The Music of 1994

cassetteWhoever you are, music shapes you.

Back in the day there was no iTunes, no digital, no tap a button and you get a song instantly. There was Strawberries and cassette tapes and this new thing called CDs that were super expensive (and you had to buy the whole thing for just one song). If you wanted songs to keep you would wait by your stereo with a blank tape, and when the song came on the radio you would hit record – always cutting off the beginning of it – and get the song to listen to. I often think back to the strongest memories of music I have, and they revolved around the 1994 Casey Kasem Top 100 Countdown. I had taped a bunch of songs off of it – the best songs of the year, I remember taking that tape with me in my Walkman to the bus stop (winter mornings), and riding on the bus to school listening to these songs that, unbeknownst to me, would stay with me even twenty years later.

I’ve been really getting back into 90s music lately, and realized that with the technology we have now I can not only look up that Top 100 from 1994, but that I can download all those songs. It’s amazing to me how many of these songs’ lyrics I remember, and how much those songs from the mid-1990s have stayed with me, and are the classics of my life. There have been some modern bands that I’ve come to like, but there’s a huge nostalgia and comfort associated with the old songs. The new songs don’t yet have memories attached to them; the old ones carry so much weight.

Here are some of those classics from the 1994 Top 100 (and my comments):

94. HOLD MY HAND – HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH (the era of Hootie)

93. MR. VAIN – CULTURE BEAT (this is one of those songs you find in a random corner of your memory and you’re like, Oh right!)

85. INTERSTATE LOVE SONG – STONE TEMPLE PILOTS (great song – $.69 on iTunes right now)

81. SAID I LOVE YOU…BUT I LIED – MICHAEL BOLTON (say what you will, but…)

77. DREAMS – THE CRANBERRIES (from the Boys on the Side soundtrack!)

72. WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY KENNETH? – R.E.M. (no Losing My Religion but still awesome)


68. BECAUSE THE NIGHT – 10,000 MANIACS (before Natalie went solo)

67. LOSER – BECK (this was 1994?? didn’t know it was that old)

66. BASKET CASE – GREEN DAY (ushered in a new era in music – also, the Dookie cover art)


63. LUCKY ONE – AMY GRANT (always been an Amy fan)

61. LINGER – THE CRANBERRIES (one of my favorites – I remember sitting in the hallway of my elementary school humming this)

59. ENDLESS LOVE – LUTHER VANDROSS & MARIAH CAREY (on my tape, classic duet)

54. BLACK HOLE SUN – SOUNDGARDEN (the video? come on)

53. YOU GOTTA BE – DES’REE (I remember the video for this)

52. SHOOP – SALT ‘N PEPA (“Here I go, here I go, here I go again…”)

51. HERO – MARIAH CAREY (classic mid-90s)

50. FAR BEHIND – CANDLEBOX (I learned how to play that riff a long time ago)

49. ALWAYS – BON JOVI (one of my favorite songs, period)

48. STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (that movie and that song struck a cultural note)

43. AMAZING – AEROSMITH (such an epic song)

40. FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU – THE GIN BLOSSOMS (soooo many songs were by the Gin Blossoms!)

39. I’LL STAND BY YOU – THE PRETENDERS (one of the best songs every)

37. ALL FOR LOVE – BRYAN ADAMS, ROD STEWART & STING (3 Muskateers movie? powerhouse voices)

36. PRAYER FOR THE DYING – SEAL (from my cassette! stayed with, a fav)

35. BREATHE AGAIN – TONI BRAXTON (I need to download this one)

32. I’M THE ONLY ONE – MELISSA ETHERIDGE (rocks so hard)

26. UNTIL I FALL AWAY – THE GIN BLOSSOMS (anything by the Gin Blossoms = 90s to me)


24. RETURN TO INNOCENCE – ENIGMA (Heey-yaaa-HEEY-he-yaaa)


17. COME TO MY WINDOW – MELISSA ETHERIDGE (was this the video with Juliette Lewis?)

13. ALL I WANNA DO – SHERYL CROW (Tuesday Music Club is still a great album)

11. I SWEAR – ALL-4-ONE (slow dance…)

10. IF YOU GO – JON SECADA (oh, Jon Secada…)

9. YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME – TONI BRAXTON (yup, the chorus still comes to mind)

8. BABY I LOVE YOUR WAY – BIG MOUNTAIN (not crazy about it, but remember it being everywhere)

7. I’LL REMEMBER – MADONNA (still moving to me, don’t know why)

6. WILD NIGHT – JOHN MELLENCAMP & ME’SHELL N’DEGEOCELLO (so good – I remember the video)

5. SHINE – COLLECTIVE SOUL (I bought this single in Boston, and it was the soundtrack to the summer before junior high)

4. MR. JONES – COUNTING CROWS (oh, classic!)

2. STAY (I MISSED YOU) – LISA LOEB & NINE STORIES (Lisa Loeb – the glasses, right?)

1. THE SIGN – ACE OF BASS (wasn’t a huge fan, but I could sing this)

Who else remembers these? Any others you want to mention?


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