionless except for her heart. Mud flowed up into Lump’s pajamas. She totally confused all the passing piranhas. She’s Lump, She’s Lump, She’s in my head.” This is a rocking song by PUSA, another great Seattle band. The lyrics are bizarre to some extent but there is no mistaking that the music is awesome. It also inspired on the better Weird Al Yankovic parodies – “Gump” about Forrest Gump.

#16 – Bush – “Glycerine” – (1994)

Sixteen Stone was one of the best rock albums of the decade. It came out in December of 1994 and it launched Bush as a major rock group in the immediate post-grunge era. As they were British, they never really fit into the grunge era that is so readily identified by American bands of the upper Northwest. This was the fourth single from the album (released as a single in late 1995) and it’s amazing. It’s a weird mix of alternative rock and slow-dance ballad. There are cellos where the drums should be. Gavin Rossdale’s lyric delivery is spot-on. (I was halfway through writing this post for “Comedown,” when I realized we’ve already featured that song… so go listen to it as well!). This was a #1 on the Modern Rock chart and #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart as well as being in the top 30 on the Hot 100.

#26 – Marilyn Manson – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – (1995)

The version of “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics is a staple of 80s pop radio. So when someone (who looks as he does in the photo at left) comes along to remake it, purists will no doubt freak out. As strange as Marilyn Manson looks and as strange as the antics of the band on stage and their music, I have to admit that this version of this song is pretty awesome. It’s not terrible. They didn’t butcher an 80s classic – they made their own version of it. The lyrics differ a little here and there but the style of its performance is different. They really shouldn’t be compared (although it’s inevitable). I guess this might be the song they are most known for by people outside of the realm of Marilyn Manson.

#27 – Garbage – “Stupid Girl” – (1995)

Released as a single in March of 1996, “Stupid Girl” where it became more or less immediately popular, reaching #2 on the Modern Rock chart and #5 on the Hot Dance Music chart. It has that very 90s mix of alternative rock and electronica. Shirley Manson’s awesome vocals (and not just on this track) were possibly the best female rock vocals of the decade. This track includes a sample of The Clash’s “Train in Vain” but I’ve always found it difficult to hear. Why pick apart a good song?

#35 – Seven Mary Three – “Cumbersome” – (1995)

“I have become cumbersome to my girl – too heavy too light, too black or too white, too wrong or too right…” The first single from Virginia-based post-grunge rock band Seven Mary Three was their biggest. This song topped the Mainstream Rock chart and continues to receive a fair amount of airplay today. In fact, as recently as 2005 I remember hearing this song so frequently on rock radio stations that, had I not know, would have assumed that it was a brand new track.

#49 – White Zombie – “More Human than Human” – (1995)

White Zombie was a heavy metal band fronted by Rob Zombie and this is their best-known song. Again, this song charted in the top 10 on both American rock charts (I sense this will be a continuing trend so I’ll go ahead and explain the difference: the Mainstream Rock chart charts songs played on radio stations that play primarily rock. It’s been around since 1981. The Modern Rock chart (now called “Alternative Songs”) is somehow different, listing the Top 40 most-played songs on modern rock radio stations. The difference is pretty thin, but I guess it’s there). Anyway, this is about as heavy as our chart is going to get (sorry, no Slipknot) and this song has been featured in many movies and TV shows such as the 90s movies The Cable Guy and Can’t Hardly Wait. Yes, we realize this is a strange song to publish on Valentine’s Day.

#50 – Green Day – “Brain Stew” – (1995)

Green Day more or less carried the mainstream punk rock flag through the 90s. Yeah, they had help from The Offspring and, later, Blink 182, but as far as commercial success goes, Green Day wins the war. Insomniac wasn’t the first album from Green Day that had commercial success (that would have been Dookie the previous year) – in fact, “Brain Stew” was the only track of note from this album (go ahead, Green Day fans, tell me why I’m wrong). “Brain Stew” received a fair amount of airplay, becoming a top ten hit on two different rock charts (Mainstream and Modern).

So yes, we’re on another countdown. It’s the Top 50 Rock Songs of the 90s. Over the next 10 weeks we’ll be counting down 50 rock songs from 50 different artists (yes entry on the list per artist, again). We’ll be looking at different kinds of rock – grunge, metal, some heavier rock, some pop-ier rock, some from bands associated with the 80s, some punk and some one-hit wonders. And none of these songs will be repeats from out Top 200 of the 90s list.

