Ah, the 90’s. The decade that was dominated by crop tops, slap bracelets, frosted tips, and choker necklaces. The times we would sit in our blowup furniture and listen to the newest songs of our favorite boy band or girl group on our portable CD players. Even if you didn’t grow up in the 90’s, you have heard the popular music. Backstreet boys, ‘N Sync, Spice Girls, Mariah Carey—the list could go on and on.
The final years of this decade introduced us to the Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera rivalry, HitClips, and punk rock groups like Blink-182 that paved the way for the 2000’s. The 90’s saw the rise of one hit wonders and hundreds of different artists and groups gained this title. Artists such as Hanson, Eiffel 65, and Lou Bega are known to most of us as only having one famous song. Some groups and artists that we associate as one hit wonders have other songs or even CDs, but these aren’t nearly as popular as their one song we all know.
With hundreds of one hit wonders, it may be difficult to know them all unless you're a 90's music fanatic. Do you think you can recognize some of the most famous one hit wonders of the 1990’s based on a single lyric?
"But when I sprung the question, she acted kind of strange, then when I asked, do ya have a man, she tried to pretend"
This song was technically released in 1989 but didn’t reach its spot as #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 until 1990, classifying it as a one hit wonder of the 90’s. The chorus of this hip hop song is recognizable because it interpolates Freddie Scott’s “You got what I Need.” The music video is well known for the artist singing this famous chorus dressed as Mozart, wig and all. This song displays the artist's pain when he sees a girl he likes kissing a man she claimed was no one special. Do you know this one hit wonder song?
"I said, hey boy sittin' in your tree, Mummy always wants you to come for tea"
This upbeat song is from an Irish girl group and it became a hit around the world. This song is most known for being in the soundtracks of a few of our favorite 90’s and early 2000’s shows and movies including Life-Size, Daria, and Smart House. This song can easily be taken for just a bubbly pop song with a bunch of lyrics that don’t really make sense together, but it’s actually full of innuendos and puns that have double meanings. Do you know this one hit wonder?
"When you get old and start losing your hair, can you tell me who will still care?"
If the lyrics to the chorus were the ones used for this question, you’d get the song right in a split second. This song blew up the charts, even becoming number one in twenty-seven countries. It was the debut single for this band and was on their first album released in 1997. The song has a deeper meaning once you get past one of the catchiest choruses of all times. The song discusses holding on to the things that matter in your life that will always be there even when everything else is gone. What is this one hit wonder?
"He drinks a Lager drink, he drinks a Cider drink, he sings the songs that remind him of the good times"
This one hit wonder is another example of a song having a hidden meaning to the lyrics that most people don’t realize. This song has a political theme despite being the song used in the advertisement for FIFA World Cup ’98. The title of this song references a slang word for a person that jumps on the bandwagon, typically a politician. Despite its fame and message, Rolling Stones ranked it at number twelve of the 20 Most Annoying Songs ever. What one hit wonder is this?
"When I'm working, yes I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who's working hard for you"
Pop culture would not be the same without this song by a Scottish duo. In 1993, it was featured in Benny & Joon which made the song blow up. It was number three on the Billboard Hot 100 during that summer and has been a part of our lives ever since. Any How I Met Your Mother fans will recognize this song as being the cassette tape that is stuck in Marshall’s car and repeats itself over and over on his and Ted’s road trips. This song was also used during Matthew’s flash-mob proposal to April in Grey’s Anatomy. What is this one hit wonder?
"I do ought to fall in love with a girl like you cause you can't run, you can't hide, you and me gonna touch the sky"
This song played at every birthday party after its release and took over the radio. It actually is a cover and was originally recording and composed by Dámaso Pérez Prado back in 1949, which explains the jive vibe of the song. The video uses this vibe by having women dressed as flappers and has the feel of older movies. This song became so popular that Disney picked the song up and created a version with names of Disney characters used in place of the names of women in the songs. What is this one hit wonder?
"So no one told you life was going to be this way."
This is a song that we all know the chorus to and know when to clap at the right time. This one hit wonder comes from a band that has a few other albums, but because of this song becoming the theme to one of the most popular shows ever many people only associate them with this song. The music video features the stars of the show taking over the band and performing the song themselves. What is this one hit wonder?
