In 1997, popular music was dominated by a mix of genres and sounds that would come to define the decade. From pop ballads to rap anthems, these 20 songs were the most popular and influential in 1997.
- 1. “Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John
- 2. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve
- 3. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” by Puff Daddy
- 4. “Song 2” by Blur
- 5. “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead
- 6. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
- 7. “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” by Paula Cole
- 8. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G.
- 9. “All for You” by Sister Hazel
- 10. “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes
- 11. “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden
- 12. “Together Again” by Janet Jackson
- 13. “MMMBop” by Hanson
- 14. “4 Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men
- 15. “How’s It Going to Be” by Third Eye Blind
- 16. “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks
- 17. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
- 18. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
- 19. “Been Around the World” by Puff Daddy and The Family
- 20. “Let It Go” by Ray J
- Final Thoughts
1. “Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John
Also known as “Goodbye England’s Rose”, this song was a reworking of the 1973 original performed by Elton John as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. The single went on to become one of the best-selling songs in history, raising millions for charity and becoming a timeless classic.
2. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve
Next on the list is another British classic, The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. Driven by an epic string section and Richard Ashcroft’s signature vocals, it has come to embody the spirit of the 90s.
3. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” by Puff Daddy
Puff Daddy is a household name today, but back in 1997 he was just starting to take off. It peaked at number 32 upon its release, but its influence on the hip hop and rap industry was far-reaching. You can still stream it on all music platforms.
4. “Song 2” by Blur
“Song 2” was the lead single off Blur’s self-titled album. It is one of their most popular tracks today and regularly appears on ‘Best Of’ lists. Its energetic chorus and addictive guitar riffs make it a perfect piece for any music fan.
5. “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead
Radiohead was a breath of fresh air in the world of alternative rock music. Their single “Paranoid Android” is a classic example of their unique sound that continues to inspire new generations of listeners.
6. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
Winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, “I’ll Be Missing You” was a tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., released shortly after his death. A touching ballad that touched many hearts, it has become an iconic hip hop classic.
7. “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” by Paula Cole
This iconic track was Paula’s only top ten single and it stands as an anthem for female empowerment. Its catchy chorus and sweet lyrics make it a great song to listen to when in need of motivation or a pick-me-up. You can find it on her This Fire album.
8. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G.
Released after the rapper’s death, “Mo Money Mo Problems” was a testament to The Notorious B.I.G.’s influence on hip hop culture. Featuring Puff Daddy and Mase, this single contains some of the most memorable lines in rap music history.
9. “All for You” by Sister Hazel
Reaching number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, “All for You” was Sister Hazel’s major hit. Its classic rock vibes and heartfelt lyrics make it a favorite among many fans today. You can still stream it on all music platforms.
10. “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes
“How Do I Live” was a major hit for country singer LeAnn Rimes. With its moving lyrics and powerful chorus, the single was featured in the film Con Air and quickly became a classic. You can find it on her album You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs.
11. “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden
From their self-titled album, “Truly Madly Deeply” is one of Savage Garden’s most beloved songs. The romantic ballad rose to the top of the charts and continues to be a favorite among fans today. The song is a new version of an old song called “Magical Kisses” that the pair wrote together when they were first starting out.
12. “Together Again” by Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson was one of the biggest stars of the decade, and “Together Again” was one of her biggest hits. It was an anthem for those who had lost loved ones and featured a soulful chorus that made it hard to forget. You can find it on her album The Velvet Rope.
13. “MMMBop” by Hanson
Another song released in 1997 that reached the top of the charts is Hanson’s “MMMBop.” The trio of brothers, Isaac, Taylor and Zac, made waves with their lead single off their album Middle of Nowhere. It led them towards getting two Grammy nominations and solidified them as a household name.
14. “4 Seasons of Loneliness” by Boyz II Men
With over 36 million views on Youtube, Boyz II Men’s “4 Seasons of Loneliness” is a classic song from 1997. The single was part of their multi-platinum album Evolution, and it remains one of the greatest songs to come out that year. It helped Boyz II Men solidify their place as one of the biggest vocal groups in music history.
15. “How’s It Going to Be” by Third Eye Blind
From their self-titled album, Third Eye Blind released the song “How’s It Going to Be” in 1997. This powerful rock ballad showcases the band’s ability to make meaningful music and it remains a fan favorite from their catalog. The song peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart so it’s no wonder it will go down in history as of one the greatest songs from 1997.
16. “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks
“Bitch” by Meredith Brooks was one of the most iconic songs released in 1997. The single, which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, quickly become a feminist anthem and it remains one of the most memorable songs from that year.
17. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
This next song needs no introduction! Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme song of the 1997 movie Titanic, not only achieved commercial success and critical acclaim, but it has also gone on to become an iconic love ballad for its powerful lyrics and memorable tune. You can still hear it at weddings and proms today, proving its timelessness.
18. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” was another hit for the San Francisco group in 1997. With its upbeat tempo and catchy singalong chorus, this song had massive mainstream success and remains one of the band’s signature tunes. You can find it on their self-titled album.
19. “Been Around the World” by Puff Daddy and The Family
Peaking at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, Puff Daddy and The Family’s “Been Around the World” is an electro-hop track with a funky beat that samples Lisa Stansfield’s hit single “All Around the World.” It serves as a perfect example of hip-hop in the late 90’s.
20. “Let It Go” by Ray J
Wrapping up the list is Ray J’s “Let It Go,” a track from his Everything You Want album. The song was an R&B hit and with its smooth production and Ray J’s soulful vocals, this became a classic. You can listen to it on all music platforms.
The 1990s was a great decade for music, and 1997 had some of the best songs that still stand the test of time today. Whether you’re into hip-hop, pop, or rock, there’s something here for everyone. There’s no doubt that these 20 tracks will remain classics for years to come!