Scatman John – “Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)” – (1995)

Well, I hope you aren’t easily annoyed. This is the most famous song by Scatman John (born John Paul Larkin) who came up with the idea to combine scatting with mid-90s electronica. The lyrics (there are lyrics other than “be bop do boo do bop”) deal mostly with stuttering and how to turn it into being able to sing really fast and make up sounds as you go. After a few radio stations picked it up, sales spread and it hit #1 in a handful of European countries and was a top ten dance track in the U.S. “If the Scatman can do it, then so can you.”

Oasis – “Don’t Look Back in Anger” – (1995)

Well I figured since I was still on “London” that I had to include something from Oasis, as I count them as the quintessential “British band” of the last 20 years (sorry, Jamiroquai). As you’ll notice by the date of Monday’s post, I was in London on the 4th of July. I saw once instance of fireworks but that was it. It was tempting to buy an American flag and go running around town but I figured that by this point they’d probably be pretty happy to have gotten rid of the U.S. I had to pick an Oasis song because it was the one band that I kept listening to in the U.K., but since I’ve already covered “Wonderwall” on our 90s countdown, I went for another big single from What’s the Story (Morning Glory)? (although I almost went for “Lyla”). I find the song to be a mix of “Wonderwall” and “Stop Crying Your Heart Out,” the latter of which I’ve seen described as an “epic weepy” and this is kind of the same thing. The “So Sally can wait” portion of the chorus is quite the hook. Very good song.

#2 – Collective Soul – “December” – (1995)

The opening guitar here is so distinct that you have to recognize it immediately. Then the drums kick in and Ed Roland starts singing “Turn your head, now, baby just spit me out.” In fact, every time Ed Roland sings that, it should make you happy because it’s awesome. Collective Soul’s other big 90s hit that didn’t make the list was 1993’s “Shine.” It was off the album Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid – and I am immensely proud of myself for figuring out what the title of that album is referring to on my own. Originally I had “December” as #1 but it didn’t seem quite right. I felt like I needed a huge song to top the list. So, see what you think.

#3 – Deep Blue Something – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – (1995)

A one-hit wonder this far up on the list? Yep. This song is about a man about to break up with his girlfriend because they’ve got nothing in common – except that they both like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Chorus: “And I said, “What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” She said, “I think I remember the film, yes and as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it.” And I said, “Well, that’s the one thing we’ve got.” This song hit #5 in the U.S. (and #1 in the U.K.) and is one of those songs that no one really knows who sang it (unless you know your stuff or happen to love this song as much as I do). It is great because people distinctly remember this song – it hasn’t been completely forgotten like a number of other songs on this list.

#4 – Hootie & the Blowfish – “I Go Blind” – (1995)

When I found out this song was a cover, I was heartbroken. Here I was ready to award Hootie & Co. the award for best songwriters ever and I find out my favorite song of theirs was written by a Canadian rock band called 54-40. The agony. Truth be told, I’ve never listened to that version because I don’t want it to tarnish the memories I have with this song. However good the original version may or may not be, this version is great. It was never released on a Hootie studio album (it made the greatest hits CD). It was originally released on Friends: Music from the TV Series. The guitar in this song is infectious and so is Darius Rucker singing “Every time I look at you I go blind.” Far and away my favorite Hootie track and a serious contender for the top spot on this list.

#6 – Mariah Carey feat. Boyz II Men – “One Sweet Day” – (1995)

The #1 single on the Hot 100 on January 1, 1994, was “Hero” by Mariah Carey (4 weeks total). On January 1, 1995, it was “On Bended Knee” by Boyz II Men (also for 4 weeks). And on January 1, 1996, “One Sweet Day” was #1. But it stayed at the top spot for 16 weeks. Sixteen weeks. That’s almost a third of a year. It still holds the record for the longest time at the top. It also set a few other Billboard records, like making Mariah Carey the first person to have multiple debut #1’s (she’s got 3 so far). Mariah has 18 number one hits. That’s more than Elvis and second only to The Beatles (20). And this song was the biggest of them all. There is no question that Mariah Carey can do things with her voice that most people can only dream of. And when you combine that with the talent that was Boyz II Men, you’ve got some serious vocal firepower on tap. Some of Mariah’s other big 90s hits: 1994s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” 1991s “Can’t Let Go,” and 1997s “Honey.”