Music makes the world go round. (Well, not literally. But you know what we mean). And sometimes it can seem that certain songs came out decades ago. But if you wanted to know what songs were best-sellers the year you were born, check this out…
1980 – ‘Call Me’ – Blondie
In 1980, Blondie was a huge megastar. When the song was first released in the US, it stayed atop the US Billboard charts for six consecutive weeks before it was eventually overpowered. To this day, it is still regarded as their best single throughout their career and was even the soundtrack to the movie, American Gigolo.
1981 – ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ – Kim Carnes
Kim Carnes didn’t actually write Bette Davis Eyes. In fact, the song was originally written and performed by Jackie DeShannon in 1974. But to this day, we still remember Carnes’ version. The song stayed at the number 1 top spot for a whopping nine weeks and was Carnes’ only top 40 single EVER. It really was a hit…
1982 – ‘Physical’ – Olivia Newton-John
You know the one. Remember the music video? The one with a lot of sweat bands, lycra, and thrusting? Yup. The song was initially released in 1981, but became truly popular in 1982 and became a huge best-seller. The song was originally written for the British singer, Rod Stewart before it was given to Newton-John.
1983 – ‘Every Breath You Take’ – The Police
Every Breath You Take was originally written by Sting, for his band, The Police. The song went on to become the most popular song of 1983 – and we can totally get why. This is the kind of song that makes you cry so much, but you really enjoy listening to it at the same time, so you simply press repeat until there are no tears left in your body. Just us? Oh… alright then…
1984 – ‘When Doves Cry’ – Prince
Everyone normally remembers Prince for his iconic song, Purple Rain. But from the same album came ‘When Doves Cry.’ This song was Prince’s first US number one and stayed atop the charts for five weeks before it was knocked off. The song currently stands at number 52 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
1985 – ‘Careless Whisper’ – George Michael
Ahhh, Careless Whisper. Fun fact: this song was written by George Michael when he was just 17-years-old! The song was first released on July 24th, 1984 and was George Michael’s first solo single – even though he was still technically a part of the British group, Wham! The song proved such a huge hit that it became number one on the charts in 25 countries across the globe. Wowza.
1986 – ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ – Dionne & Friends
That’s what friends are foooooooooor. This song had everyone you could possibly want on one track – Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John. We wouldn’t complain if we had those guys as friends. The single was a charity single released for AIDS research and prevention and raised over $3 million for the charity.
1987 – ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ – The Bangles
Yep, you really can’t listen to this song without doing the dance along with it. It’s said the inspiration for the song came from watching people trying to keep their balance on a ferry! The song charted at number one in the US and number three in the UK and stayed on the Top 100 chart for over four weeks. We’d be dancing about that fact too.
1988 – ‘Faith’ – George Michael
‘Faith’ was George Michael’s first venture after officially leaving his band and making it on his own as a solo artist. Many people thought that his split from Wham! The previous year would affect his chances in the music world – but it seemed to propel him further. The song stayed at number one on the US Billboard chart for four weeks – so yeah, you could say he did pretty well.
1989 – ‘Look Away’ – Chicago
Fun fact: ‘Look Away’ was one of the only songs from the band which didn’t feature a horn section. This was the kind of power ballad you would airgrab to. And it seems people loved it, as it stayed at number one for two weeks. Considering it was the first single since Peter Cetera’s departure, they rocked it.
1990 – ‘Hold On’ – Wilson Phillips
If you weren’t alive when this song was released – you probably know this song from the hit movie, Bridesmaids. The song hit the top of the singles chart in 1990 and even won the Billboard Music Award for Single of the Year the same year. The song has since been used in various TV shows and movies – because it’s just that great. You’re lucky if this was the year you were born.
1991 – ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ – Bryan Adams
*Cue eternal crying* This (truly emotional) song was mostly popular in the UK, and it spent sixteen weeks at the number one top spot – and was even more popular considering its use as the soundtrack for the 1991 movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It’s known as Bryan Adams’ most popular songs… and the most emotional.
1992 – ‘End of the Road’ – Boyz II Men
Ahhhh, Boyz II Men, everyone’s boy band crush. When ‘End of the Road’ was first released in 1992, it achieved quick, and overwhelming success. The song stayed at number one for a whopping thirteen weeks, and was only overtaken by Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You.’ It’s still considered one of the most successful songs of all time…
1993 – ‘I Will Always Love You’ – Whitney Houston
‘I Will Always Love You’ was originally written and performed by the country legend, Dolly Parton, in 1974. Whitney Houston then re-recorded the single in 1992 for the movie, The Bodyguard, and it spent fourteen weeks at number one. To this day, her single still holds the world record for the highest-selling single by a woman in the history of music. It even re-entered the charts after Houston’s death and reached number three…
1994 – ‘The Sign’ – Ace of Base
Ahhhh, euro pop. What could be better? ‘The Sign’ was first released in 1994 by the Swedish pop band, Ace of Base. Normally, Europop groups struggle to make it across the pond – but ‘The Sign’ spent six weeks at number one on the US Billboard charts! The song has since become a popular song within TV series like American Dad! South Park and within the movie, Pitch Perfect.
1995 – ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ – Coolio Featuring L.V
Everyone knows at least one part of this song off by heart, right? ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ was the song to truly skyrocketed the rapper, Coolio, into the limelight. It was also the soundtrack to the movie released in the same year, Dangerous Minds. Since its release, it’s sold over 5.7 million singles across the world. Wowee.
1996 – ‘Macarena’ (Bayside Boys Remix) – Los del Rio
We have no idea what they’re singing about, but we absolutely love the dance. If you were born this year, we are so jealous! This catchy single was first released by the spanish duo, Los del Rio and became an international hit and is now a popular song at weddings, parties, and any other event that means you can shake what your mama gave ya.