"Strictly hip hop boy I ain't singing this, bringing this to the entire nation"
This one hit wonder is from a man that luckily didn’t stop being relevant after the 90’s. We know him now as an action and comedy star and is one of the biggest heartthrobs of Hollywood. The video shows him as a twenty-year-old working out while taking breaks to dance and kiss some girls. This isn’t the actor's only song but it is the one we associate with his rapping and music career days. What one hit wonder is this?
"I give you my love, but you don't care, so what is right and what is wrong? Gimme a sign"
If you love Steve and Doug Butabi, you know this song well and always find yourself moving your head to the beat. This song was released in 1993 and hit number eleven on Billboard’s Hot 100. In 1994, worldwide sales reached over 2.6 million. It became a staple song from the 90’s and has been sampled in more recent songs. Eminem and Lil Wayne used this one hit wonder for their song “No Love.” What is this one hit wonder?
"She said, 'I think I remember the film, And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it'"
This one hit wonder tells the story of a couple that almost broke up because they didn’t have anything in common. The singer of this song, mentions a movie that they both like and wants to try to fix their relationship, even though this is all they have in common with each other. Even using a well-loved movie didn't promise good reviews. Some critics believed the song didn’t have any musical appeal. The band was never able to get a song to do better than this hit, so they became a one hit wonder. What is this song?
"Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite"
Countless movies and television shows have used this 90’s smash hit, including She’s Out of my League, Losers, New Girl, and Girls. Any New Girl fans will recognize this song as the song Jess's dad serenades his new girlfriend with. He even rewrites the song's lyrics to ask her to marry him. This artist wrote the song based off when he tried to get the prettiest girl in school to date his stepbrother. He admitted to being blown away by her when they were talking and was in awe of her beauty. What one hit wonder is this?
"His eyes was his tools and his smile was his gun, but all he had come for was having some fun"
This is another song from the 90’s that will never leave your head when you hear it. This 1995 single samples a traditional American folk song but puts its own unique spin on it. You can hear this song at almost every school dance or wedding and even has a dance to go along with it that everyone seems to know. It has been known as being one of the worst songs from the 90’s, despite its fame. What one hit wonder is this?
"'Cause I'm a model, you know what I mean And I do my little turn on the catwalk"
There is no doubt that almost everyone has heard this one hit wonder at least once in their life. It’s one of those songs you remember immediately when you think of one hit wonders from the 90’s. The artist admits that the song came from a joke that started when working out at a gym. The artist noticed other gym goers posing in the mirrors and seemed to be narcissistic. They wrote an indie rock song about it but it got turned into a dance track instead when it didn’t get picked up by record companies. In 2013, the original artists re-recorded the song for The Smurfs 2 movie. What is this one hit wonder?
"They all want me, they can't have me so they all come and dance beside me. Move with me, chant with me"
There is no way any one can argue that this isn’t the ultimate one hit wonder of the 90’s. This song is still popular today at weddings, dances, and parties. It is number seven on the Billboard’s All Time Top 100 list which shows how popular this hit is. The song was reworked with the Bayside Boys’ help and lyrics in English were added. This version spent fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart which is one of the longest runs ever. It stayed in the Hot 100 chart for an impressive sixty weeks! The song and its dance became popular when then dance was shown being done at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. What is this huge one hit wonder?
"I thought I saw a man brought to life. He was warm, he came around like he was dignified"
This one hit wonder is an all-time pop hit, even though it is a cover of a different artist’s song. This 1997 cover earned the artist a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance but ultimately lost to Celine Dion. The music video is unique and unlike others because of it being filmed in one continuous shot. At the end of the video, the audience learns that the couple that appeared to be fighting were actors who were messing up their lines. What is this one hit wonder?
"So take this wine and drink with me and let's delay our misery"
The artist of this song has a unique name and surprisingly it is not a stage name. The Swedish artist’s song reached number five and rose on the charts in many other countries. Eagle-Eye Cherry isn’t a stranger to music since his dad was a famous jazz man. The music video for this song is a continuous take and the artist plays a large majority of the characters, making it stand out to other 90's music videos. What is this one hit wonder?
