Most Iconic 90s Songs

When you think of 90s music, which songs speak most to that era in music? Feel free to add your own choices, there's definitely a lot of others I could've mentioned (I refuse to include any Celine Dion myself).

The Top Ten

1 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Yes. I used to be mainstream, but then I had a revelation and realized these bands are cool. So now I'm really into Queen and My Chemical Romance and I'm still getting into Nirvana but I am loving it! My friend hates the song endless nameless but I like it to be honest.

Hello, hello, hello, how low! - Misfire

Officially ended the '80's "rock". Thank goodness.

To us 80s rock/metal fans, that's a bit of a sore spot you weren't supposed to bring up - truckturner

Yes. Nirvana is a GOAT band.

V 3 Comments
2 Enter Sandman - Metallica

YES! METALLICA! I knew this song was going to be near the top. I know that people don't like this song because it is too overrated. But just because something is overrated doesn't mean that it is not good. This song is my jam and definitely on my personal top ten favourite song of all time. And Lars' drumming here is so badass. And I know that TRUE METALLICA fans would agree with me. Stop hating on Lars!

I hate Lars but love Metallica and this song. I do prefer others on the album, but this is obviously their most iconic 90s song. - truckturner

Thrash metal going mainstream. Not my favourite song on the album, but undeniably iconic and a big part of the 90s for me personally. - truckturner

3 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston

Sure, Whitney sang this beautifully, but this is DOLLY PARTON's song! I believe Parton sang it better, but even if you disagree, Dolly wrote this song BY HERSELF, and would not be in existence without her. A cover should not be the song that defines the 90s. - Grandiloquence

I get where you're coming from, but I'd counter that being a cover should not preclude a song from defining an era. With a Little Help From My Friends tops my 60s list, and is not only a cover, but a superior version (and the greatest song of all-time in my humble opinion). This song was huge in the 90s, the soundtrack was wildly successful. And...I prefer it to Dolly's version personally (And I do like Dolly, don't get me wrong). - truckturner

A massive smash hit, and in my view one of the best vocal performances of all-time. And yet it comes from a fairly forgettable film... - truckturner

At least it's way better than every single Taylor Swift song I can't stand. I didn't know Whitney Houston made a cover of that Dolly Parton song.

Arguably the most iconic song of all time and by one of the most iconic singers ever.

V 2 Comments
4 Losing My Religion - R.E.M.

R.E.M. had to be on the list somewhere. - truckturner

5 Self Esteem - The Offspring

The lyrics to me definitely evoke a lot of the feelings my generation had during the 90s (I was a teen at the time). - truckturner

6 All Star - Smash Mouth

Somebody once told me

How is this not number 1? - myusernameisthis

I actually didn't connect the song with the 90s, to be honest. It's from 1999 and best known for being in an animated movie from the early 2000s. - truckturner

Shrek made this a meme

7 Paranoid Android - Radiohead

A six minute song with four sections and no chorus reaching no. 3 on the British Singles Chart? That's quite an accomplishment. Creep may be more popular, but this is more deserving of "sacred cow" status. - Gg2000

The third best album ever.

8 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

My favorite AC/DC song - Metal_Treasure

Terrific album, this kept the band relevant during the 90s. - truckturner

9 Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio

So iconic, it was featured in the Sonic movie trailer. Sure it was bad but still.

I only know it from the sonic trailer. - myusernameisthis

I prefer "Amish Paradise", thank you very much. - OnyxDash

Rap's not really my bag, but it'd be wrong to leave this off the list. Hell, even I like it. - truckturner

V 1 Comment
10 You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette

Of all the female rock/indie singers of the 90s, Alanis probably cut through the most with this anthem. What did you do, Uncle Joey? - truckturner

The Contenders

11 I Want It that Way - Backstreet Boys
12 Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
13 Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine

So iconic

14 Creep - Radiohead
15 Nothing Else Matters - Metallica

The most popular song from the album, hence the most iconic. People play this song at weddings. That's how iconic it is. - Metal_Treasure

I don't see how weddings are even relevant. It's not which song gets played in the weirdest of circumstances. It's the song that best defines the band or in this case the decade. When people think of 90s Metallica, they're not going to think of a ballad. Even if it was a big hit and well-known. That doesn't make it the iconic song most associated with the band in the 90s. - truckturner

Not even the most iconic from the album. - ParasN2000

16 Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis
17 Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane

Why didn't that country band leave this song alone?

Only because of Cars!

18 Alive - Pearl Jam

Looking back, I think we can safely say Pearl Jam aren't/weren't a grunge band, but they were a huge part of making 90s music what it was/is. - truckturner

19 Wind of Change - Scorpions

It's so iconic!

yes, yes! - Metal_Treasure

20 Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

Might be kinda overrated, but a great song. - Userguy44

Awesome song! My favourite from them. Can't get it out of my head. Rest in peace Chris Cornell. 'no one sings like you anymore.'

21 Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
22 I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly

{Isn't this a meme? }

23 Basket Case - Green Day

Glad someone added this, I listened to this album a LOT when it came out. - truckturner

24 All the Small Things - Blink-182
25 Mr. Jones - Counting Crows

I personally dislike the song, but whenever I hear it I'm transported back to 1993, and I can't just include grunge and metal songs. - truckturner

26 Song 2 - Blur
27 The Show Must Go On - Queen


28 ...Baby One More Time - Britney Spears

This is how u do pop music! This song and the video alone invented pop girls. U can see christina, jessica simpson, & mandy moore used that kind of bubblegum music.

29 Them Bones - Alice in Chains
30 Wonderwall - Oasis
31 Man in the Box - Alice in Chains

Not the most iconic grunge band, but this is without a doubt my favourite AIC song. Heck even better than “Would”. - Userguy44

32 Wannabe - Spice Girls
33 Closing Time - Semisonic
34 Don't Speak - No Doubt
35 My Name Is - Eminem


36 Livin' la Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
37 Never Forget - Take That
38 My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion

This song is honestly the real most Iconic song of the 90s. It's probably not even close. - RobertWisdom

39 Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...) - Lou Bega
40 Black or White - Michael Jackson

This should be ranked higher.. I mean come on it's Michael!

Right I love Michael

41 Live Forever - Oasis
42 Vogue - Madonna

Wow the fact that this is so low is disappointing.

43 Would? - Alice in Chains
44 Livin' on the Edge - Aerosmith
45 No Limit - 2 Unlimited
46 Zombie - The Cranberries

Yeetus fetus

47 All that She Wants - Ace of Base
48 Da Funk - Daft Punk

Never gets old. - Jessicarabbit

49 Nutshell - Alice in Chains
50 I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) - Meat Loaf
PSearch List

Related Lists

Top Ten Most Iconic Video Game Songs Most Iconic 80s Songs Most Iconic Songs by Male Artists/Bands Most Iconic 60s Songs Top Ten Most Iconic English Shakira Songs

List Stats

300 votes
109 listings
12 days old

Top Remixes (11)

1. Self Esteem - The Offspring
2. Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
3. I Want It that Way - Backstreet Boys
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
2. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
3. Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
1. All Star - Smash Mouth
2. Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane
3. Never Forget - Take That

View All 11

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.