The greatest hits from the 90s still move countless people and music lovers today. So it is only logical that we have compiled a list of over 100 songs from the nineties, which consists of loud scorchers.
Our 90s playlist takes you on a musical journey back to a time when Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Matthias Reim, Céline Dion, and the Spice Girls dominated the charts.
(At the end of the article, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist for you with all the songs listed here.)
Below you will find the best music from the 90s:
1st place: Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the grunge anthem par excellence of the 1990s! The track, whose intro alone enjoys cult status, catapulted the scratchy backyard sounds of Nirvana from the basements of Seattle into the mainstream at supersonic speed. Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic acted as a sarcastic mouthpiece for an overly demotivated and disinterested youth in their hit song. And this discontent of the youth, accompanied by hard-hitting, distorted riffs and machine-gun-like drums, hit exactly the spirit of the time.
More than one million US-Americans bought the record, which was to receive platinum status thereupon. Until today the track is unforgotten and makes us miss Kurt Cobain a little bit more every time we listen to it.
2nd place: Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares to You” (1990)
Black jumpsuit, cheeky short hairstyle, heartbreak at its best: How beautiful Heartbreak The Irish singer Sinead O’Connor showed us in 1990 how beautiful it can be. While the original from 1985 (“The Family”) was still lost in the vastness of the music world, the Performeration of the short-scored artist moved us to Tears. “Nothing Compares to You” shows us, listeners, that loss can be beautifully handled musically and evolved into a timeless classic.
The song stormed to the top of the charts in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In the Irish homeland of the singer and in the United States, too, the ballad became a box-office hit and secured the top position in the sales lists.
3rd place: Whitney Houston: “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
Why is “I Will Always Love You” so often played on the radio? Weddings played? We do not want to deny the goosebump ballad its unquestionable value.
But Whitney Houston, with one of the most beautiful voices in the history of music, does not sing a happy love story but processes the pain of a broken woman who lets her loved one go away for his own good. The fans won’t care, the record sold like hotcakes and held the record for the best-selling single in the United States. Then, after Whitney Houston’s death in 2012, the theme song to “Bodyguard” (1992) returned to the charts once again.
The hit is one of the best and most successful 90s songs and will probably never get old.
4th place: Coolio – “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995)
The paradise of a gangster is dark and dangerous. This we learned in 1995 from the U.S. rapper Coolio, who previously drew attention to himself rather through lighter hip-hop tones. The title song of the movie “Dangerous Minds” (1995), starring Michelle Pfeiffer, convinces especially by its dark atmosphere.
Coolio spoke from the middle of a disconnected society and gave one of the rare insights into the beating heart of ghetto life. The rogue anthem climbed to the top of the charts in countless countries and has since gone platinum umpteen times over.
5th place: Elton John – “Candle in the Wind” (1997)
1997 was the year in which the British Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident. For weeks after the event, the world’s public was still being bombarded with reports about the death Death dominated by Lady Di. Elton John dedicated a very special obituary to his longtime aristocratic friend when he reworked his song “Candle in the Wind” for her funeral and performed it during the memorial service.
The single sold more than 650,000 copies within the first 24 hours of its release.000 copies. In Germany, the 1997 version of the song is still the best-selling single of all time, with 4.5 million units sold.
6th place: R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion” (1991)
“Losing My Religion” is not only one of the best and most successful songs of the 90s but also finds itself in the eternal best list of US alternative rock. Contrary to the first assumption that the track is about the loss of one’s faith, frontman Michael Stipe sings about the feeling of going crazy and wanting to fly off the handle due to public pressure. The song has a lot of folk influences and, according to the band, was inspired by “Every Breath You Take” (1983) by The Police.
The accompanying music video has been showered with awards, including the MTV Video Music Award in the categories “Best Video”, “Best Director” and “Best Editing”.
7th place: Jay-Z – “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” (1998)
Jay-Z can also do musicals! This does not mean that the East Coast rapper suddenly mutated into a ballad-singing stage star in 1998.
