Really big songs (and other pop culture hits) that you've totally missed out on...

I was giving my wife one of her standard 2-hour massages tonight while we were in bed, watching TV. Since nothing was on, we turned the “dial” (digital cable) to the band of channels that covers the various music genres, from a Big Band channel to a Hip Hop channel to “decade” channels, etc.

Anyway, towards the end of the rub/scratch/hairbrushing One Sweet Day came on, a 1995 song by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men. I remark first…

“Huh. I’ve never heard this song.”
“… You’ve never heard this song?!?”
“Did I stutter?”, with a wink, “No, it doesn’t sound familiar at all.”
“No way! This song was HUGE!”

Her surprise seemed a little out of proportion for what was sounding like a pretty basic ballad with a fair amount of caterwauling, so I decided to look it up in my copy of Joel Whitburn’s The Billboard Book of Top-40 Hits, an invaluable reference guide to what was hot and what was not in the world of pop music.

Holy freakin’ Shiite, this song was big! Apparently, not only did it spend 16 weeks at #1, not only was it just the biggest song of 1995 (coulda fooled me), but according to this book, it was the biggest charting song of all time*, beating out Elvis, the Beatles, and the Macarena (which I had heard :wink: ).

Who knew?

So, what big songs or other pop-culture things did you totally miss out on? Not because you weren’t interested (“I have no desire in seeing that boat movie… we all know that it sinks in the end”), but because, well, you weren’t paying attention. Or you were too busy. Or something.

*However, I think the all-time list is a little suspect because the top-9 songs are all post 1992. Did Billboard change the way they figured their charts or something?

I can’t remember how that song goes at all. I’m sure I’ve heard it, but, despite it’s popularity, it must not have been very memorable.

I completely missed out on the whole “Survivor” thing the first time around (now, of course, I ignore it, and don’t have a TV anymore anyway), but around the time it was a phenomenon and even the TV news was like “Who’s gonna win?!?” I was all, what the hell are you talking about?


I some how missed out on Labyrinth, Goonies, and Dark Crystal.

I didn’t hear about any of them until years after they came out.

I have never heard that song either. Mind you, I try to avoid all things Screechy Spice.

I’m certain that there are a lot of things that happened in the US that I’m unaware of. Likewise, things that happened in Canada that my husband hasn’t heard of. I’ll sing along to a song on one of my cds, and he’ll look at me like I’m a crazy woman. Asking what it is, why do I know it, and I’ll have to tell him that it was HUGE on the Canadian charts and I can’t believe he hasn’t heard it.

Although Goonies was a pretty big hit, Labyrinth didn’t do very well at the box office at all (Dark Crystal did even worse). It did, however, go on to became a cult favorite on video. So I think Labyrinth is one that pretty much everyone only heard about years later, it’s just a matter of how many years. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone say they saw it in the movie theater, but plenty of people my age remember it fondly as their usual childhood/adolescent weekend rental.

“Y.M.C.A.” was a huge hit in 1979, but I don’t remember hearing it until the 1990s.

Missing out on things has been practically a way of life for me.

I’m British, and a fan of rock music (among other things), yet I had virtually no awareness of Led Zeppelin until about 1982. Then (thankfully) someone loaned me a tape with a few Zep tracks on. He said ‘If you’re wondering why they’re so famous, it’s just because they’ve got the best songs with the best riffs… best everything, in fact’. And he wasn’t far wrong.

I didn’t get ‘into’ Eric Clapton until the late 1980s, when at last I heard Slowhand (released 1977) and Backless (1978).

The rise of domestic video, and renting VHS movies, totally transformed the British landscape in the early 1980s, and I even worked in the video industry at the time. The most popular and bankable stars of the era, and the ones whose movies seemed to dominate video rentals, were Stallone and Schwarzenegger, and everyone I knew seemed to yack about them on a daily basis. Yet I didn’t get round to seeing any of the Rocky movies until about 1990, when I watched I and II on video, and never saw an Arnie movie until 1991 when T2 came out.

I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, mention any majorly successful careers in popular culture and the chances are I caught up with it about ten years after everyone else, if at all.

I saw *Labrynth * at the theater! I am, however, quite willing to believe that my sister, grandmother, and I were the only three folks who did.

On the flip side of the coin, I may be the only person left in American who hasn’t seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding . There is also some song by a group called Los Ketchup or something like that that I remember hearing about, and heard a clip from on VH1’s bad songs show, but I’ve never heard any of it beyond the clip.

Is that what the kids are listening to these days?

That makes 1.5 Americans who haven’t seen MBFGW; I’ve only seen half of the movie. I own the DVD, but have only made it up to the part where he proposes. Haven’t watched it beyond that.

As for me, any mainstream pop music between 1992 and 2000 is a complete blank. I’ve missed out on grunge, Kurt Cobain, and much more, including one song I’ve only seen the Weird Al parody of, that has lots of humming. (What IS the name of the humming song, the original song - not the parody? Okay, the name of the parody, too.)

screech “just an NPR-kinda person” -owl

I also missed out on MBFGW. Not sure I want to see it either.

I have no knowledge of anything by the White Stripes. I’m sure I must have heard them while scanning the radio. Everyone tells me I’d love them. :dubious:

Add Audioslave to the list. And the Matrix movies.

Don’t know the parody, cause I hate Weird Al, but you may be thinking of the Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”. Strange song.

When I was 16-17, in the early 1980’s, I went through a big 1960s music phase, where I never listened to contemporary radio or records and instead focused my attention on the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, and early Bob Dylan. Certainly not a bad thing, but at the same time, I missed out on the New Wave music that everyone else was listening to. I didn’t hear the B52s, Devo, the Cars, or most of the early Police songs until years later.
(and I haven’t seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding either.)

Totally missed out on Crying Game and Pirates of the Carribean. I’ve been unable to avoid the spoilers for them, so I’ll probably never see them.

I look at the Top 10 singles and albums in the paper and have no idea who the artists are. I mostly listen to college radio, and they never play the commercial stuff. To me, all rappers are alike…they have some weird name they spell differently, they dress and look the same, put out a few hits, then get thrown in jail.


Me neither. Never heard of “Boys II Men” either, although I’ve heard of Mariah Carey (can’t tell you offhand anything she’s ever sung though).

I’ve never seen E.T. or those dinosaur movies… don’t ever care to either.

Krispy Kreme (sp?). Don’t know if that counts as pop culture, but I totally missed out on that one until November 2002. Nirvana–never heard of them until Kurt Cobain killed himself. Survivor, Big Brother, and all the other reality TV shows. Never heard of the song the OP mentioned, either.

Oh, and I didn’t know about the Berlin wall coming down until the January after it happened. Used to live in Germany, too. I figured it out when my sister had bought a poster of the event and hung it on her bedroom door.

I’ve never heard the Thong Song.

You must be incredibly lucky.

Us Southerners have had over 30 years to miss Krispy Kreme… by the time I heard they were big I was like - “Oh! They’re still in business? Haven’t had one of those in decades…”

I was born in '82 and spent the entire 80s and 90s listening to country, Oldies, and oldie stations that played country music. I didn’t have cable. I wasn’t interested in movies. I didn’t really have any friends (and those I had listened to country music) and I read a lot.

Imagine my surprise when I got cable in '98 and found out all the stuff I missed. “Nirvana? Who are they? Pearl Jam? Smashing Pumpkins? Huh? Dude, what’s this 80s crap?”