Follow the success of other popular nostalgia posts like 90s Boybands, 90s girl groups, 90s female solo stars and 90s male solo stars. it was only a matter of time before I gave 90s One Hit Wonders a go. And one hit wonders is a touchy subject for me because I have a bit of a habit of remembering famous ‘one hit wonders’ second ‘hit’ therefore by definition, them not being a one hit wonder at all. There’s lots of things I disagree with that the modern world seems to have accepted as normal so that’s another story for another day.
Anyway, let’s go!
4 Non Blondes – What’s Up
With no 4 Non Blondes there would be no Linda Perry and with no Linda Perry there would be no Pink so we have her to thank for that. Whilst 4 Non Blondes didn’t have any further hits after What’s Up (the lyric of which doesn’t actually appear in the song coincidently) Linda Perry has gone on to write songs for anyone who’s anyone. She was also married to Sara Gilbert from Roseanne fame for a time. Talk about a 90s power couple!
Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite
Fun fact, this was the song I listened to on repeat when I split up with my boyfriend in 2001, so I know the words to this backwards and forwards, inside out. The second single by Tasmin was In Your Care and contained the lyric ‘son of a bitch you boke my heart’ which was soooo naughty to my 9 year old self.
Babylon Zoo – Spaceman
Any song that was ever used in a Wrigley’s or Levis ad was always destined for great things and this is no exception. It pissed a lot of people off that the section that appeared in the advert actually only served as the intro and outro and the rest of the song was almost unrecognisably different. I’m quite fond of the rocky full version though.
Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
Everyone loves this song, and you know it instantly from the moment it starts, there was a follow up single where instead of girls names, Lou just listed countries he had girlfriends in, which didn’t work quite as well sadly.
Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo
Named after a character in my favourite book, it was hard to escape this when it was in the charts and I was a fan at the time. It was then used in almost every advert for an early morning radio show or breakfast cereal, it quickly lost it’s appeal
Bran Van 3000 – Drinking in LA
I always thought this song (and group) was so cool and despite it being released in the February of 1997, I always associate it with being a summer song. I did try drinking in LA in 2003 (at 21) and it was alright. I definitely wasn’t cool enough to pull it off though, and they ID you every 20 seconds.
Meredith Brooks – Bitch
How controversial this was at the time, now every other song has the word bitch in it. At least Meredith was singing about herself, it would have been a different story had it been a bloke calling someone a bitch. nd anyone who says they didn’t think this was Alanis Morissette when they first heard it is a liar.
Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You
This is an old family favourite of ours and it makes me smile every time I hear it. One I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. They won a well deserved Ivor Novello award for it in 1993 but sadly Charles Pettigrew passed away in 2001 so no 90s nostalgia tour for them
Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Oh how I love me a song with a quirky lyric or a song that tells a story and this is both. Also, fact fans, there were actually supposed to be lyrics to the chorus and the lead singer just hummed along until something was written. They liked the way it sounded though and kept it.
Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight
Baby brother of Neneh Cherry (who I absolutely love!) looked like he was destined for big things after this release but sadly we never really heard of him again. The line ‘take this wine and drink with me, let’s delay our misery’ is one of my all time favourites though
Underrated follow up single: Permanent Tears
Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You
Originally the lead singer with Orange Juice in the 80s this song was everywhere in 1994, and is still everywhere if you listen to Heart 90s regularly. Not really digging the Elvis theme in the video and the follow up single Pied Piper of Love is infinitely better but there’s never been much accounting for taste.
Cornershop – Brimful of Asha
The original is actually quite bland and plinky plonky and it wasn’t until Fatboy Slim remixed it that he became a massive hit. Cornershop as a band have gone on to release many albums since however it will always be Brimful of Asha that stands the test of time.
Underrated follow up single: Sleep On The Left Side
Deetah – Relax
Chilean/Swedish signer Deetah released this in 1998 and I loved the laid back summery vibe. She didn’t release much else herself after this but did go on to appear on a Richard Blackwood single and has written songs for 98 Degrees and Mya
Dario G Sunchyme
I’m not going to add too many 90s dance songs other wise this post would be a billion pages long but this song has a special place in my heart as it was kicking about when I think the UK charts were probably at their very best; Blur and Oasis, boybands and the Spice Girls and just loads of great house music. The 90s will always be the best music decade and I will fight anyone who says otherwise
Deep Blue Something – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Completely over played at the time and now completely over played on Absolute 90s it was very indicative of all those American guitars bands who were out at the time. Not everyone can be Matchbox Twenty though sadly but the lead singer can be happy that his haircut seems to have come back round again in style
Gala – Freed from Desire
Thanks to the England Lionesses, it’s made a bit of a come back in recent times, but this was definitely part of many a night out when I was slightly too young to be drinking in pubs. Italian Gala did release Let a Boy Cry and Come Into my Life in quick succession after the success of Freed From Desire but in true Vengaboys fashion, they sounded almost identical and didn’t chart nearly as well.
