The year 1997 seems like a long time ago, and it might be hard for you to remember all of those great tracks that took the world by storm and were on the radio no matter where you went or lived. We’ve compiled a list of the 31 best songs from 1997 below, so continue reading to feel nostalgic and smile reliving those memories.
1. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
Titanic fans will know the first song on our list, which is My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion. This track was incredibly popular because of the movie, and her vocals in this song are one of a kind. Often talked about as one of the best tracks of 1997 and the decade, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts and stayed there for weeks.
2. Candle In The Wind 1997 – Elton John
We all remember when Princess Diana died suddenly and the funeral that occurred, which is when we heard the rewritten version of Candle In The Wind by Elton John. While this song originally had been released in 1973, this version is an iconic track that’ll remind you of those you’ve lost in your life, and it’s no surprise it’s often thought of as one of the best songs of all time.
3. Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G.
Next is The Notorious B.I.G. with the song Hypnotize, which oddly enough, was only out a few weeks before he was murdered. There is a hook that you’ll remember in this track, and the beat is incredibly catchy too. The music video shows off the luxurious lifestyle he had and includes women and yachts. Thought to be his signature song, it is still one of the most popular hip hop tracks on the airwaves.
4. Wannabe – Spice Girls
Wannabe is the debut track from the Spice Girls, and it makes our list because this song made the group an international sensation. The lyrics are catchy, and it’s an upbeat track that includes all the original five members of the group. It is a song that is about valuing your friendships and not giving them up for a guy, so it’s a track about being honest and true to yourself. This is one of their most popular songs and is still a pop track that we hear today.
Recommended: Best girl groups of all time
5. You Make Me Wanna… – Usher
Up next is Usher with his hit You Make Me Wanna, which is about how he daydreams and loses himself in his thoughts over someone who isn’t the person he’s with at the time. He contemplates in the song leaving the person he’s with for this other woman. This track reached number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and hit two on the Billboard Hot 100.
6. Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Semi-Charmed Life makes our list because this track is the signature song from Third Eye Blind and one of the most popular tracks of 1997. The guitar riffs in the song are catchy, and the hook is in the top 10 of tracks released that year. It hit number one on the Alternative Airplay chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the only really big hit the band had, but it remains a classic today.
7. Lovefool – The Cardigans
Next is The Cardigans with Lovefool, which is a mix of disco, pop, and rock. The song comes from the album First Band On The Moon. It’s a catchy pop track with fun lyrics, and it went to the top of the charts in multiple countries, including reaching number one on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. You might remember this song from movies such as Romeo + Juliet and Cruel Intentions.
8. MMMBop – Hanson
Next on our list is the boy band Hanson with the track MMMBop, which is an upbeat pop song that once you hear you’ll be humming all day long. The lyrics are about cherishing time with your friends and family and keeping your relationships close. The track is thought of as their signature song, hitting number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and helped propel them as international stars. It is still a track people listen to today to feel good and put themselves in a better mood.
Recommended: Best songs of the 90s
9. Honey – Mariah Carey
Released on the album Butterfly, Mariah Carey makes our list with the song Honey. This track went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and that’s not surprising considering how popular she was during this time.
Sean Puffy Combs helped produce the song, and in the video, Carey shows a lot of skin, which was different from her previous videos and it changed her image into a sultry singer. It’s one of the most iconic and classic tracks from 1997 that is still in rotation today, such as in the television show Little Fires Everywhere.
10. Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik
Next is Barely Breathing, which is a track by Duncan Sheik on his debut album. This is his signature song, and he never had another track quite as popular. His very soft and gentle voice along with the acoustic guitar are a couple of reasons why this song is so good.
The lyrics go into a relationship that failed, and it’s very introspective. The video for this track is one of the most iconic of the decade with him appearing in a setting that looks like a dream world. The song reached number one on the Adult Alternative Songs chart and peaked at 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.
11. You Were Meant For Me – Jewel
Next up is Jewel with her hit You Were Meant For Me, which is about trying to move on with her life after a breakup. She is emotional in the song, and it shows just how hard it is to move on once you’ve had your heart broken. While a sad track, it was one of the most-played songs of 1997 and is thought to be one of her best tracks.
12. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) – Backstreet Boys
Attention all boy band fans, you probably remember the hit from Backstreet Boys called Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), which is the song that made them a household name. The track is all about being upset that a woman is sending out mixed signals on what she wants and the man is getting tired of it. The music video was one of the most iconic of the year with the guys standing out in the rain singing and dancing around.
13. Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison
Next is Mark Morrison with the track Return Of The Mack, which is one of the most memorable R&B songs of 1997. This track is exactly what you think, which is about him coming back out into the music world after taking a break. He is announcing he’s back, and with the chorus being as catchy and upbeat as it is, we can’t help but sing along when we hear it.
14. Around The World – Daft Punk
Daft Punk makes our list with his dance song Around The World, which is known by people who don’t even know about EDM. The music video is what’s great about this track because people are dressed up as different musical instruments, and it has a beat that will leave you hypnotized. This is easily their signature song and helped propel EDM into the mainstream.
15. Building A Mystery – Sarah McLachlan
Next is Sarah McLachlan‘s Building A Mystery, which is one of her most memorable and iconic songs. There is a string quartet in the track, and her lyrics are very introspective, which makes it haunting and soothing at the same time. In the music video, she is seen in multiple settings, so it’s interesting and unique and also mysterious.
