1996 was the year when NOT owning butterfly hair clips, a pair of Kickers, a stack of Pogs, and a Tamagotchi was considered a cardinal playground sin. So was not getting your hair braided on your package holiday to Corfu, but that’s another story.
The same year also saw some of history’s greatest hits of all time—from the likes of the Spice Girls to Deep Blue Something. And here at Deezer, we love the ’90s and because most of us survived teenage acne, backne, shrill voices, and broken hearts thanks to cheesy ’90s music, we decided to track streaming figures from the past 12 months for the top-selling songs from 1996. The results are everything a person in Britain who owned a NOW That’s What I Call Music! album in 1996 could hope for.
To give you a sneak peek, we’ve rounded up some of the best songs from 1996:
Next door, in his Lego-bombarded bedroom, my 9-year-old brother pranced around in velour corduroys to Oasis (at least one of us had less questionable music taste). Yep, 1996 was a good year for brats like us and pop music.
‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ topped the charts and defined an era and a generation. So much so that today, this quintessential track is one of the top five most-streamed songs from the 1996 charts in the past year. Figures show that ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ is the most streamed song from 20 years ago (even besting its original chart ranking).
Coming in hot at the number two position is ‘Ready or Not’ by the American hip-hop group, Fugees. The chart-topping hit is the band’s second-biggest single, following ‘Killing Me Softly.’ But in an unexpected turn of events, ‘Ready or Not’ seems to be far preferred by nostalgic listeners over 20 years later, as it ranks four places higher than ‘Killing Me Softly’.
Mark Morrison sings his way into the hearts of millennials with his unforgettable track, ‘Return of the Mack’ coming in 3rd on our list. The energetic dance-pop track saw global success, ranking No.1 on both the Billboard Rhythmic chart in the US and the RPM Dance/Urban Chart in the UK.
1996 was also the year which saw a certain British girl band known as the Spice Girls crush the charts. Along came ‘Wannabe’, which took the world by storm and pushed British pre-teens like me to tear down our Boyzone posters to make room for Baby Spice. The single catapulted the girl group to stardom, dominating the No.1 spot on the UK Singles Chart for eight weeks straight. Even after disbanding, the Spice Girls remain a mainstay on our playlists.
‘Children’ is every 10-year-old’s reminder to never stop dreaming. But did you know that the track had a tragic background? Miles wrote the song to help combat drug-related car accidents that were sweeping his home country of Italy. The idea being, calmer tunes like Miles’ may lessen aggressive post-club driving when played at the end of every DJ’s set. Hats off to that!
But let’s talk serious business; what about the unparalleled king of frozen peas and Monoï oil Peter Andre? His ‘Mysterious Girl’ continues to outperform classic tracks ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’ from the Prodigy. For those of you who don’t know Peter Andre outside of his outstanding performances in Iceland adverts, feast your eyes on his music video: three delectable minutes of greasy curtain hair, baggy dad jeans, pecs that flex, hip thrusting, and other Chippendale-esque moves.
You know we love us some Spice Girls, but one other group took the spotlight in 1996, and rightfully so—the Fugees. Their hit ‘Killing Me Softly’ topped the UK’s Official Singles Chart for five weeks straight.
The phenomenal song ‘Un-Break My Heart’ was what defined Toni Braxton’s music career. It won a Grammy Award and sold over 2.4 million copies. But, in an interview with the New York Post, Braxton revealed that she initially didn’t like the song. Well, we’re just glad she recorded it anyway because our karaoke nights won’t be the same without it.
Occupying the second-to-the-last spot is ‘Firestarter,’ the electronic, futuristic dance song that introduced the UK’s underground rave scene to the world. Its album, ‘Fat of the Land,’ took the music industry by storm, selling over 10 million copies to date.
Remember the one-hit wonder Deep Blue Something? Their singles like ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ are streamed more in 2016 than other big nineties hits from Michael Jackson and teenage heartthrobs. It turns out that one-hit wonders are not wonders for nothing. Being one of the biggest names of the ‘90s era doesn’t necessarily guarantee the most streams today
Our Special Mentions
While they didn’t make it to our top 10, these hits still deserve an honorary mention.
If you grew up in the UK during the ’90s, you will know that disco wasn’t the real deal without Shaggy’s ‘Boombastic’ and Peter Andre’s ‘Mysterious Girl’ to let your teenage hormones run wild and your brace constricted mouth salivate. Even today Peter and his phosphorescent pecs are still going strong on Deezer.
So here is our list of top 20 streamed tracks in the UK from 1996. Enjoy the blast from the past, and don’t hesitate to crank up the speakers and ‘Oh Ah’ it to Gina G.
Don’t Look Back In Anger
Ready Or Not
Return Of The Mack
Peter Andre (feat. Bubbler Ranx)
Killing Me Softly
Un-Break My Heart
Deep Blue Something
Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit
Say You’ll Be There
How Deep Is Your Love
Los Del Rio
Baddiel & Skinner and The Lightning Seeds
On a global scale. Alanis Morissette takes the top spot with her ‘Ironic’ as the most streamed song from 20 years ago, (a little bit ironic don’t you think? Especially considering her track only came in no. 13 in 1996)