Best Songs From 1997

1997 was home to some of history’s most iconic and influential musicians. We listened to grunge pop, bubblegum pop, rap music and more.

The following is a list of best songs from 1997.

1. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

Song year: 1997

In December 1997, the world fell in love with the movie Titanic. But, at the same time, we also fell in love with the iconic and memorable theme song, beautifully sung by the one and only Celine Dion.

The song managed to stay atop the charts for weeks and continues to be a song that instantly incites a smile. It is easily one of the best songs of 1997.

2. “Barbie Girl” by Aqua

Song year: 1997

If our previous entry made us all cry, this song makes everybody laugh!

The band Aqua personified the world of a famous doll and added lyrics that made everyone giggle, regardless of whether or not they caught the hidden references laced within.

Singing about being in love with her plastic love, Aqua gave the world a song that everybody still has the words memorized.

3. “Honey” by Mariah Carey

Song year: 1997

The whistle note that Mariah Carey brings to her music is, at once, both iconic and instantly recognizable.

Carey sings about lusting after her lover’s kiss, and she lures us in with her tantalizing vocal talent. The song successfully established Carey as a multi-genre artist, as the song features a heavy influence from the hip-hop and R&B communities.

4. “As Long as You Love Me” by Backstreet Boys

Song year: 1997

Boy bands continued their pillage of the hearts of young audiences in the 1990s. Backstreet Boys paved the way for countless boy bands of future generations.

This upbeat love song is a lover’s promise that regardless of things done in the past, love is all that matters. The boys’ sensual and loving lyrics solidify them as one of the greatest pop groups ever.

5. “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba

Song year: 1997

This song is one of the great ones that capitalize on lyrical simplicity. Tubthumping features a consistent rerun of the same couple of lyrics, sung primarily in a chant.

The grip this song has on the world, even today, is a reminder of times when music could captivate us and bring us together. The empowering lyrics of this song are useful in just about any troubling situation.

6. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112

Song year: 1997

This song was written as a dedication to the late Notorious B.I.G. and sampled a well-known song from the 1980s. The lyrics speak of how life will never be the same without that one important person.

Despite all the melancholy, the song’s beat entices the listener to dance through the tears. The lyrics, though sad, inspire hope and encouragement of brighter days ahead.

7. “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly

Song year: 1997

Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan teamed up with the other Looney Tunes for the family adventure Space Jam. This inspirational ballad was the theme song to accompany the feature film.

The lyrics focus on not allowing oneself to succumb to the doubters and naysayers. Focusing on goals and believing in a dream is the only way through the storm.

8. “MMMBop” by Hanson

Song year: 1997

One-hit wonders were rife in the 1990s, and this particular song is undoubtedly one of the more beloved examples.

Most people resort to looking up the official song lyrics to understand what the band of brothers is saying. Regardless, this song is still a favorite for many, with undertones of focusing on the connections you build with those around you.

9. “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes

Song year: 1997

The 1990s featured some of the greatest love themes from blockbuster movies ever. This country hit by LeAnn Rimes was one of the greats of that decade.

The song laments over the despair Rimes would experience if she and her lover were to part ways.

The passionate lyrics give us hope that we all will find someone to feel that deeply about.

10. “Fly Like an Eagle” by Seal

Song year: 1997

Despite being a film aimed at entertaining children, Space Jam inspired some incredible music that adults could find joy in listening to.

Seal’s vocal abilities were famous in the 1990s for being easy on the ears and tender on the heart. His relaxed vocals on this tune were another source of inspiration, pushing listeners to fight through adversity and go on to the future.

11. “Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John

Song year: 1997

Though this song was originally recorded and released in the 1970s, an updated version topped the charts in late 1997. This move resulted from the sudden and shocking death of Princess Diana.

As the world mourned, music became a place of soothing comfort for many of those in despair. Elton John’s powerful ballad reminds us all how much better life is with those we love.

12. “You Were Meant for Me” by Jewel

Song year: 1997

Moving on after losing a lover is a difficult thing to do. Jewel sings about the agony experienced in those times with this beautiful song.

Jewel hits all of our emotions, offering a relatable and depressing look into the struggle that is charting a new life course after heartbreak. Though gloomy, this song was one of the best songs of 1997.

13. “You Make Me Wanna…” by Usher

Song year: 1997

Usher melted the hearts of millions of young women in the late 1990s. His sexy dance moves and easy-on-the-ears vocal abilities solidified him as an instant heartbreaker.

This hit rang true with all of that, speaking of the stress he experiences getting lost in thoughts about someone and debating leaving his lover for them.

