Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1997

Our survey brings us now to 1997. Like the previous year, we have 11 songs to choose from, including Toni Braxton’s carryover. This year marks the last time a double A-side appears at #1 before Billboard changes its singles/album cuts policy, and what was for many years the best-selling single of all time to boot. We also have the only time I’m aware of that an artist scored not one but two posthumous #1s, along with a third song dedicated to that person.

Insert comment about how all these songs suck and you’re abstaining. Insert comment about how music used to be better and this is the worst year ever. Insert comment about how the best song of the year was some alternative song by Radiohead or something.

And once you’re done with that, tell us what your favorite is from this list. :smiley:

  • denotes one-half of a double A-side

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 2012 2013

Ugh. From this remove, I had to give it to Hanson, which is at least catchy (as is the Spice Girls song) and harkens back to '70s pre-teen hits (if not the Jackson 5, at least the Osmonds).

Incredibly, this has to go to Hanson. I probably haven’t heard it for ten years, but the chorussy bit has got stuck in my head again.

“Wannabe” kicks the asses of all the other songs. I missed all the pop songs of the 80s, and “Wannabe” was the first song in years that reminded me of a more fun era in pop music. The era of R&B ballads was really getting tiresome. “Mo Money Mo Problems” finishes a distant second place in the world-famous** Ponch8 Music Rating System.**

For the fourth year in a row, Boyz II Men finish in dead-ass last place. I liked some of their songs when the group was first popular, but they sure went downhill.

Spice Girls walk away with this.

Easy, it’s gonna be one of the two Notorious B.I.G. songs. I still enjoy listening to them, which I can’t really say about any of the other songs. I ended up going with “Mo Money Mo Problems,” but “Hypnotize” is neck-and-neck with it.

Interesting thing about “Wannabe.” A recent scientific study of “catchiest songs” came up with “Wannabe” scoring first.

Incidentally, I find this year much better than the last couple of years. Things are looking up.

I dunno about all time, but for this year, yeah, Geri Halliwell and et cetera.

Actually, I take back not enjoying listening to any of the other songs. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” is also pretty awesome–I somehow glanced over it. Can’t stand “I’ll Be Missing You,” though. The Hanson and Spice Girls are fine bits of pop songwriting, but I don’t ever need to hear them again. And the Toni Braxton is good, too. Like I said in the follow-up, a pretty decent year after the last few.

One sort of has to vote for the catchiest song of all time here, doesn’t one?

Well, personally, I’d consider “MMMBop” the catchier song of the two.

“Most quickly recognizable” is really what the study was going for. Also, the study was in Europe, and I don’t think “MMMBop” was as big there. At least I don’t remember hearing it, while “Wannabe” was everywhere. Both reasonable, fun pop songs. Just a bit boring to me compared to some of the other options.

Have to vote to keep Wannabe ahead…

Gave it to Hypnotize without a second thought.

Mmmbop was a good pop song, and impressive that it was written by kids. That would be my second place vote. But Hypnotize is just a classic.

Elton John - Candle in the Wind 1997

Not my favourite song of his but it’s a nod to his general songwriting abilities. And the best crafted song in this list anyway.

Yeah, that guy’s a regular Bernie Taupin.

Even worse than 1996! So bad that, while I wouldn’t have voted for “Unbreak My Heart” in 1996, I did vote for it in 1997!

It’s a sign of the end times when you see Spice Girls on a list of songs and think they might be the best thing there.

1997 was a big year for me musically, though. I was up studying at 2 am, when my regular radio station would stop to play an album all the way through. They chose Dream Theater’s Images and Words (which is odd, since it was a 1992 release, and that station didn’t play any of those songs individually). I was hooked.

The 1973 version of Candle in the wind is so much better that in the end I gave my vote to Wannabe.

The '97 version was something that naturally struck a chord with a lot of people at the time, though it’s definitely grown dated now.

One good thing I’ll say in its credit is that I don’t recall ever having heard the original on the radio before '97 (and I listened to classic rock radio pretty much exclusively in those days), and after the new version came out, the original came into rotation and has stayed there pretty much to this day.