"She calls my name, pulls my train, no-one else could heal my pain"
This one hit wonder doesn’t have many lyrics to it but it is still one of the most iconic 90’s songs. The song was rumored to be about the use of heroin because of a few of the lyrics hinting towards it. These rumors were put to rest by some of the ex-members so it is safe to say this song is just about a girl that the boy likes. This song has been used in many soundtracks such as The Parent Trap and Girl Interrupted. The most popular use of this song was in the pilot episode of Gilmore Girls. What is this one hit wonder?
"And himself and everybody around 'cause he ain't got nobody to listen"
This 1999 hit is typically not thought of as being a serious song because of its nonsensical chorus. This dance song is the first big hit to use auto-tune and has a beat we all remember. The music video is mostly animated besides when the band is shown being abducted and forced to put on a show for the aliens. Critics have not always appreciated this song and it is number 14 on the Billboard's 20 Most Annoying Songs chart.
"You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation"
This song is one of the most popular songs from the 90's even if it is a one hit wonder. The band has had success with some of their songs in other countries, but none came close to the popularity of this song. This band got in legal trouble with a popular toy brand for the tarnishing of their biggest product but the case was dropped due to free speech. It's safe to say this is one of the most hated and loved songs of the 90's. What is this one hit wonder?
"The car is in the front yard and I'm sleeping with my clothes on"
Pop punk rose in the end of the 90's and grew even bigger in the early 2000's. This song has been referred to as power pop and has been mistaken as Blink-182. The success of this one hit wonder helped the album it was from become certified platinum. Even with the success of the album’s sales, this is the band’s only major hit. The song is about having too much to drink the night before and then waking up to things being messed up. What is this one hit wonder?
"And everything is to the back with a little slack 'cause inside-out is wiggity, wiggity, wiggity wack"
The artists beyond this one hit wonder were only twelve and thirteen years old when this song dropped. In 1992, it was the third best-selling song and sold over two million physical copies. It also stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for eight weeks. Not too shabby for two boys that young. These two boys were known for their unique clothing style and wore their pants backwards, which they referred to as being “totally crossed-out.” What is this one hit wonder?
"So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits. I hope you have found a friend"
This band wrote this song to play at the end of their sets and wanted it to be a way to complete the show. In 1999, it was nominated for the Grammy for Best Rock Song. Professional sporting events began using it to wrap up the game and have everyone leave. This song has been in countless movies and television shows including in an episode of the Office. Andy Bernard ends each day by singing this to his employees and walking them out of the office. The lead singer of the band has admitted that he enjoyed this use of his song. What is this one hit wonder?
"And of course you can't become if you only say what you would have done, so I missed a million miles of fun"
Rolling Stone has this one hit wonder at number 33 on their list of “Best Summer Songs of All Time” which is fitting because of this song’s upbeat sound. The lyrics of this song were written after a band member left a rave and based it on certain things that happened there. He wanted the song to have a man and woman singing alternating lines and had his sister record it with him on an 8-track half inch recorder. The music video was filmed themselves and only had 100,000-dollar budget, which was mostly used on alcohol. There was no script or plan for the video and the artist and his friends went around Daytona Beach and filmed themselves doing fun things. What is this one hit wonder?
"You want to come down to the underground old school? Here's a shovel, can you dig it, fool?"
This 90’s party hit is especially known for being played at sporting events and many brands have used it in their advertisements by changing a few words to fit their product. It reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1993 and had constant mixed reviews. It has been rumored that Barack Obama appeared in this video because a man who looks very like him was an extra in it. This song has been used in many movies and television shows while the most popular is its use in Elf. Will Ferrell's character dances on the table in the mail room that he works in when he mixes a certain something into his coffee. What is this one hit wonder?
"Well I never pray, but tonight I'm on my knees, yeah. I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me"
The band behind this one hit wonder faced legal troubles from The Rolling Stones for sampling the orchestral version of their song “The Last Time.” The band faced plagiarism charges and had to give songwriting credits to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. This song blew up in 1998 when a Nike commercial used it during the NFL playoffs. This song rose 34 spots within two weeks of the commercial’s premiere and has been a 90’s favorite ever since. What is this one hit wonder?