The year is 1996. 3rd Rock From The Sun is in its very first season on NBC, the Dallas Cowboys have won the Super Bowl XXX, and the Doritos chick is crowned the 45th Miss USA. The super-smash hit music, Rent, has opened on Broadway, and Nelson Mandela has recently stepped down as president of South Africa. And these tunes were the soundtrack to your life.
1. Mariah Carey- Always Be My Baby
Released March 9, “Always Be My Baby” was Mariah Carey’s 11th song to top the charts, where it stayed for two whole weeks. One of her most classic songs, the hit has been featured on four of her compilation albums, and all my romance fantasies.
2. The Smashing Pumpkins- Tonight, Tonight
Written by frontman, Billy Corgan, “Tonight, Tonight” was the third single off of The Smashing Pumpkins’ third album, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Rolling Stone claimed the tune was “the Pumpkins at their finest,” and it was the most successful track off the album.
3. Quad City DJs- C’mon Ride It (The Train)
Off their album, Get On Up And Dance, “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. A club favorite, it was used as the theme song for the 1996 hit comedy film, High School High, and crowned as the #1 song of 1996 by Village Voice Magazine. It also happened to be the song of choice on New Year’s Eve that year at my parent’s house party.
4. The Wallflowers- One Headlight
Off their second album, Bringing Down The Horse, “One Headlight” was penned by frontman Jakob Dylan, whose famous father Bob might ring a bell. Despite the fact that the song is one of my all-time favorites, it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100. It did, however, win two Grammys in 1998: Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance By a Duo Or Group.
5. Toni Braxton- You’re Makin’ Me high
The lead single off of Toni Braxton’s second studio album, “You’re Makin’ Me High” became her first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/ Hip Hop Songs charts, eventually winning her her third Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance.
6. The Fugees- Killing Me Softly
Peaking at #2 on the US airplay chart, The Fugee reboot of the classic Roberta Flack Tune, “Killing Me Softly,” came off their 1996 album, The Score. It was the biggest selling single in the United Kingdom that year, and landed at #1 in countries all over the world.
7. Gina- Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit
Released March 25, “Ooh Aah…Just a Little Bit” comes from Australian one-hit wonder, Gina G. (no relation to Becky). It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was nominated for a Grammy in 1997 for Best Dance Recording.
8. Soundgarden- Pretty Noose
Written by frontman, Chris Cornell, “Pretty Noose” was released in March of ’96 as the first single off the band’s fifth studio album, Down On The Upside. The track peaked at #4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
9. Celine Dion- Because You Loved Me
The theme song from the 1996 romance film starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer, Up Close & Personal, “Because You Loved Me” was the second single off of Celine’s fourth English- language album, Falling Into You. The love song was a worldwide smash hit, selling over 2 million copies in the United States alone, and eventually going on to win to the Grammy for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.
10. Donna Lewis- I Love You Always Forever
Released May 14, I Love You Always Forever was the single off the Welsh singer’s debut album, Now In A Minute. It peaked at #2 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for nine whole weeks over the summer of ’96. The song was ultimately one of the most played songs of the year.