Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1999

It’s time to party like it’s 1999 (again), people. Our survey now closes out the 20th century with 15 songs, including the longest gap between an artist’s first and last #1, the longest gap between an artist’s first charting single and their first #1, and the first #1 to feature Auto-Tuned lead vocals.

You know the drill. What’s your favorite?

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 1998 2012 2013

Went with Britney.

This year has my most-hated #1 of all time - Cher’s “Believe”.

I had to look up the Santana one to figure out what it was. But it wins by about a kajillion miles. Honourable mention to Livin’ La Vida Loca, which is kinda fun.

A slightly better year, IMHO, than the previous several, but maybe that’s my Latino bias talking.

It came down to Kike Iglesias and Christina Aguilera for me. Since someone already cast a vote for Kike, I voted for Christina.

After sitting out the 1998 poll, here is a clear first choice with the Santana comeback.

In retrospect, the Latin sound really was big this year, which no doubt contributed to Santana’s comeback being the huge phenomenon it was. I cast my vote for him easy - “Smooth” is one of the few songs from ‘99 that holds up and still gets airplay these days, and Rob Thomas’ vocals are great.

For me, though, the two songs that best defined 1999 are ones that never made it to #1 on the Hot 100, but were in heavy rotation on MTV and often scored highly on TRL - “My Name Is” by Eminem (peaked at #36) and “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann (peaked at #45).

Ah, yes, “Believe.” The song that inflicted obvious autotune on us for the first time. Cher has earned herself a seat in Music Hell for doing that, right next to Donna Summer (she earned hers for doing a twenty-goddamn-minute version of “McArthur Park.”)

I went for “Smooth” because Carlos Santana rocks.

I have a lot of good memories with “Believe,” so I went with that.

I’m afraid I had to go with Britney.

I’m not as ashamed of that as I should be, but she is hot.


That song was popular even in Mexico. I remember living there, and a cousin visited, and I said to him, “There’s this clever, funny rap artist on the radio lately – know anything about him?” He replied, “Oh, you must mean Eminem.” I said, “No, that’s not his name…something with an S…” He laughed – and I learned that “Slim Shady” was just a pseudonym/alter ego.

Agreed, and the entire album was excellent.

Ms. Britney Spears, though other good songs around.

That Baz Luhrman song was fantastic, true powerful lyrics that applies to everybody. Also anyone remember that song “Mambo #5” by Lou Bega that was terrorizing radio in 1999?

Terrific. I had never seen the video until now (and only recall hearing the “song” maybe once or twice); poignant to see the Twin Towers, briefly, in 1999.

I had to vote for Britney, with JLo finishing second in the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System. The excellence of Santana was partially negated by Rob Thomas. Eminem’s “My Name Is” would have been an easy choice for the win if it had reached #1.

Cher finishes dead-ass last. I hate that fucking song.

Unfortunately yes. That song might be even worse than “Believe.”

I do now.

jams bottle brush in ears

I think I must have recently travelled here from a parallel universe identical to ours in every way except that that song never existed, because I had never heard or heard of it until a few months ago.

Went with Ricky Martin. I remember first seeing him on the '99 VMAs and being blown away. The song is still fun.

I’m surprised Genie in a Bottle and Hit Me Baby One More Time came out the same year as Livin La Vida Loca. I feel like they came years before Ricky.

Interestingly enough, in that “catchiest songs of all time” list I linked to in the thread on 1996 (where “Wannabe” was declared the catchiest/most quickly recognizable song of all time), Mambo #5 was the runner-up. You should be thankful you missed it. I was living in Europe at the time, and it you just couldn’t get away from that damned song. I don’t know if it was as bad here in the US.

Shit, somehow I completely glossed over Ms. Spears/ That really should be my vote.