1997 – ‘Candle In the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight’- Elton John
‘Candle in the Wind’ was actually first released in 1973 but was re-released in 1997 after the death of his friend, Diana, Princess of Wales. The song was re-recorded as a tribute to her life and legacy, and all of the proceedings from the single went towards Princess Diana’s charities. The song was also pressed with Elton’s other hit song, ‘Something About the way you Look Tonight.’
1998 – ‘Too Close’ – Next
The late ‘90s was all about the rappers. ‘Too Close’ was first released by Next in 1998, with uncredited vocals from the Koffee Brown band member, Vee. This song was their second single from the band’s debut album and made the band hugely popular. Not only did it chart at number one on the R&B charts, but it also charted at number one on the US Hot 100 chart. Not bad. Not bad at all.
1999 – ‘Believe’ – Cher
Do you believe in life after love? Cher was a huge musician in the ‘90s, and this single was from her 22nd studio album! The song was a bit of a change from her usual music and was written and performed to attract a younger, pop-infused audience. And it seemed to have the desired Cher-effect and was number one in many different countries.
2000 – ‘Breathe’ – Faith Hill
This song was originally written by Holly Lamar and Stephanie Bentley for Faith Hill at the end of 1999 and charted in 2000. It was Faith Hill’s seventh number one during her career and spent six weeks at the top spot in the Country charts. Despite charting at number two on Billboard’s Top 100, it was still given the title of the best single of the year.
2001 – ‘Hanging by a Moment’ – Lifehouse
‘Hanging by a Moment’ was Lighthouse’s first single from their debut album, and this song shot them to fame. It’s said that the lead singer of the band, Jason Wade, wrote the song in five minutes! But those five minutes were worth it, as it’s still the band’s most popular single to date.
2002 – ‘How You Remind Me’ – Nickelback
Nickelback has often had a bad reputation attached to them – but you have to give them credit because they released some bangers. Like this one. ‘How You Remind Me’ was the first single from their third album and is often considered their most popular song – and was even the most played song in 2002! See, they’re not all bad.
2003 – ‘In Da Club’ – 50 Cent
‘In Da Club’ has often been dubbed as 50 Cent’s best song throughout his career, and was his first number one in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. In the UK and the US, the single reached platinum status and has sold been sold over 1 million times in the US.
2004 – ‘Yeah!’ – Usher featuring Lil’ Jon and Ludacris
‘Yeah!’ was the biggest song of 2004, and stayed at number one for twelve weeks, before Usher knocked himself off the top spot with his next single, ‘Burn.’ Not many people can say that! The song also received praise in the UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia. Yeah, Usher!
2005 – ‘We Belong Together’ – Mariah Carey
Of course. How could we not have Mariah Carey on this list? ‘We Belong Together’ was a single from her tenth album, and has often been called her ‘comeback song’ after her popularity decline in the early ‘00s. Well, she released a good’un. The song is the longest running number one single in US history and stayed at number one for fourteen non-consecutive weeks.
2006 – ‘Bad Day’ – Daniel Powter
Who remembers this one? We all had this one on repeat for months when it was first released. Daniel Powter first recorded the song in 2002, but wasn’t signed to a record label and couldn’t find anyone to release the song for him. After it was finally picked up, the song reached the Top 5 in ten different countries across the globe.
2007 – ‘Irreplaceable’ – Beyonce
Beyonce is a force to be reckoned with and has been ever since her Destiny’s Child days. In 2007, she released her single from her second solo studio album and was originally produced as a country record before it was reproduced for Beyonce. It was Beyonce’s fourth solo number one single – before there were more to come.
2008 – ‘Low’ – Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
You might remember this song as the soundtrack to the movie, Step Up 2: The Streets. The song was co-written and produced by Flo Rida and T-Pain and was the longest running number one song of 2008 – spending ten weeks at the top spot. It has even been recorded as the most downloaded single of the whole of the ‘00s.
2009 – ‘Boom Boom Pow’ – Black Eyed Peas
‘Boom Boom Pow’ was the Black Eyed Peas first US number one single, and was in the Top 10 in over twenty different countries around the world. Since its initial release, the single has sold over 6 million copies in the US alone.
2010 – Tik Tok – Ke$ha
In 2010, Ke$ha topped the charts in eleven countries in the world with her debut single, ‘Tik Tok.’ It’s said that Ke$ha was influenced to write the song when she woke up around many beautiful women, and thought, ‘this is like P.Diddy.’ If you couldn’t tell from the lyrics. Her debut single was so popular she holds the record for the largest single-week sum of a female artist of all time.
2011 – ‘Rolling in the Deep’ – Adele
Adele is like the Beyonce of the UK, so it’s no surprise she’s on this list either. ‘Rolling in the Deep’ was a single from her second studio album, and was the single that propelled her into the huge phenomenon she is today. The single reached the top spot in eleven countries and was her first US number one.
2012 – ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ – Gotye featuring Kimbra
Where did Gotye go? The Belgian-Australian singer teamed up with New Zealand artist, Kimbra and was the second single from his third album – and notably, his best and most successful. The song reached number one in over twenty countries and had sold over 13 million singles across the world. He really is somebody that we used to know, now…
2013 – ‘Thrift Shop’ – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz
‘Thrift Shop’ was first released in 2013, and fans loved it from the get-go. The lyrics are supposed to parody the typical rapper’s lifestyle, showing Macklemore’s love for thrift shops and saving money. The single reached number one in various countries and sold over 7 million songs in the US alone.
2014 – ‘Happy’ – Pharrell Williams
I bet Pharrell Williams is happy about this. This song served as the soundtrack for Despicable Me 2 and proved hugely popular across the world. It reached the number one top spot in over twenty countries and was the best-selling song of the year in both the US and the UK.