“4 Seasons of Loneliness” is a R&B and pop ballad recorded by Philadelphia-based vocal quartet Boyz II Men. Written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the song was issued as the first single from the Evolution album in 1997.
Already a success at U.S. radio, the release of the single prompted a Billboard Hot 100 debut at number two. The following week the song moved up to number one, becoming Boyz II Men’s fourth (and fifth overall) and last chart-topper to date. The song spent one week at the top before being pushed aside by Elton John’s massive Princess Diana tribute single “Candle in the Wind 1997”. It was also the group’s last top ten hit in the UK, debuting at number ten on the singles chart, and dropping off the chart a short time after.
“4 Seasons of Loneliness”, to date, is the last number-one pop hit under the Motown records banner (Boyz II Men was the only Motown act to have number-one pop hits in the 1990s).
“Honey” is a hit song by American singer Mariah Carey from her sixth studio album, Butterfly. It was released as the lead single from the album on August 26, 1997. The song was written and produced by Carey, Puff Daddy, Q-Tip and Stevie J. It samples “Hey DJ” by the World’s Famous Supreme Team, and “The Body Rock” by the Treacherous Three. “Honey” was a re-defining song in Carey’s career, pushing her further into the hip-hop music world.
The song was acclaimed by music critics, who called Carey’s musical transition “genuine.” “Honey” was successful in the United States, becoming Carey’s third single to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100, a feat that has yet to be duplicated. The song stayed at number one for three weeks. “Honey” also reached number one in Canada, and hit the top ten in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. “Honey” was nominated in two categories at the 1998 Grammy Awards, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. Carey included the song in the set-list of various live shows and future tours, where she would sing both the original and remix versions.
“Honey” is well known for its accompanying music video, which presented a more sexual and less conservative image of Carey than had been previously seen. The video features Carey being held hostage in a mansion, which she escapes in a James Bond-themed plot. Subsequent scenes see Carey escaping her assailants on a watercraft, dancing aboard a ship with sailors, and frolicking on a beautiful island with her lover. The video garnered much coverage, as many comparisons were made between the video and the rumors of Carey’s failing marriage. While Carey denied the comparisons were anything more than coincidence, many close friends including Walter Afanasieff, Carey’s writing partner, felt they were more than obvious.
“Mo Money Mo Problems” is a single by The Notorious B.I.G., the second single from his album Life After Death. Released posthumously, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 1997, replacing “I’ll Be Missing You” from the chart, Puff Daddy’s tribute to the rapper’s death himself. The song is Notorious B.I.G.’s second posthumous number one single, following “Hypnotize”, making him the only artist in Hot 100 history to have two #1 singles posthumously. It was the sixth song to hit #1 posthumously for a credited artist. The song was nominated for the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
The song features guest vocals from Mase and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. The instrumental contains a sample of the low pitched version of the Diana Ross song “I’m Coming Out”, including backing vocals which repeat the title of that song. The refrain of the song was sung by Kelly Price. Based on airplay and chart success the song is considered one of the most popular singles in hip hop history.
“I’ll Be Missing You” is a song recorded by American rapper Puff Daddy and American singer Faith Evans, featuring R&B group 112, in memory of fellow Bad Boy Records artist Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, who was murdered on March 9, 1997.
Released as the second single from Puff Daddy and the Family’s No Way Out album, “I’ll Be Missing You” samples The Police’s 1983 hit song “Every Breath You Take”, with an interpolated chorus sung by Evans. The track also features a spoken intro over a choral version of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”. In 1998, the song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. With worldwide sales likely over 8 million, including shipments of 3 million copies in the United States and over 1 million in both Germany and the United Kingdom, the song has become one of the best-selling singles of all time. As of February 2016, it is rated the 99th biggest song of all time in the US, according to Billboard.
“MMMBop” is a song written and performed by the American pop rock band Hanson from their 1997 album Middle of Nowhere. The song was nominated for two Grammys at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards in February 1998, and is the band’s most successful single to date. “MMMBop” was phenomenally successful, especially for a debut single, reaching number one in 27 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Mexico. In the United Kingdom, the song sold 710,000 copies and stayed at number one for 3 weeks. It was voted the best single of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll, while also topping critics’ polls from such media as Rolling Stone, Spin, and VH1, and was ranked as #20 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the 90s”, as well as #98 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years”. The album version of the song was featured on the 1998 compilation album Now That’s What I Call Music!.
