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 Most Iconic 90s Songs

1 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Come on. This isn't my favorite song in the list by a country mile, but it is easily the most iconic song of the 90s. When I think of 90s music, Smells Like Teen Spirit is always the first song to come to mind. I think Cobain didn't want to be thought of as the voice of a generation, but he did write the anthem of the decade...and Weird Al couldn't have made it clearer

"well we don't sound
like Madonna!
here we are now
we're Nirvana!"

I have listened to this song like multiple times! I love this so much. Too bad Kurt died in 1994.

A song that will live on forever. Great for parties or for doing nothing at all. We all miss you Kurt.

Kurt Cobain sounded a lot more better when he sings live with a deep booming voice.

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.

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).

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.

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...

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

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.


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


4 I Want It that Way - Backstreet Boys

Undoubtedly the best boy band song in the whole universe and is my favourite hit of 90's

I love so much Backstreet Boys
This is the best Boy Band of all time
This song is very bbeautiful

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

It has got that real iconic 90's sound in it

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.

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

6 Paranoid Android - Radiohead

My favourite song of all time, and yes, my favourite genre is heavy metal.

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.

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

The third best album ever.

7 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

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

8 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).

9 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.

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

Mmm yes good music

10 Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve

They got their profits taken by the Rolling Stone's parent company, just because of a sample. Besides this, the instrumental to the song is feels quite emotional, and the lyrics are pretty deep.

The Contenders

11 Black or White - Michael Jackson

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

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

Right I love Michael

12 Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio

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

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

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

I only know it from the sonic trailer.

13 Creep - Radiohead
14 Basket Case - Green Day

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

The song that ousted grunge

Green Day and Nirvana defined the 90's


15 Wonderwall - Oasis

literally EVERYONE knows that strumming.

I said mabeyyy

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall

16 Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
17 All Star - Smash Mouth

The only reason anybody in the 2000's know the lyrics to this song is because of Shrek

Somebody once told me

Become one with the shrek

How is this not number 1?

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.

18 Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine

So iconic

Anger on a Cd

19 Wind of Change - Scorpions

It's so iconic!

Best song by the Scorpions.

yes, yes!

20 Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis

The best song of all time.

21 November Rain - Guns N' Roses

Is the one of the mot beautiful rock ballads all time.I love this song and I love Slash

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

Easily one of the best of the 90s

How is this song so far down?

22 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.

23 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.

Ahh yesss!

24 I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly

U sound like, I believe I can fly! I believe I can touch this guy! STUPID!

{Isn't this a meme? }



25 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?

26 Nothing Else Matters - Metallica

Not even the most iconic from the album.

27 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”.

28 The Show Must Go On - Queen

This song is much more aired than all songs above it. It is a synonym of show business.

It hardly gets any airplay at all outside of things like Idol and isn't as indicative of the 90s as an era in music. It's one of my favourite songs of all-time, but it's pretty clear why Teen Spirit and most of the songs above are where they are on this list.

How can it be 21? It is 100 times better than Smells

They're both great songs, but it's about being iconic to the 1990s. On that level, I think both songs are probably where they deserve to be.

Anything Queen did was beautiful!

Two words:Legend rock

29 All the Small Things - Blink-182

The music video alone puts it here

30 Nuthin' but a G thang - Dr. Dre

Defines the 90's

love it

31 I'll Make Love to You - Boyz II Men
32 Wannabe - Spice Girls
33 Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane

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

Only because of Cars!

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.

35 Juicy - The Notorious B.I.G.
36 ...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.

Please put on my phone and listen for it

Deserves to be in top 5


37 Closing Time - Semisonic
38 Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...) - Lou Bega

Ladies and gentlemen... this is Mambo No. 5

A little bit of MONIKA in my life. I LITTLE BIT OF MONIKA BY MY SIDE

Just monika

39 Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys
40 My Name Is - Eminem

NO WAY get this up on the list he deserves at least 5th I mean come on guys seriously are you deaf this is amazing its amazing it was one of he’s first songs I mean SLIM FRICKEN SHADY come on

I know what your name is... SLIM SHADY

Super funny but super rude

Funniest song but where is Stan placed.

41 Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice

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.

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.

One of the only rap songs I can tolerate.

42 Ironic - Alanis Morissette
43 Livin' la Vida Loca - Ricky Martin

This song was sort of the start of Latin Pop becoming mainstream in the English speaking world with people like Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony so I would probably put it at a lot higher than number 46.

Good point they are all notable songs but I would still put this one above several songs that are not the most notable by the respective artist and certainly not of their sub genre like Ironic or Everybody.

44 Live Forever - Oasis

This song will live forever

45 Come as You Are - Nirvana
46 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.

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.

Blackjack anyone, we'll count cards

47 Buddy Holly - Weezer

I think Say It Ain't So should be higher in terms of popularity/iconic-ness (? ) but this has always been my favorite of Weezer's radio hits.

48 Livin' on the Edge - Aerosmith

Aerosmith at its best! This song really motive you.

49 I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) - Meat Loaf
50 Candle In the Wind - Elton John

Thanks, I had this single on a cassette

Yes, iconic

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