Number One Hits – 1990s

I’ll be playing in a ’90s music trivia theme night in a few days, so I thought I’d take a look at all of the #1 hits from that decade! I graduated from high school in 1990, so pop music started to kind of fall off my radar a bit as the decade of the 1990s progressed. Even looking at the list, I can honestly say I’ve never HEARD of most of these songs! As for ’80s music – on the other hand? If I looked at all of the #1 songs from that decade, there would be a lot fewer songs I’ve never heard – or heard OF!

This is a list of every single song that hit #1 during the decade of the 1990s. I’ve also indicated any Grammy Awards won by these artists/songs in red. Songs that received Oscar nominations for best original song will be denoted in blue.


Mariah Carey double-fisting the Grammy Awards she won in 1991 for best female pop vocal performance (Vision of Love) and best new artist. Two Grammy Awards in one ceremony may seem impressive, but other artists on this list will put this feat to shame!

What’s the most important name to remember about 1990s music? Mariah, Mariah, Mariah! I’ve never really cared for Mariah Carey’s musical stylings, but she was a HUGE figure in 1990s music with ELEVEN #1 hits both as a solo artist and as part of a collaboration! Here are her #1 hits: Vision Of Love (1990), Love Takes Time (1990), Someday (1991), I Don’t Wanna Cry (1991), Emotions (1991), I’ll Be There (duet with Trey Lorenz, 1992), Dreamlover (1993), Hero (1993 and 1994), Fantasy (1995), One Sweet Day (duet with Boyz II Men, 1995), Honey (1997), My All (1998) and Heartbreaker (duet with Jay-Z, 1999).



Canadian singer Alannah Myles scored a number 1  hit in 1990 with Black Velvet, and also won a Grammy for best rock vocals for that song. This and many other songs will forever be associated with my 1990 “soundtrack” in my high school art class – where Mr. Stoutenberg allowed us students to listen to the radio while we attempted to paint and draw!
  1. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins (two weeks), also Grammy, Record of the Year
  2. How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, Michael Bolton, (three weeks)
  3. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul with the Wild Pair, (three weeks)
  4. Escapade, Janet Jackson, (three weeks)
  5. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles, (two weeks), also Grammy, best Rock Vocals 
  6. Love Will Lead You Back, Taylor Dayne (one week)
  7. I’ll Be Your Everything, Tommy Page (one week)
  8. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor, (three weeks)
  9. Vogue, Madonna, (three weeks)
  10. Hold On, Wilson Phillips, (one week)
  11. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette, (two weeks)
  12. Step By Step, New Kids on the Block, (thee weeks)
  13. She Ain’t Worth It, Glenn Medeiros featuring Bobby Brown, (two weeks)
  14. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey, (four weeks), also Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance
  15. If Wishes Came True, Sweet Sensation, (one week)
  16. Blaze of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi, (one week), Oscar nominee, best original song
  17. Release Me, Wilson Phillips, (two weeks)
  18. (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection, Nelson, (one week)
  19. Close To You, Maxi Priest (one week)
  20. Praying For Time, George Michael, (one week)
  21. I Don’t Have The Heart, James Ingram (one week)
  22. Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice (one week)
  23. Love Takes Time, Mariah Carey (three weeks)
  24. I’m Your Baby Tonight, Whitney Houston (one week)
  25. Because I Love You, (The Postman Song), Stevie B (four weeks)



There was a time, back before Waterworld and The Postman – when actor Kevin Costner could do no wrong – even if he did it all without ever once attempting anything but his normal Chicago accent, which was convincing enough to 1991 moviegoers to help Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves make $165 million at the U.S. box office. The movie also spawned a #1 hit for Bryan Adams, which stayed in the #1 spot for seven weeks.
  1. Justify My Love, Madonna (two weeks)
  2. Love Will Never Do Without You, Janet Jackson (one week)
  3. The First Time, Surface (two weeks)
  4. Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), C+C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams (two weeks)
  5. All The Man That I Need, Whitney Houston, (two weeks)
  6. Someday, Mariah Carey, (two weeks)
  7. One More Try, Timmy T, (one week)
  8. Coming Out of the Dark, Gloria Estefan (two weeks)
  9. I’ve Been Thinking About You, Londonbeat (one week)
  10. You’re In Love, Wilson Phillips, (one week)
  11. Baby Baby, Amy Grant, (two weeks)
  12. Joyride, Roxette, (one week)
  13. I Like The Way (The Kissing Game), Hi-Five, (one week)
  14. I Don’t Wanna Cry, Mariah Carey, (two weeks)
  15. More Than Words, Extreme, (one word)
  16. Rush Rush, Paula Abdul, (five weeks)
  17. Unbelievable, EMF, (one week)
  18. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Bryan Adams, (seven weeks), Oscar nominee, best original song (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)
  19. The Promise of a New Day, Paula Abdul, (one week)
  20. I Adore Mi Amor, Color Me Badd, (two weeks)
  21. Emotions, Mariah Carey, (three weeks)
  22. Romantic, Karyn White, (three weeks)
  23. Cream, Prince and the New Power Generation, (two weeks)
  24. When a Man Loves a Woman, Michael Bolton, (one week), Grammy, best pop vocal
  25. Set Adrift on Memory Bliss, P.M. Dawn, (one week)
  26. Black or White, Michael Jackson, (four weeks 1991)