16. Fly – Sugar Ray
One pop song that you’ll probably remember is Fly by Sugar Ray featuring the raps of Jamaican star Super Cat. This track is all about a guy who is just trying to figure out who he is, and it’s one of those feel-good songs that you put on to dance to. There was a carefree attitude during this time, and this track nails that feeling on the head.
17. #1 Crush – Garbage
Garbage is up next with #1 Crush, which was in the movie Romeo + Juliet and helped propel them as a force to be reckoned with. Shirley Manson plays the role of a sexy and sultry lead singer in the song while the guitar distortion makes it sound like hard rock and industrial. This track is still popular today and a fan favorite.
18. Barbie Girl – Aqua
The next track is infamous and one of the silliest songs of 1997, although it was still a huge hit. We’re talking about Barbie Girl by Aqua, and the lyrics to this track are funny and downright silly, but there are many references in the song that make it more adult-like. We can’t say too much about this track except everyone was singing it, and it made you look at Barbie in a whole new way.
19. Let Me Clear My Throat – DJ Kool Feat. Biz Markie And Doug E. Fresh
Next is Let Me Clear My Throat by DJ Kool, which is a hip hop song that features a call-and-response element to it. This track will get you all hyped up with the catchy lyrics and beat, and you’re going to find it hard not to dance to this song.
20. Bitch – Meredith Brooks
On our list next is Bitch by Meredith Brooks, which was all over the radio in 1997, although sometimes it was edited for radio. There is a lot of frustration you can hear in her voice as she goes through the list of everything that makes her who she is. She is also appreciative of the fact that her man still loves her even though not everything about her is a positive trait or quality.
21. I’m Not A Player – Big Pun
Big Pun aka Big Punisher is on our list next with the song I’m Not A Player, which is one of the classic hip hop tracks of 1997. The beat is very catchy, and the wordplay in the song is great. You’ll love the lyrics and how interesting and witty they are, and it has one of the most memorable hooks that you won’t quickly forget.
Recommended: Best 90s rap songs
22. On & On – Erykah Badu
Next, we have Erykah Badu with her hit song On & On, and if you like jazz music, you’ll love this tune since it includes bass and horns. If you enjoy soul music or R&B then you’ve probably heard this track, but if not, it’s worth checking out because her voice is amazing and the lyrics of this song are happy since it’s all about celebrating the gift of life.
23. Love Gets Me Every Time – Shania Twain
Calling all country music fans, Shania Twain makes our list with her song Love Gets Me Every Time, which is more of a pop track with her chorus and the vocal style used. This song is all about the good and bad that come with falling in love with someone, so it’s something a lot of us can relate to. The melody is catchy, and it’s one of those tracks her fans ask for during concerts, which is why it’s often in live shows.
24. ATLiens – OutKast
Southern hip hop group OutKast is on our list next with ATLiens, which is a play on Atlanta, and it’s a song that has a style we soon won’t forget. There is soul and funk in this track just like their other songs, and it’s one of the most iconic tracks of 1997. The song made it to 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was featured in the television show New York Undercover.
25. I’ll Be – Foxy Brown
Rappers Foxy Brown and Jay-Z made the list with I’ll Be, which helped Foxy become a household name. Not only is this song catchy and has a beat that is booming, but the flow that Jay-Z has in this track is just top-notch. This is the song that really got people talking about Foxy and helped her career as an MC.
26. 4 Seasons Of Loneliness – Boyz II Men
Next is Boyz II Men with their song 4 Seasons Of Loneliness, which is all about the feeling of being lonely after you’ve gone through a breakup. The pain and sorrow from heartache are talked about in this track, and it’s all compared to the four seasons. In the music video, you can see the group in different locations, which symbolize those seasons changing. As with most of their songs, this made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
27. Fired Up! – Funky Green Dogs
We have to mention Funky Green Dogs with their song Fired Up, which has a hook that’s very catchy, and it’s a classic even now in the clubs. There is a cool guitar riff in the track, and the beats are just booming to keep you dancing all night. You couldn’t go to a club without hearing this song, and the track is so energetic that we think it’ll stay around for a long time.
28. Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down – Puff Daddy Feat. Mase
Up next is Puff Daddy with his song Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, which also featured Mase. This was his first release from his debut album No Way Out. It quickly catapulted him as a superstar and is what spawned his illustrious career. There is a down-tempo style of the beat in the track, and its lyrics are serious in nature, which made it even more popular. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Hot Rap Songs chart.
29. Summertime – The Sundays
We’re putting Summertime by The Sundays on our list because this song is all about feeling sad that the summer season is ending and fall is quickly approaching. When you hear this track, you’ll be taken back in time to the past remembering the summers you had that were special to you. There is a peaceful and calming element to the song, and it’s a fan favorite that the band seemed to play often in concert.
30. Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan
Next is Bob Dylan with his hit Make You Feel My Love, which features an acoustic guitar and a piano against his iconic vocal styling. It’s all about having love for someone and a deep sense of devotion to them. Adele and other artists have covered this track because it’s such a lovely romantic song.
31. Criminal – Fiona Apple
Criminal by Fiona Apple rounds out our list, and this track is most remembered for the lyrics that show her engaging in self-destructive behaviors due to feeling guilty and a lot of shame. The mood of the song is raw and real and shows the power of a relationship that is toxic. This track was one of the biggest songs of the year and helped show her as a serious songwriter.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.