Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1998

(Sorry, once again, for this one going up so late in the day. Had a doctor’s appointment.)

The year is now 1998. This is one of the most active post-1991 years for #1s; with Elton’s double A-side carrying over, we have 17 songs to choose from. This year is also significant in that Billboard made two big changes to how the Hot 100 worked. Firstly, it dropped the requirement that songs be released as a single in order to chart, allowing airplay-only songs to make the Hot 100 for the first time (though it’ll be 2000 before we see one hit #1). This also rendered the question of double A-sides moot, since every song was now being tracked on its own merits, and Sir Elton’s is the very last one we’ll see in this poll. Secondly, they widened the number of radio stations they got airplay data from. Previously, Billboard had only tracked airplay on songs with a “mainstream”, “pop”, “adult contemporary” or “easy listening” format; this year, they additionally started adding data from rock, country, hip-hop/R&B, and other genre-specific stations.

You know the drill. What’s your favorite?

  • 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 1997 2012 2013


It takes time to type out the names of 17 songs and artists, grasshopper. :slight_smile:

I’ll wait for the poll but I’m thinking either Savage Garden or Lauryn Hill.

I was going to go with Savage Garden until I saw Barenaked Ladies on the list. I went for the fun song.

Dishonorable mention goes to Celine Dion who is the reason why I did not go to my senior prom. It was Titanic-themed and I would be damned before I spent $25 for a ticket plus whatever for a dress to listen to that ungodly caterwauling for hours and hours.

Oh dear Lord.

There are four songs on this list I’ve never even heard of, and several other songs I had to play on Youtube in order to recognize them. None of them exactly tickled my fancy. Seeing these lists the last few years, it’s a miracle I made it through high school and college without giving up on music altogether.

I voted for Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It.” This is the only fun song on the entire list other than “One Week” and “Doo Wop (That Thang),” a couple of good songs that I didn’t like quite enough to vote for. I predict “One Week” will win the poll anyway.

Now for dead-ass last place. I count nine songs that I absolutely despise. But somehow, Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply” stands out among the rest of this garbage. I really liked their fun debut single “I Want You,” but then they started putting out horrible ballads like “Truly Madly Deeply” and “I Knew I Loved You” (a #1 song in 1999). :mad:

After these last few polls, I just keep reminding myself, “it WILL get better. It WILL get better. It WILL get better.”

I’m a huge fan of 90s music-- grunge, alt, rap, pop, country, I love it all-- and I gotta say, this is the worst year so far. Absolutely terrible. I went with Lauryn Hill.

One Week gets my vote, that silly improvised rap hits all the right notes for me. Not my favourite BNL but far and away the best song on this list.

A vote for anything other than Lauryn Hill is a travesty.

I voted for “One Week.”

But the next next 10-12 years will be tough for me. I turned 37 in 1998, and that was right about the time I first found that I didn’t recognize most of the songs or artists listed on the Billboard charts.

From 1998 until a few years ago, when my son started listening to pop/top 40 music, I hardly heard any of the biggest hit singles. I may have to skip voting entirely in quite a few of the upcoming years, because I just won’t KNOW any of the songs.

I don’t write songs, but if I did they’d have a samurai.

This one was easy… for the first time in several years there’s a song there that I actually like! (One Week)

I was listening to the radio a lot in the mid to late 1990s, but I remember only a few of these songs. (And one of them - you’re welcome, Celine! - is the Worst Popular Song Ever. When Canada is dead and gone…) I guess I’ll wait for the modern/alternative poll to catch up.

I decided to go with Aerosmith this year. This is actually one of their worst songs ever, and it was associated with one of the worst big-budget movies of all time…

but I haven’t had a chance to vote for Aerosmith on these polls, and I think it’s still the best song on the list from my perspective.

I was going to vote for the Barenaked Ladies, as the only representative of musical styles I tend to enjoy most, but instead I went for my second choice (Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy…”), because:

  1. I noticed that the Ladies were already getting lots of love; and
  2. It’s not nearly my favorite Ladies song. In fact, I dislike all the songs that that singer sings, while I love all the songs that the other guy (the chubby one, Stephen something) sings. “Call and Answer,”“Brian Wilson,” “Alcohol”…

When I vote on these, I start at the top and work my way down, clicking on each new “best” song as it overtakes the previous one. When I was very nearly at the bottom of the list and still had “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” selected, I let out an involuntary “Good God!”

Fortunately, Lauryn Hill showed up just in time to save the situation. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” was the most “Song of the Summer” of any Song of the Summer I can remember. That song was just freakin’ everywhere, at least in New York.

It never lost its appeal, though. “One Week” was fine the first 200 times I heard it, but at this point it’s just kind of annoying to me.

Lauryn Hill for me.

I went with One Week for this one, and I’m honestly surprised to see so many people agreeing with me - I expected either Elton or Aerosmith to be leading this one. It’s just such a fun song, and I remember listening to it over and over again back in the day to memorize the patter verses (I just can’t bring myself to call it ‘rap’ when it’s a white Canadian guy talking about golf clubs and the X-Files and Sailor Moon).

Either of those other songs would have been my runners-up, with Savage Garden getting the honorable mention for “I hated it when it came out but by gum it’s grown on me”.

(PS: As an amusing side fact, “One Week” was #1 for exactly one week.)

Lauryn Hill.

Hesitant, should give it to Janet, KC AND JOJO, or Next? But Lauryn won me over. Good song.