Artists like Alanis Morissette, Pearl Jam, Mariah Carey, Nirvana, and Madonna defined the 1990s — topping the charts and selling out records with ease. Jagged Little Pill boasts its own Broadway musical run, and vogueing — correctly and incorrectly — remains one of the most replicated dance styles to this day. Yet, certain artists popped up on the charts in the ‘90s, and then virtually disappeared, leaving one major hit in their wake.
1. ‘Bitch’ | Meredith Brooks
With one of the catchiest choruses of the ‘90s (if not of all time), Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” remains a sing-a-long song to this day, as fans of the number chant “I’m a sinner. I’m a saint. I do not feel ashamed.” In 1997, the song was #1 on the Top 40 radio.
2. ‘What’s Up’ | 4 Non Blondes
“What’s Up” saw a resurgence in popularity with the Netflix series Sense8, serving as the sci-fi thriller’s theme song. The 1992 hit remains the band’s biggest hit off their one and only album Bigger, Better, Faster, More!, which spent 59 weeks on the Billboard 200.
3. ‘No Rain’ | Blind Melon
Blind Melon released “No Rain” in 1992 and the upbeat number remains their most well-known song, despite boasting a few other tunes that devout fans of the rock group may recognize, such as “Tones of Home” and “Walk.”
4. ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’| Deep Blue Something
Remember the film? Remember the tune? The singer and the subject he is addressing “both kinda liked” the movie, making for a memorable chorus that reverberates in the mind for days on end once hearing it.
5. ‘Mambo No. 5’| Lou Bega
If you’re not playing “Mambo No. 5” at every single gathering — weddings, sweet sixteens, and more — you’re either “too cool for school” or missing out on a ton of nostalgic fun.
6. ‘Whoomp! (There It Is)’ | Tag Team
“Whoomp! (There It Is)”, by the rap duo Tag Team, reached #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Charts in 1993, and the song remains a party-favorite almost three decades later.
7. ‘The Sign’ | Ace of Base
If you were a fan of Full House, you’ll remember when a few Tanners plus Gia and Kimmy rocked out to this number by Ace of Base. “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes!”
8. ‘I Touch Myself’ | Divinyls
Revolutionary in its expression of female sexual self-pleasure, “Touch Myself” broke societal shackles that many artists were too afraid to break, leaving an ever-lasting influence on female artists for decades to come. The line “When I think about you, I touch myself” was risky and also musically memorable.
9. ‘Cotton Eye Joe’| Rednex
If you didn’t learn the “Cotton Eye Joe” as part of your school’s phys-ed curriculum, you likely didn’t attend public school in the early 2000s. The song, that came out in 1995, may be less famous than the dance routine that accompanies it.
10. ‘One of Us’ | Joan Osborn
The message is simple: “what if God was one of us?” A little bit blasphemous yet quite relatable and easy to ponder, the song approached the topic with a strong degree of humanity and humility.