The year 1994 was the year of the Republican Revolution. It was the year that Northridge, California, was hit with a devastating earthquake. David Letterman was the hottest name on late-night television, and one could never forget Nancy Kerrigan being attacked at the 1994 Winter Olympics — something that was allegedly helped by her rival, Tonya Harding.
But it was a great year for music too and produced some of the Biggest Billboard hits ever. It was the year Celine Dion really started to take off, and also the year that Mariah Carey proved she wasn’t going away anytime soon. As Ace of Base proved, people still wanted to hear European-inspired dance music. Let’s take a look at the top five hits of 1994 according to the Billboard charts.
5. Mariah Carey, “Hero”
“Hero” was originally released in the fall of 1993 as the second release from her megahit album Music Box. However, its hit status as a No. 1 single extended into 1994. Perhaps more than any other song from Mariah Carey, “Hero” is still played on many adult contemporary stations. The lyrics, about overcoming adversity and looking within yourself to begin the healing process, are considered incredibly powerful. As for Mariah’s voice, most believe that this is when it peaked.
4. Celine Dion, “The Power of Love”
Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love” was originally a U.K. hit for Jennifer Rush in 1985 and an international non-hit for Laura Branigan in 1987. Taken from Celine Dion’s album The Colour of My Love, the song spent four weeks at No. 1 in February of 1994.
Earlier this month, Celine reached out to an African teen, who did what she felt was a stunning rendition of her hit. In a Facebook post, she told him, “Samuel, your talent is as big as your voice. I’m touched my songs have traveled all the way to you and hope we have the chance to meet one day.”
3. Boyz II Men, “I’ll Make Love To You”
During the fall of 1994, Boyz II Men released what would become one of the biggest love songs of all time. The song was the first release from their album II and spent 14 weeks at No. 1, tying Whitney Houston for her record with “I Will Always Love You.” Boyz II Men would later outdo the record and spend 15 weeks at the top with Mariah Carey and their duet “One Sweet Day.”
“I’ll Make Love To You” was just one of the many huge hits produced by Babyface in the 1990s. His other well-known songwriting and producing credits include “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” by Whitney Houston, “Take A Bow” by Madonna, “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men, “Red Light Special” by TLC, and “Change The World” by Eric Clapton.
2. All-4-One, “I Swear”
All-4-One, a group inspired by Boyz II Men, never became as popular, but ruled the airwaves during the spring of 1994 with “I Swear,” which stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks. The song was produced by David Foster, who had mega-success with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and would go on to produce more hits such as “You’ll See” by Madonna and “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion.
1. Ace of Base, “The Sign”
In 1994, there were many saying that dance music was dying, while alternative and R&B music was climbing. However, Ace of Base proved that notion wrong with the title track from their album The Sign, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March of 1994 and stayed there for six weeks.
The song, which is about the process of a breakup, has been sampled in other songs, including “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga in 2010. However, Newser thought that it was “Don’t Turn Around” that was ripped off by Gaga. Either way, Ace of Base influenced dance music for the next 20 years.
[Photo by Magnus Torle/AP Images]