Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of 1996*: #40-31

In 1996 U.S. President Bill Clinton was elected to a second term in the United States.  The U.S. stock market gained at an incredibly fast pace followng the election, gaining 10 days in a row.  Also that year, the civil trial of O.J. Simpson began in Santa Monica, California.

In music, these 10 songs were among the year's best:

They Don't Care About Us
Michael Jackson

At #40, the most-played YouTube video of the year, a powerful song about the plight of the average individual.

How Do U (sic) Want It
2 Pac

At #39, a rap that has fallen considerably in the 25 years since it first came out.

Be My Lover

We heard a song by the German Dance duo LaBouche in the first set, "Sweet Dreams".   Their follow-up was a big international hit, reaching #1 in West Germany and Sweden, #2 in Austria and Italy, #3 in Australia and the Netherlands, #5 in Switzerland and #6 in the U.S.

Mariah Carey

Up next, a #2 smash on the Adult Contemporary chart in both the United States and Canada.

Where Do You Go
No Mercy

As you can tell, 1996 was a big year for Dance music with LaBouche and No Mercy among the acts which enjoyed success.  Like LaBouche, No Mercy was originally formed in Germany, and their big 1996 hit went to #1 in Ireland, #2 in the U.K. and Australia, #3 in Germany, #4 in France and Switzerland, #5 in the U.S. and Austria and #7 in the Netherlands.

Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Smashing Pumpkins

We have an interesting story here at #35 with this band from Chicago, Illinois.  In 1995, the Smashing Pumpkins released the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  This song stopped at #22.  What in the world is a #22 song doing all the way up here?  The reason is album sales, and we'll also be hearing another song soon from the same album.  The group has now sold over 10 million copies of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in the U.S. alone.  Album sales are far from the most important factor in ranking songs, as it is easily pointed out that over 290 million people in the U.S. did not buy the album, but it does elevate this song to #35.  The other thing that allows a #22 song to be ranked this high is that 1996 was a very weak year.

Hootie & the Blowfish

Here's another song ranked pretty high that also did not reach the Top 10, stopping at #14.  But again, sales from this group's album Cracked Rear View have helped the song tremendously since it came out in 1996.

'Til I Hear It From You
Gin Blossoms

Here's a song that was included in the movie Empire Records.  One of the rare double-sided hits in the last 30 years (we heard "Follow You Down" at #44), the flip side checks in at #33.

Don't Cry

Similar to the stories above, here's another song that only peaked at #33, but it has proven stronger than most songs originally ranked ahead of it.  This song, in fact, has the 10th-best Like to Dislike ratio on YouTube, a fact that definitely helps it here.

Big Me
Foo Fighters

Here's a song from the debut album for the Foo Fighters on Capitol Records.  This single from the album reached #3 on the Alternative Rock chart and received a lot of airplay, but the single did not sell.  In our methodology, we consider all of these things, and when the album sales are combined with the other factors, this song comes in at #31.

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