You really can’t do a blog about 1990s music without at least mentioning the R&B group Boyz II Men. I never really got into their music, but I am guessing from their titles, that they were kings of “makeout tunes” – and tunes that were probably played heavily at graduation parties, weddings and maybe even funerals. Though would it be considered tacky to play End of the Road at a funeral? Survey says? 🙂 They collaborated with Mariah Carey on the song One Sweet Day, which spent 16 weeks at the top of the charts in the 1990s – longer than any other song from that decade.
  1. Black or White, Michael Jackson, (three weeks 1992, seven weeks total)
  2. All 4 Love, Color Me Badd, (one week)
  3. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me, George Michael and Elton John, (one week)
  4. I’m Too Sexy, Right Said Fred, (three weeks)
  5. To Be With You, Mr. Big, (three weeks)
  6. Save The Best For Last, Vanessa Williams, (five weeks)
  7. Jump, Kris Kross, (eight weeks)
  8. I’ll Be There, Mariah Carey featuring Trey Lorenz, (one week)
  9. Baby Got Back, Sir Mix A Lot, (five weeks), Grammy rap solo
  10. This Used To Be My Playground, Madonna, (one week)
  11. End of the Road, Boyz II Men, (13 weeks), Grammy R&B (duo or group)
  12. How Do You Talk To An Angel, The Heights, (two weeks)
  13. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston (five weeks 1992)



Toni Braxton won two Grammy Awards at the 35th Grammy Awards ceremony – best new artist and best R&B performance for Another Sad Love Song. 
  1. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston, (nine weeks 1993, 14 weeks total), Grammy, record of the year, Grammy, best pop vocals, 
  2. A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme), Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, (one week), Grammy, song of the year, Grammy, best duo or group, Oscar winner, best original song
  3. Informer, Snow, (seven weeks)
  4. Freak Me, Silk, (one week)
  5. That’s The Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson, (eight weeks), Grammy, best R&B song
  6. Can’t Help Falling in Love, UB40, (seven weeks)
  7. Dreamlover, Mariah Carey, (eight weeks)
  8. I’ll Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That), Meat Loaf, (five weeks), Grammy, best rock performance
  9. Again, Janet Jackson, (two weeks)
  10. Hero, Mariah Carey, (one week)



Ah, Ace of Base. Do they take me back to my college days! I had a roommate named Kim who loved blaring Ace of Base tunes – and another who liked blaring German polkas (both shared the same apartment with me). Is this a good “would you rather” scenario? I liked playing nice with the Germany polka girl who had a fondness for permanents, since her Ray-Ban aficionado boyfriend named Jeff worked for a Frito Lay distributor and kept us all hooked up with free chips. When she was thinking of dating a different guy, we tried convincing her to stay with the Frito-Lay boyfriend because we didn’t want our free chip supply to dry up (true story)! I honestly don’t remember how her romantic escapades shook out…
  1. Hero, Mariah Carey, (three weeks 1994, four weeks total)
  2. All For Love, Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting, (three weeks)
  3. The Power Of Love, Celine Dion, (four weeks)
  4. The Sign, Ace of Base (six weeks total – NON CONSECUTIVE – four weeks, plus two more)
  5. Bump ‘n Grind, R. Kelly, (four weeks)
  6. I Swear, All-4-One (11 weeks), Grammy, best pop duo or group
  7. Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, (three weeks)
  8. I’ll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men, 14 weeks, Grammy, R&B duo/group
  9. On Bended Knee, Boyz II Men, (two weeks)
  10. Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze, (two weeks)
  11. On Bended Knee, Boyz II Men (one week 1994)



Dammit, I am SO jealous! I want to sing against an illuminated Batman symbol backdrop, too! Here, singer Seal, aka “Former Mr. Heidi Klum,” sings – or lip-synchs – the Grammy-winning song Kiss from a Rose, which was used in the Batman Forever soundtrack (this film grossed $184 million at the U.S. box office).