“Hypnotize” is a single by American rapper The Notorious B.I.G. It was released as the first single from his album Life After Death on March 1, 1997 and the last song released in his lifetime, as he was killed in a drive-by shooting a week later. It was the fifth song by a credited artist to hit number 1 posthumously. It was ranked number 30 on Rolling Stone’s 50 greatest rap songs of all time in Hip Hop history.
“Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” is the debut hit single by rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. It appears on Combs’ debut album No Way Out and it was released as the first single in 1997.
The song entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at number thirty-two in early 1997 and eventually spent six weeks at number one. It was the beginning of Combs’ and Bad Boy Records’ chart domination during the year — the Combs-produced “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. would follow this song at number one, and the B.I.G. tribute song “I’ll Be Missing You” spent eleven weeks at number one during the summer, only to be followed by another B.I.G. song, “Mo Money Mo Problems” and then the Combs-produced “Honey” by Mariah Carey.
Combs was already a successful songwriter, producer and record label owner (Bad Boy Records) before he released his debut album as a performer. His first U.S. chart single, “No Time”, was a top-twenty hit for Lil’ Kim on which Puff Daddy was credited as a featured vocalist. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” was the debut chart appearance for Harlem-based rapper Mase.
“Wannabe” is the debut hit single by the British girl group the Spice Girls. Written by the group members with Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard during the group’s first professional songwriting session, it was produced by Rowe and Stannard for the group’s debut album Spice, released in November 1996. The song was written and recorded very quickly; the result was considered lacklustre by their label, and was sent to be mixed by Dave Way. The group was not pleased with the result, and the recording was mixed again, this time by Mark “Spike” Stent.
“Wannabe” is an uptempo dance pop/hip hop/pop rap song. “Wannabe” features Mel B and Geri Halliwell rapping. The lyrics, which address the value of female friendship over the heterosexual bond, became an iconic symbol of female empowerment and the most emblematic song of the group’s Girl Power philosophy. Despite receiving mixed reviews from music critics, the song won for Best British-Written Single at the 1997 Ivor Novello Awards and for Best Single at the 1997 BRIT Awards.
“Wannabe” was heavily promoted by the group. Its music video, directed by Johan Camitz, became a big success on the British cable network The Box, which sparked press interest in the group. Subsequently the song had intensive radio airplay across the United Kingdom, while the group performed it on television programmes and started doing interviews and photo shoots for teen magazines.
Responding to the wave of public interest in the group, Virgin released the song as the group’s debut single in July 1996, well ahead of the planned release date of the Spice album. “Wannabe” topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks and has received a double Platinum certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). In January 1997 it was released in the United States, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. It was the group’s only number-one single in that country. By the end of 1996, “Wannabe” had topped the charts in 22 nations, and by March 1997 this number had climbed to 37. “Wannabe” became the best-selling single by a female group in the world, with 1,360,000 and 2,910,000 copies sold in United Kingdom (by 2015) and United States (by 2014), respectively, and over 7 million copies worldwide by the end of 1997. In 2014, it was rated as the most easily recognisable pop song of the last 60 years.
“Un-Break My Heart” is the second single performed by American recording artist Toni Braxton, from her second studio album, Secrets (1996). The ballad was written by Diane Warren. Braxton expressed a dislike for the song; however, L.A. Reid was able to convince the singer to record it and include on her album. It was released as the second single from the album in October 1996, through LaFace Records. Lyrically, the song alludes to a “blistering heartbreak” in which Braxton begs a former lover to return and undo the pain he has caused. It won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1997.
“Un-Break My Heart” attained commercial success worldwide. In the United States, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed a total of eleven weeks, while reaching the same position on the Hot Dance Club Songs and Adult Contemporary component charts. When Billboard celebrated their 40 years charting from 1958 to 1998, the song was declared as the most successful song by a solo artist in the Billboard Hot 100 history. In Europe, the song reached the top five in more than ten countries while peaking at number one in Austria, Belgium (Wallonia), Sweden, and Switzerland.
Bille Woodruff directed the accompanying video for the single. It portrays Braxton mourning the death of her lover, while remembering the good times they had together. Braxton performed the song on the opening ceremony of the 1996 Billboard Music Awards. “Un-Break My Heart” has been covered by several artists, including American alternative rock band Weezer on the album Death to False Metal.