Gun – Word Up
I think I may have just realised my next A-Z series needs to be 90s cover versions. Because in the words of Barney Stinton, new is always better. And I may even prefer this version to the Cameo version (which I also really like) don’t come for me.
Chesney Hawkes – The One and Only
Say what you want about Chesney but I like the cut of his jib. Despite probably having played this songs 10 billion times over his lifetime, he still comes across as a really humble down to earth guy. He also follows me on Twitter so clearly has good taste
Underrated follow up single: I’m A Man Not a Boy
House of Pain – Jump Around
The second it starts you know when it is, and everyone goes mental. Me and my brother always loved it from the scene in Mrs Doubtfire and I reckon, push came to shove, we would still know all the words to it. That’s probably best saved for a very drunk karaoke night. House of Pain continued releasing stuff up until around 1996 and Dj Lethal went on to Dj in Limp Bizkit.
Joshua Kadison – Jessie
I mean, what a load of total cheesy fromage this was. But I remember them plating the death out of it on Hits not Homework on metro radio. Jessie is about Sarah Jessica Parker apparently, although I don’t think Joshua himself ever confirmed that. He’s now quite prominent on YouTube and I presume Moses the cat has gone to live on a farm…
Ini Kamoze – Here comes the Hotstepper
Taken from the film Pret a Porter means the music video for this is uber cool. Ini Kamoze started his career in the 80s but only had his breakthrough hit in 1994. He’s continued to release music and has 8 albums out. Fun fact his real name is Cecil Campbell, and you don’t hear of many people called Cecil these days.
Kele Le Roc – A Little Bit of Lovin
Ah this was another gem from 1998 that I really liked and Kele Le Roc looked like she might go on to big things, she certainly made the cheek piercing a thing for about 20 minutes. The only other thing she is probably best known for after this is being the guest vocalist on Basement Jaxx’s Romeo.
Len – Steal My Sunshine
Helped by the fact it seemed to be on the soundtrack of every teen drama around in 1999, it was one of those songs that was had to really understand what it was about other than the chorus. If I couldn’t understand the lyrics to something I just used to automatically assume it was about drugs
Lisa Loeb – Stay
Making this lisT has made me wonder why this song isn’t my go to karaoke song because I used to belt this out in my bedroom for hours! These days Lisa Loeb does more TV and voice over work than she does singing, and whilst she’s released 10 albums between 1990 and 2020, she’s only really best known for this one song.
Billie Myers – Kiss the Rain
I genuinely thought this was Alanis Morissette when I first heard it. Then throw it on the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack and it was destined to become one of my favourite OHW’s of the 90s, nay, ever! There’s also a really good Chasing Amy edit which is intercut with dialogue from the film
Underrated follow up single: Tell Me
New Radicals – You Get What You Give
What a tune. What a tune, the kind that fit perfectly in a teen movie (of which there were plenty in the 90s) in a scene where you know everything’s going to be alright in the end. They did have a follow up song called Someday We’ll Know which me and my dad were big fans of but it didn’t do nearly as well. Greg Alexander the lead singer has gone on to write many a (s)hit for the likes on Ronan Keating.
OMC – How Bizarre
Show me a summer playlist that did not have this on in the 90s. The most bizarre thing about the whole song were the lyrics for me, other than the ‘How Bizarre, do do do do do do’ but it’s not very singalongable to. Good tune though.
Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe
Billy Ray Cyrus has got a lot to answer for, but brining line dancing to the pop charts, no matter how remixed, has to me one of his biggest crimes. Still played in Pop World now, the singing whiney voice really grates on me, but I guess is thigh slapping fun when you’re smashed on Tequila Rose.
Stereo MCs – Connected
Used for every mobile phone company in the land in the late 90s/early 00s which probably made them an absolute mint. Not to be confused with Stereo Kicks, the X Factor boyband that had about 45 members.
Stiltskin – Inside
Another song that was used in a Levis ad, this time the piece used in the advert is actually a proper part of the song. The lead singer of Stiltskin became the leader singer of Genesis from 1996 til 2000 which is quite a coup. And this is another one that is constantly on Absolute 90s.
Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby
I mean, let’s be honest, Ice walked so Eminem could run (ahem). Look, this is a guilty pleasure of mine and I loved it when I was 9. I did think he was probably the coolest man on the planet for about 2 weeks. Then he went on to be in a Turtles movie with a shocking cover of Play That Funky Music which extended his coolness by another weekend. He strikes me now as a bit of a bitter man now which is a shame, he should chill and have a beer with Chesney.
White Town – Your Woman
I maintain this song could be released now and sound modern. A timeless classic if you will. It’s another favourite on Absolute 90s, which I’m less annoyed about than Deep Blue Something and I think it’s sexually ambiguous lyrics were actually quite progressive for 1997. Justice for White Town!