Top of The Pops 1990s Special: Songs To Learn and Sing Readers’ Chart

by George_East on August 25, 2013

With my posting, a couple of weeks back, of the debut track of the debut album of the Wu-Tang Clan, Bring Da Ruckus (from the peerless Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)), the 1990s finally reached the 100 song marker in our Songs To Learn and Sing Feature (taking 726 songs to do so).   It has been in a poor 5th place amongst popular music’s decades more or less from the get go.   In comparison the 1980s took 495 songs, the 1970s took 517 songs, the 1960s took 605 songs and the 2000s took 631 songs.

As I have written before when we look back now at the 1990s, this is not particularly surprising.  The last half of the decade, in particular, was a pretty thin time for great music.  The earlier half did, though, have the end of the Madchester thing, the last years of the Golden Age of Hip Hop, Grunge and Brit Pop.    By the very end of the decade there was the sense of a couple more interesting things in the air, with the new psychedelia of bands like Mercury Rev , Grandaddy and the Flaming Lips breaking in to the mainstream, and the beginnings of the Americana/Alt-Country revival.

Reflecting the instinctively best parts of the decade, the most popular year has been the peak Brit Pop year of 1994 (16), followed by 1990 (13), 1992 (10), 1999 (10), 1991 (9), 1995 (9), 1993 (8), 1996 (8), 1998 (8) and bringing up the rear, the musical low point that was Labour’s landslide victory year 1997 (7).

Our most popular artists of the 1990s are: Blur (5), Black Grape (3) and Primal Scream (3).

This is the top 50 songs from the 1990s to have appeared in Songs To Learn and Sing,  by popularity with our readers (with the place in the top 20 chart posted on the occasion of the Top of the Pops Special to mark the  50th song from the 1990s in brackets).  There is a new number one, in the shape of Japan’s finest Ramones devotees, Shonen Knife.  But we still have the curious position of The Lovelies ahead of such all time classics as Suede’s The Drowners, Radiohead’s Creep, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and Pulp’s Common People.  You sure?

  1. #615: 1997, Shonen Knife, It’s A New Find;
  2. #292: 1990, The Fall, Telephone Thing (2);
  3. #124: 1992, PJ Harvey, Sheela-Na-Gig (1);
  4. #446: 1996, Beth Orton, Someone’s Daughter;
  5. #252: 1997, Spiritualized, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (3);
  6. #410: 1993, Leftfield, Open Up;
  7. #494: 1999, Esbjorn Svensson Trio, From Gagarin’s Point of View;
  8. #305: 1990, Datblygu, Syrffedu (4);
  9. #235: 1990, Happy Mondays, Step On (7);
  10. #12: 1990, Primal Scream, Loaded (8);
  11. #185: 1998, Mercury Rev, Goddess On A Hiway (5);
  12. #597: 1990, Happy Mondays, Loose Fit;
  13. #55: 1996, Manic Street Preachers, A Design For Life (11);
  14. #637: 1993, Wu-Tang Clan, Shame On A Nigga;
  15. #13: 1999, Blur, Tender;
  16. #221: 1994, Pulp, Do You Remember The First Time? (6);
  17. #504: 1996, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Joad;
  18. #337: 1990, Sonic Youth, Kool Thing;
  19. #2: 1991, Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit (20);
  20. #219: 1992, The Lovelies, Jo’s Party (10);
  21. #38: 1998, Catatonia, International Velvet (12);
  22. #19: 1993, Suede, The Drowners (19);
  23. #226: 1994, Blur, Parklife;
  24. #62: 1992, Radiohead, Creep (13);
  25. #479: 1996, Black Grape, England’s Irie;
  26. #611: 1994, Ali Farka Toure, Diararby;
  27. #519: 1996, Belle and Sebastian, The Starts of Track and Field;
  28. #36: 1994, Oasis, Rock N Roll Star;
  29. #165: 1995, Supergrass, Alright (9);
  30. #459: 1994, Beastie Boys, Sabotage;
  31. #42: 1995, Black Grape, Kelly’s Heroes;
  32. #452: 1992, Aphex Twin, Heliosphan;
  33. #502: 1999, Hefner, Don’t Flake Out On Me;
  34.  #269: 1994, Blur, Bank Holiday;
  35. #321: 1992, The Wedding Present, Let’s Make Some Plans;
  36. #668: 1992, Neil Young, Harvest Moon;
  37. #387: 1999, Bonnie Prince Billy, I See A Darkness;
  38. #505: 1991, Primal Scream, Movin’ On Up;
  39. #516: 1996, Blur, Charmless Man;
  40. #87: 1996, Pulp, Common People;
  41. #244: 1992, The Lemonheads, It’s A Shame About Ray;
  42. #512: 1992, Sugar, Hoover Dam;
  43. #368: 1994, Primal Scream, Rocks;
  44. #324: 1991, Saint Etienne, Only Love Can Break Your Heart;
  45. #64: 1997, The Verve, Bittersweet Symphony;
  46. #627: 1994, Nirvana, The Man Who Sold The World;
  47. #274: 1991, The Inspiral Carpets, Dragging Me Down;
  48. #629: 1990, Sinead O’Connor, Nothing Compares 2 U;
  49. #180: 1990, Buffalo Tom, Fortune Teller;
  50. #44: 1995, Elastica, Waking Up.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray_North August 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Of course George, in reality it all started to go wrong for the 1990’s with the demise of the Lovelies in 1993.

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George_East August 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Ah, maybe that is the answer to the long posed but never answered question: why were the late 1990s so dire?

Reply

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