On the contrary, the US-American succeeded in transferring the timeless classic “Hard Knock Life” (“Annie”) from the theaters into the world of hip-hop without causing any damage. The result is first-class and proves once again that music does not move within the entrenched boundaries of other parts of society. The track charted in the Top 10 in Germany, Canada, and in England and reached platinum status in the summer of 2015.
8th place: Celine Dion – “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
No matter how you liked the love drama about Jack and Rose on the sinking Titanic 1997, you have to hand it to the strip: It has one of the most memorable soundtracks in film history. A big part of the blame for this goes to Celine Dion, who helped to burst the hearts of thousands of teen girls with her powerful ballad. Even independent of the lively steamboat ride to doom, the song is in a class of its own and should not be missing from any 90s hits list.
Of course, the track went to #1 in all relevant countries. The single was sold nearly 6 million times and reached five times gold, 26 times platinum, and even once the diamond status.
9th place: Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way” (1999)
The era of the 1990s was also the era of the Boy bands! Almost no one could escape the charm of the Sunnyboys, even if many like to deny this in retrospect.
As a prime example of the boy bands, the Backstreet Boys are of course particularly suitable. With their 1999 released “I Want It That Way” the beaurocrats sang about the many turmoils and worries that such a miserable love affair can bring with it. Even if you’ve never heard of the Backstreet Boys, we guarantee that you’ve heard “I Want It That Way” somewhere.
The song topped the charts in more than 25 countries and is still making a name for itself on 1990s theme parties for shrill screams.
10th place: Los Del Rio – “Macarena” (1993)
“Heeey Macarena!”. Let’s face it: no one really knows what they’re singing when they’re happily warbling along to Los Del Rio’s “Macarena”. But that is not the point! What’s important to us is that our performance is on point.
When the Party song every arm wants to be stretched, turned, crossed, and teasingly pulled to the ears at the appropriate second. And even if the song is hopelessly overplayed by now, it belongs as firmly in the 1990s as the Tamagotchi and our then-pot haircut.
11th place: Take That – “Never Forget” (1995)
In 1995 the world was still all right. “Take That” were at the height of their own creative powers just two years before they broke up. Even though many of the songs by the iconic boy band led by Robbie Williams haven’t always aged well, “Never Forget” still stands up to scrutiny today. Fans had the rare treat of Howard Donald taking over lead vocals on the single, making the confident pop anthem a hit.
In Great Britain, the music of the native group was welcomed with open arms, so that more than 600.000 Brits added the song and helped it reach platinum status.
12th place: Beck – “Loser” (1994)
In 1994, Beck Hansen asked us “I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me?”. We can answer the question quite simply: Because we love you and your music and still enjoy listening to the record almost 25 years after its release! “Loser” was first released in March 1993 and was then re-released almost a year later. Originally only 500 copies of the song were pressed, but the radio made it widely known and equally popular, so the rapidly increasing demand for the work had to be satisfied with a second release.
The content of the track is a mixture of defiant sadism and self-irony. This mix charted in the top 10 in many countries and went gold in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.
13th place: Daft Punk – “Da Funk” (1997)
Long before the helmeted French French house duo, Daft Punk joined forces with music giants like Pharell Williams and Co. Fuy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and his partner Thomas Bangalter had to do their homework first. That’s what the two musicians did and named their first album “Homework” (1997).
Among other things, it contained the single Da Funk, which with its fresh, innovative, and danceable house sounds immediately set the course for Daft Punk’s future. The French listeners should also recognize this and reward “Da Funk” with seventh place in the national charts.
#14: Fugees – “Killing Me Softly” (1996)
Never before has anyone “killed” us musically as beautifully as the Fugees did in 1996. With their version of “Killing Me Softly”, in which Lauryn Hill breathed into our ears with her soft, yet powerful and confident voice, the American crew stormed the international charts and proved that the world of hip-hop can also consist of more than just tough gangsterism and drawn guns. The sensitive sounds, coupled with the unique, emotional lyrics have more than earned their place in the list of 90s hits.
Even the iconic music video, with its sprawling scenes in a movie theater, has become nostalgic in character.