  1. On Bended Knee, Boyz II Men (three weeks 1995, six weeks total)
  2. Creep, TLC, (four weeks), Grammy, R&B duo/group
  3. Take A Bow, Madonna, (seven weeks)
  4. This Is How We Do It, Montell Jordan, (seven weeks)
  5. Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman, Bryan Adams, (five weeks), Oscar nominee, best original song (Don Juan DeMarco)
  6. Waterfalls, TLC, (seven weeks)
  7. Kiss From A Rose, Seal, (one week), Grammy, record of the year, Grammy, song of the year, Grammy, pop male; 
  8. You Are Not Alone, Michael Jackson, (one week)
  9. Gangsta’s Paradise, Coolio featuring L.V., (three weeks), Grammy, rap solo
  10. Fantasy, Mariah Carey, (eight weeks)
  11. Exhale (Shoop Shoop), Whitney Houston, (one week), Grammy, best R&B song 
  12. One Sweet Day, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, (five weeks 1995)



If there were any other songs from the decade of the 1990s that you could attach the “earworm” label to more than Macarena? Speak up or forever hold your peace! Speaking of, this song continues to be a popular wedding song. I am so happy I seldom get invited to weddings (groan)!
  1. One Sweet Day, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, (11 weeks 1996, 16 total weeks)
  2. Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion, six weeks
  3. Always Be My Baby, Mariah Carey, (one week)
  4. The Crossroads, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, (eight weeks), Grammy, best duo/group
  5. How Do U Want It/California Love, 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJO/featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, (two weeks)
  6. You’re Making Me High/Let It Flow, Toni Braxton, (one week), Grammy, best R&B vocals
  7. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio, (14 weeks)
  8. No Diggity, Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre, (four weeks), Grammy, rap duo/group
  9. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton, (four weeks 1996), Grammy, pop vocal



Uh, let’s see…Sporty, Scary, Posh, Ginger, Baby? Do I have all of these right? The Spice Girls recorded an “earworm” song of their own called Wannabe, which was stayed #1 for four weeks in 1997 (gotta behold tween buying power).
  1. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton, (seven weeks 1997, 11 weeks total)
  2. Wannabe, Spice Girls, (four weeks)
  3. Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, Puff Daddy featuring Mase, (six weeks)
  4. Hypnotize, The Notorious B.I.G., (three weeks)
  5. MMMBop, Hanson, (three weeks)
  6. I’ll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112, (11 weeks), Grammy, rap duo/group
  7. Mo Money Mo Problems, The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase, (two weeks)
  8. Honey, Mariah Carey, (three weeks)
  9. 4 Seasons of Loneliness, Boyz II Men (one week)
  10. Candle in the wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight, Elton John, (12 weeks 1997), Grammy, pop vocal



Lauryn Hill, Grammy winner – she won four Grammy awards at the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony in 1998. Best new artist, album of the year for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (also best R&B album for that album),best R&B female vocals and best R&B song for Doo Wop (That Thing).
  1. Candle in the wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight, Elton John, (two weeks 1998, 14 weeks total)
  2. Truly Madly Deeply, Savage Garden, (two weeks)
  3. Together Again, Janet Jackson, (two weeks)
  4. Nice & Slow, Usher, (two weeks)
  5. My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion, (two weeks), Grammy, record of the year, Grammy, song of the year; Oscar winner, best original song
  6. Gettin’ Jiggy wit it, Will Smith, (three weeks), Grammy, rap solo
  7. All My Life, K-Ci & JoJo, (three weeks)
  8. Too Close, Next, (four weeks NON CONSECUTIVE, plus one additional week five weeks total)
  9. My All, Mariah Carey, (one week)
  10. The Boy is Mine, Brandy and Monica, (13 weeks)
  11. I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing, Aerosmith, (four weeks)
  12. The First Night, Monica, (two weeks NON CONSECUTIVE, plus three additional weeks)
  13. One Week, Barenaked Ladies, (one week)
  14. Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill, (two weeks)
  15. Lately, Divine, (one week)
  16. I’m Your Angel, R. Kelly and Celine Dion, (four weeks 1998)




You know you’ve recorded a song that made everyone lose their absolute shit when you win too many Grammy Awards to even HOLD! Here we have multiple Grammy Award winner Carlos Santana – who won NINE Grammy Awards for works recorded in 1999.
  1. I’m Your Angel, R. Kelly and Celine Dion, (two weeks 1999, six weeks total)
  2. Have You Ever, Brandy, (two weeks)
  3. Baby One More Time, Britney Spears, (two weeks)
  4. Angel of Mine, Monica, (four weeks)
  5. Believe, Cher, (four weeks), Grammy, best dance recording
  6. No Scrubs, TLC, (four weeks), Grammy, R&B duo/group; Grammy, best R&B song, Grammy (album, Fanmail)
  7. Livin’ la Vida Loca, Ricky Martin, (five weeks)
  8. If You Had My Love, Jennifer Lopez, (five weeks)
  9. Bills, Bills, Bills, Destiny’s Child, (one week)
  10. Wild Wild West, Will Smith featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee, (one week)
  11. Genie In a Bottle, Christina Aguilera, (five weeks)
  12. Bailamos, Enrique Iglesias, (two weeks)
  13. Unpretty, TLC, (three weeks)
  14. Heartbreaker, Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z, (two weeks)
  15. Smooth, Santana featuring Rob Thomas, (10 weeks 1999, two more weeks 2000 12 weeks total), Grammy, record of the year, Grammy, song of the year; Grammy, best pop collaboration. 














Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.