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.

Please don't put My Chemical Romance in the same sentence as Queen and Nirvana - venomouskillingmachine

Not really. This was Alternative, not mainstream. - I80

It was a massive hit and the first song people think of when they hear the term grunge. It's as mainstream as grunge ever got. - truckturner


Okay I know that this is not a misheard lyrics list but I can't help it: Where the lies are! Hesitaters! AND POTATO'S! And also what was misheard the word "Pillow" and "Halo" repeated times.

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2 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.

Please Putin my phone call

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3 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


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4 I Want It that Way - Backstreet Boys

At least THIS is the actual Backstreet Boys and not a ripoff like One Direction!

Put on my phone and listen to it

Hands down the best Pop song of the 90's.

This song more better than else. so many song I heard in 90's but this song never bored to heard, I think the best pop songs. and simple lyric. this song not only popular in asia but all around the world.

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5 Losing My Religion - R.E.M.

And somewhere high up on the list, and repeatedly. No band personifies the 90s more than REM. Not to mention that this is a GREAT song.

They're definitely an iconic band, slightly overrated for me. I like some of their songs though. - truckturner

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

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6 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

Karma police was better - Weirdest-thing

Come on man. Super creative song, some wacky time signatures, too. - Fuziion

Best 90s songs and top 10 songs ever

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7 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

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8 Black or White - Michael Jackson

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

Right I love Michael

It should be waay higher. I mean, come on it's Michael Jackson, the King of Pop!

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9 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

Awesome performance by AC/DC - This song never loses its punch or grows old in time.

The only real way to play this on guitar is to play it only using hammer ons with one hand and playing smoke on the water while tapping on the other...

My favorite AC/DC song - Metal_Treasure

AC DC the best

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10 Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

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.'

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

I'd say they're both well-respected and equally deserving of their reputation. - truckturner

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The Newcomers

? Superman's Dead - Our Lady Peace UListen to Sample
? Rooster - Alice in Chains

I see Alice in Chains, I vote for Alice in Chains

Of course rooster!

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The Contenders

11 All Star - Smash Mouth

This song has layers

Become one with the shrek

All memelords please rise for our national anthem... - Astral

Somebody once told me

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12 Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve UListen to Sample
13 Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio

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

Most iconic song from the 90s.(my opinion)

I only know it from the sonic trailer. - myusernameisthis

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

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14 Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor UListen to Sample
15 Basket Case - Green Day

The song that ousted grunge

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

YES! - JoMama163

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16 Wind of Change - Scorpions

It's so iconic!

yes, yes! - Metal_Treasure

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17 Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine

So iconic

Anger on a Cd

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18 Wonderwall - Oasis

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall

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19 Creep - Radiohead UListen to Sample
20 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

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21 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

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22 Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis UListen to Sample
23 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

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24 Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane

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

Only because of Cars!

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25 I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly

{Isn't this a meme? }



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26 November Rain - Guns N' Roses

Easily one of the best of the 90s

I think this song should be is well knowed as Nirvana's Spirit - RW700

How is this song so far down? - GeneraIkenobi

Really, I find Guns N‘ Roses quite underhated, to be honest. Slash’s voice is so whiny and annoying, and when he lengthens the words when he’s singing, it makes me want to slam my head against a tree. Freddie Mercury sounds WAYYY better that this idiot! - IceFoxPlayz

Idiot? Well, for starters the singer from Guns 'n' Roses is Axl Rose. Slash is the guitarist... - truckturner

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27 Man in the Box - Alice in Chains

I think #31 is to low for this song. - HEAVYMETALTHUNDER12345

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

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28 Them Bones - Alice in Chains


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29 The Show Must Go On - Queen


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30 I'll Make Love to You - Boyz II Men UListen to Sample
31 ...Baby One More Time - Britney Spears

Please put on my phone and listen for it


Deserves to be in top 5

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.

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32 Nuthin' but a G thang - Dr. Dre

love it - 2pacstillaridah

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33 Wannabe - Spice Girls UListen to Sample
34 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

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35 Nothing Else Matters - Metallica

Not even the most iconic from the album. - ParasN2000

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36 Livin' la Vida Loca - Ricky Martin UListen to Sample
37 Juicy - The Notorious B.I.G. UListen to Sample
38 All the Small Things - Blink-182 UListen to Sample
39 Closing Time - Semisonic UListen to Sample
40 Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...) - Lou Bega UListen to Sample
41 Never Forget - Take That UListen to Sample
42 Live Forever - Oasis

This song will live forever

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43 Ironic - Alanis Morissette UListen to Sample
44 Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys UListen to Sample
45 Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice

One of the only rap songs I can tolerate. - GehennaTheSecond

Silly song but I liked the 90s you didn't have social media to slur on anything for existing.

He almost DIED for this song,if you loved God more you would vote him firST!

NO. I refuse to call this iconic, no matter how popular it is. - Misfire

Stealing and not crediting a Queen sample aside, this is really catchy. Iconic? Maybe not, though anyone my age certainly remembers it, fondly in some cases. - truckturner

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46 My Name Is - Eminem

I know what your name is... SLIM SHADY


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47 Common People - Pulp

What is this song? I've never heard this song. I don't think this song was a Billboard hit, so why would it be considered iconic when nobody has never heard of it?

This song would be way higher up if it was a hit in the US and worldwide. Britpop is sadly mostly known for Oasis, Blur and the Verve since they managed to score a worldwide hit song, but the real best band associated with the Britpop movement has to be Pulp. Jarvis Cocker is one of the most underrated songwriters of our time, and it really shows through "Common People" alone. Basically, they are the second coming of the Smiths, just as Oasis being the second coming of the Beatles and Blur being the second coming of the Kinks.

Blackjack anyone, we'll count cards

This was a really important song, in Britain especially, and is really one of the best moments of the Britpop movement and the 90s in general. - emoviie

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48 Livin' on the Edge - Aerosmith

Aerosmith at its best! This song really motive you.

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49 I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) - Meat Loaf UListen to Sample
50 No Limit - 2 Unlimited

So amazing!

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List Stats

900 votes
150 listings
127 days old

Top Remixes (15)

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. Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
1. All Star - Smash Mouth
2. Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane
3. Never Forget - Take That

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