15th place: Boyz II Men – “End of the Road” (1992)
After the U.S. R&B group “Boyz II Men” took the hearts of their fans by storm with their debut album “Cooleyhigharmony” in 1991, they longed for more a year later. In 1992, they were not blessed with a full album, but the single “End of the Road” sweetened the wait. The ballad was part of the soundtrack to Eddie Murphy’s comedy “Boomerang” (1992) and shot to the top of the charts in Great Britain, as well as in the United States.
The song also became a commercial success in this country, securing the sixth spot on our charts.
# 16: Alanis Morisette – “You Oughta Know” (1995)
Alanis Morisette hit like a bomb with her debut album! The Canadian-American singer surprised the experts with her open and emotionally processed handling of a failed relationship. “You Oughta Know” hit the listeners’ ears and hearts in equal measure.
It was not least this single that helped their debut album to an international breakthrough. What followed was a rapidly expanding career and an ever-growing fan base that gathered around Alanis Morisette over the course of time.
#17: Oasis – “Live Forever” (1994)
Oasis dominated the music landscape in the 1990s in an inimitable way. The Britpop group, which repeatedly hit the headlines because of disputes between the Gallagher brother and sister, was still in its musical infancy in 1994. “Live Forever” finally paved the way for an inimitable career and could not be ousted from the charts for more than a year.
Let’s forget for a moment all the inglorious escapades that were to come, and enjoy the magic of the innocent beginnings.
18th place: Radiohead – “Paranoid Android” (1997)
Radiohead was still called “On a Friday” when they formed in 1985, and from then on they gave themselves over to alternative rock. The British group, fronted by Thom Yorke, first had to find itself in its early days.
Paranoid Android” from 1997 was to set the ultimate course for future works. On the one hand, the song looks back on the band’s own history, but it also served as a directional arrow for future lyrical and musical styles. At the same time, Radiohead declared unofficial war on Oasis with “Paranoid Android” and established themselves as the second force in the domestic music landscape
19th place: Ricky Martin – “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (1999)
Even before “Livin’ La Vida Loca” Ricky Martin was in the Spanish-speaking region a superstar. As the singer of the boy band Menudo, he had long since made a big name for himself far off our radar.
With his single released in 1999, he then also appeared on the scene of the English-speaking listeners. The song of the fiery Latin lover triggered a true Latino pop mania, later artists like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira would successfully follow in the same vein. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” lives from his fiery temperament, it’s almost impossible to keep still during the track. Anyone who doesn’t at least start bobbing their leg here must be a master of body control.
The song became a worldwide commercial success, topping the charts in countless countries and selling more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone.
20th place: Spice Girls – “Say You’ll Be There” (1996)
We’ve kept you waiting a long time, but here they are. Curtain up for the Spice Girls, who were at the same time the epitome of the 90s girl groups is! “Say You’ll Be There” was taken from the debut album “Spice” (1996) of the five-member group and directly followed the success of the single “Wannabe”, which already stormed the charts in various music markets around the world.
In “Say You’ll Be There” influences from G-funk and R&B can be found. The song was accompanied by a music video that was inspired by “Pulp Fiction” (1994) among others. In Great Britain, the song landed on the first chart position, while in the USA it could still climb the third position.
Places 21-114 of the biggest 90s hits:
Each song is linked to its music video by its title.
