Mariah Carey Ruled 1996: A Look At Top Hits Of The Year

The year 1996 began with horrible blizzards in the northeastern states. Mel Gibson’s Braveheart won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It was the year of Bob Dole, even though he ended up losing the presidential election to Bill Clinton.

In terms of music, it was the year the British band Oasis really took off. It was also the year that 2Pac was unfortunately murdered. In terms of the charts, it was another great year for Mariah Carey. Let’s take a look at the five biggest hits of 1996 as reported by Music Outfitters and compiled by Billboard.

5. Mariah Carey, “Always Be My Baby”

Chances are that if you go to a department or grocery store today, you’ll hear this song. It has remained one of Mariah Carey’s most played songs and is just as popular now as it was twenty years ago. “Always Be My Baby” hit No. 1 in May of 1996 and stayed there for two weeks — that’s a lot less than the 15 weeks Mariah Carey spent at No. 1 with her previous single, “One Sweet Day.”

4. Tony Rich Project, “Nobody Knows”

“Nobody Knows” is the only song in this list that didn’t hit No. 1 (it peaked at No. 2) but was one of the most played songs during the Spring of 1996. The song is one of many in 1996 that dealt with the issues of heartache and regret but did so with more descriptive and heartfelt lyrics. Unfortunately, “Nobody Knows” would be the last big hit by Rich, making him a famous one-hit wonder.

3. Celine Dion, “Because You Loved Me”

Celine Dion’s peak year in music might have been 1996, and her peak hit song was this No. 1 hit from the movie Up Close And Personal and Dion’s Grammy-winning album Falling Into You. Beginning in March of 1996, “Because You Loved Me” spent six weeks as the top hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

According to Songfacts, Diane Warren, who wrote this and would wind up writing several more movie hits, wrote the song about her father. Songfacts also notes that “Because You Loved Me” was also covered by several other artists including Johnny Mathis and Michael Ball in 1998. Clay Aiken covered the song in 2006.

2. Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day”

This song, which was No. 1 for a record-breaking 16 weeks, was guaranteed a No. 1 spot due to being performed by the two hottest musical acts at the time. However, the song, about yearning to be with someone who is dead, is more specifically aimed at record producer David Cole, who died of AIDS in early 1995.

Ironically, the song has become a joke to many who think the charts don’t matter anymore. Despite spending 16 weeks at No. 1,”One Sweet Day” stopped receiving recurrent airplay just a couple years after its release. Songs like “Always Be My Baby” and “Fantasy” spent far less time at No. 1, but are still played a lot until this day.

1. Los Del Rio, “Macarena”

If you lived in Chicago in the mid-1990s, you probably heard this song a lot during the Summer of 1995 and were shocked that it didn’t take off nationwide until 1996. When “Macarena” took off, it took off to the stratosphere. It spent 14 weeks at No. 1 and created a dance that would be performed at parties and weddings for years to come.

“Macarena” became so popular that it also led to a backlash in the similar way that “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees did in the late 1970s. Readers of Rolling Stone named it the second worst song of the 1990s, and the song has earned “worst of” accolades in many other polls. However, “Macarena” is still a guilty pleasure til this day.

[Photo by Bernd Kammerer/AP Images]

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