Though scandalous, Usher proved to the world why he belongs in the history books.

14. “Don’t Let Go (Love)” by En Vogue

“Don’t Let Go (Love)” by En Vogue

Song year: 1997

En Vogue gave the music world some of the hottest and most heartfelt R&B hits of the 1990s with their powerful vocal abilities.

This dramatic love ballad entices a love interest to stay close and begs the question, “can we see where this thing can go?”

It’s a love song with an edge, and En Vogue knocks it out of the park with its incredible talent.

15. “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks

Song year: 1997

Though some audiences may turn and run when they see the song title, this is one hit you can’t ignore.

Meredith Brooks sings about the frustration she experiences in her life and all the things that make her who she is. She thanks the man she loves for loving her despite everything she knows she can be.

16. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” by Puff Daddy feat. Mase

Song year: 1997

Puff Daddy’s debut single set the stage for a successful music career.

The rap song became famous for its downtempo beat and heavy lyrics. The melody also featured several samples from well-known hits and artists in music.

The song proved to be a generous and smart move as an introduction to a solo rap career for Puff Daddy.

17. “Spice Up Your Life” by Spice Girls

Song year: 1997

Regardless of where you lived, it was nearly impossible in 1997 not to have heard at least one song by this iconic girl group from the United Kingdom.

Spice Girls took the pop music industry by storm in the late 1990s. Their upbeat party anthems inspired people to dance for decades to come. This particular hit spun their name to make their listeners’ lives more fun.

18. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

Song year: 1997

This song easily wins a spot on the list of the best songs from 1997 with one of the most easily recognized hooks.

Perhaps nobody got past that part, but that’s okay. The genius songwriting and perfect guitar riffs solidify this hit as a classic that listeners love to revisit.

Third Eye Blind may not have continued making music, but they struck gold with this.

19. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day

Song year: 1997

The punk rock band Green Day gave the music industry several deep cuts along with their chart-topping hits through the 1990s and well into the 2000s.

This slow-tempo, sad rock song mulls over the empty feelings that linger after a difficult and heartbreaking decision has been made.

Listeners have used this song for multiple reasons, but it speaks to the fantastic job Green Day did with this song.

20. “Walkin’ on the Sun” by Smash Mouth

Song year: 1997

In the 1990s, Smash Mouth was the band you could count on to deliver banging hits that everyone loved.

This song was no exception. The band delivers a call to action, inspiring listeners to pay attention to things happening around them rather than taking the easy road.

The song is catchy and reminds us why we loved smash hits from Smash Mouth.

21. “You Should Be Mine (Don’t Waste Your Time)” by Brian McKnight feat. Mase

Song year: 1997

Brian McKnight always had a way with his words and voice in the 1990s. This funky R&B song is proof of that.

McKnight notices how a girl he likes gets treated by her boyfriend and steps in to let her know that with him, all will be as it should.

The slick lyrics and funky beat demand repeat listens.

22. “Men in Black” by Will Smith

Song year: 1997

Though most people primarily recognize Will Smith for his acting talents, some will remember when he took some shots in the music industry.

Smith rapped the movie theme for his blockbuster hit of the same name, featuring samples of well-known music from previous decades and an infectious beat.

The result is an infectious beat and song that remains iconic today.

23. “Angels” by Robbie Williams

Song year: 1997

A soft-spoken, heartfelt ballad of hope joins our list of the best songs from 1997.

Robbie Williams gives a touching addition to his music catalog by singing about how he finds comfort. Williams speaks about how the angels above help him manage his pain through dark times.

The somber message of the song is a reminder that there is always hope.

24. “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by Backstreet Boys

Song year: 1997

Backstreet Boys are back, as this list now features two iconic hits from the famous boy band.

This track became a staple for the band as they advanced their career through the decades to come. Die-hard fans and those who occasionally listen can agree that this song makes people sing and jump.

It’s an easy song to love and dance to every time it plays.

25. “Together Again” by Janet Jackson

Song year: 1997

Janet Jackson came from a family of talent. She picked it up as well.

This iconic, upbeat song is one of those tunes that make the listener genuinely feel happy. The beat is quick, and Jackson’s light and easy vocals pair beautifully with the melody. The joy is in the lyrics and beat.

It’s easy to find yourself dancing to this instant hit from 1997.

Top Songs From 1997, Final Thoughts

1997 was a pretty solid year for the music industry. Many of the iconic hits we fell in love with that year still make our hearts sing today.

The styles of the 1990s influenced musical artists of the future, and many of the beats, hooks, and riffs we fell in love with getting sampled in new music regularly.

These top songs from 1997 helped shape the music industry.

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