Top 10 Songs of 1993

The Best Pop Hits

In 1993 the pop music world seemed to be split down the middle. On one side were the grunge and alt-rock worlds. On the other was hip hop. Dance pop had retreated back to the underground and traditional r&b appeared to be in decline. Nonetheless, another crop of great music was created. Step back in time to revisit these great songs including some of the greatest one hit wonders of all time.

01
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Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

The Proclaimers I'm Gonna Be
The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Courtesy Chrysalis

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" became a hit at home in the UK and in Australia when first released in 1998 as a single from the album Sunshine On Leith. The song retained its popularity through use in movies and TV shows. When it appeared in the 1993 movie Benny and Joon, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" became a top 3 smash in the US. In 2007 the song was re-recorded by the Proclaimers with comedians Peter Kay and Matt Lucas. It hit #1 on the UK pop charts as the Comic Relief charity single of the year.

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02
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4 Non Blondes - "What's Up?"

4 Non Blondes What's Up
4 Non Blondes - "What's Up". Courtesy Interscope

Interestingly, "What's Up?" does not include that phrase in the lyrics. The phrase, "What's Goin' On?" is very prominent. The title, "What's Goin' On?" was not used in order to avoid confusion with the Marvin Gaye classic of the same name. 4 Non Blondes lead vocalist and songwriter Linda Perry launched what has been a highly successful career with this song. She wrote Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Pink's "Get the Party Started" among other hits. Linda Perry was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

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03
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Soul Asylum - "Runaway Train"

Soul Asylum Runaway Train
Soul Asylum - "Runaway Train". Courtesy Columbia

The music video for "Runaway Train" is a powerful one that had a significant impact on many lives. It essentially depicts in many ways the epidemic of missing children. The clip helped reunite a number of families, but it also seems to have influenced some situations where people returned to negative situations. The song brought the group Soul Asylum massive acclaim and "Runaway Train" went to #5 on the pop singles chart. It also reached the top 10 at mainstream pop and rock radio. "Runaway Train" earned a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song and helped push the album Grave Dancers Union to multi-platinum sales.

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04
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Dr. Dre - "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang"

Dr. Dre Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang
Dr. Dre - "Nuthin' But a "G" Thang". Courtesy Death Row

"Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" is a towering hip hop classic. It is considered one of the key landmarks in the development of gangsta rap, and it was the first single from Dr. Dre's The Chronic album which is considered to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. "Nuthin But a 'G' Thang" broke into the pop charts and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album The Chronic hit #3 and has sold more than five million copies.

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05
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Blind Melon - "No Rain"

Blind Melon No Rain
Blind Melon - "No Rain". Courtesy Capitol

It is the dancing "bee girl" in the music video for "No Rain" that many remember most about the song. However, the upbeat sound of "No Rain" is fondly remembered as well. The song topped the mainstream and modern rock charts in the US then landed in the pop top 20. It helped Blind Melon's self-titled debut album shoot into the top 3 in advance of the tragic death of lead vocalist Shannon Hoon.

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06
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Stereo MC's - "Connected"

Stereo MC's Connected
Stereo MC's - "Connected". Courtesy Island

"Connected" turned into a one-hit wonder in the US for Stereo MC's, but it is a powerfully funky classic. The song has been used extensively in film and TV productions since its initial release. It followed a string of minor hits for the group at home in the UK. "Connected" samples "Let Me (Let Me Be Your Lover)" by Jimmy "Bo" Horne. The song reached the top 5 on the US modern rock chart and then broke into the top 20 on the pop chart.

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07
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Us3 - "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"

Us3 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)
Us3 - "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)". Courtesy Blue Note

UK group Us3 put together a unique fusion of hip hop and jazz. This single is built around a sample of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island." "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" was certified gold for sales in the US, landed in the top 10 on the pop chart, and Us3 never again reached the top 40. The song makes use of multiple samples from classic jazz records. Us3's debut album Hand On the Torch climbed to #31 on the album chart with help from the hit single.

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08
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Tag Team - "Whoomp! (There It Is)"

Tag Team Whoomp! (There It Is)
Tag Team - "Whoomp! (There It Is)". Courtesy Life Records

It is part novelty song and part a rap anthem. "Whoomp! (There It Is)" was also one of the key songs laying the groundwork for what would come to be known as jock anthems, pop and rap hits that became favorites to play during breaks at sports events. The prominent sample in the song comes from Kano's disco classic "I'm Ready." The duo Tag Team was made up of DC the Brain Supreme and Steve Roll'n who went to high school together in Denver, Colorado. They never again reached the Billboard Hot 100. 

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09
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R.E.M. - "Man On the Moon"

R.E.M. Man On the Moon
R.E.M. - "Man On the Moon". Courtesy Warner Bros.

R.E.M.'s song "Man On the Moon" frequently references the comedian Andy Kaufman and events in his life. It later gave its title to the movie Man On the Moon about Andy Kaufman's life. "Man On the Moon" was released as the second single from R.E.M.'s album Automatic For the People. It broke into the top 10 on both the alternative and rock radio charts. "Man On the Moon" peaked at #30 on the pop chart.

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10
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Billy Joel - The River Of Dreams

Billy Joel River Of Dreams
Billy Joel - "River Of Dreams". Courtesy Columbia

Peaking at #3 on the pop chart, thus far "The River Of Dreams" has been the last top 10 pop hit of Billy Joel's career. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year. "River Of Dreams" went to #1 on the adult contemporary chart. The single cover is a segment of the painting by Billy Joel's wife Christie Brinkley that makes up the album cover for the album of the same name. 

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