|21.||Verdammt, ich lieb’ Dich||Matthias Reim||1990|
|22.||Sweat (A La La La La Long)||Inner Circle||1992|
|23.||Time to Say Goodbye||Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli||1996|
|24.||Sadeness (Part I)||Enigma||1991|
|25.||Das Boot||U 96||1992|
|26.||Mambo № 5 (A Little Bit Of …)||Lou Bega||1999|
|27.||Wind of Change||Scorpions||1991|
|28.||Conquest of Paradise||Vangelis||1995|
|29.||Another Day in Paradise||Phil Collins||1990|
|30.||Let’s Talk About Sex||Salt ’n’ Pepa||1992|
|31.||What’s Up||4 Non-Blondes||1993|
|32.||Cotton Eye Joe||Rednex||1994|
|33.||Rhythm Is a Dancer||Snap!||1992|
|34.||I’ll Be Missing You||Puff Daddy feat. Faith Evans and 112||1997|
|35.||I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)||Meat Loaf||1993|
|36.||Mr. Vain||Culture Beat||1993|
|37.||Männer sind Schweine||Die Ärzte||1998|
|38.||Blue (Da Ba Dee)||Eiffel 65||1999|
|40.||It’s My Life||Dr. Alban||1992|
|41.||All That She Wants||Ace of Base||1993|
|44.||Un-Break My Heart||Toni Braxton||1997|
|45.||Warum?||Tic Tac Toe||1997|
|46.||Maschen-Draht-Zaun||Stefan Raab & Truck Stop||1999|
|47.||Tom’s Diner||DNA & Suzanne Vega||1990|
|48.||Earth Song||Michael Jackson||1995|
|50.||Flugzeuge Im Bauch||Oli.P||1998|
|51.||… Baby One More Time||Britney Spears||1999|
|53.||Black Velvet||Alannah Myles||1990|
|54.||Streets of Philadelphia||Bruce Springsteen||1994|
|55.||I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing||Aerosmith||1998|
|57.||My Love Is Your Love||Whitney Houston||1999|
|58.||Ice, Ice Baby||Vanilla Ice||1991|
|59.||Gonna Make You Sweat||C+C Music Factory||1991|
|62.||Immortality||Céline Dion with the Bee Gees||1998|
|63.||Black Or White||Michael Jackson||1992|
|64.||No Limit||2 Unlimited||1993|
|65.||Lemon Tree||Fools Garden||1996|
|66.||Out of the Dark||Falco||1998|
|67.||Infinity (1990s… Time for the Guru)||Guru Josh||1990|
|68.||Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door||Guns N’ Roses||1992|
|69.||Where Do You Go||No Mercy||1996|
|70.||Can’t Help Falling in Love with You||UB40||1993|
|71.||Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm||Crash Test Dummies||1994|
|74.||Eins, Zwei, Polizei||Mo-Do||1994|
|75.||Wish You Were Here||Rednex||1995|
|76.||Men in Black||Will Smith||1997|
|77.||Sie sieht mich nicht||Xavier Naidoo||1999|
|78.||Don’t Talk, Just Kiss||Right Said Fred||1992|
|79.||Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)||Scatman John||1995|
|80.||Die längste Single der Welt||Wolfgang Petry||1997|
|82.||Sing Hallelujah||Dr. Alban||1993|
|83.||Coco Jamboo||Mr. President||1996|
|86.||I Can’t Help Myself (I Love You, I Want You)||Kelly Family||—||1996|
|87.||I Believe I Can Fly||R. Kelly||1997|
|89.||Nothing Else Matters||Metallica||1992|
|90.||Go West||Pet Shop Boys||1993|
|92.||It’s Like That||Run DMC vs. Jason Nevins||1998|
|93.||Can’t Touch This||MC Hammer – U||1990|
|94.||The Shoop Shoop Song||Cher||1991|
|97.||Return to Innocence||Enigma||1994|
|98.||Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)||Backstreet Boys||1996|
|99.||Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)||Pras Michel feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Mýa||1998|
|101.||Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)||Los del Río||1996|
|102.||Ich find’ dich scheiße||Tic Tac Toe||1996|
|103.||Genie in a Bottle||Christina Aguilera||1999|
|104.||It’s Alright||East 17||1994|
|105.||Missing||Everything But The Girl||1996|
|108.||Love Is All Around||Wet Wet Wet||1994|
|109.||Zehn kleine Jägermeister||Die Toten Hosen||1996|
|110.||MfG (Mit freundlichen Grüßen)||Die Fantastischen Vier||1999|
|111.||Ich bin der Martin, ne||Diether Krebs||1991|
|112.||Jive Connie||Connie Francis||1992|
|114.||Don’t Speak||No Doubt||1997|
90s Spotify playlist:
Now we say goodbye to you and wish you a lot of fun listening for yourself!