Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week I’m hopping into my time machine again, this time setting the coordinates for 20 years ago this week.
R&B absolutely ruled the Billboard Hot 100 this week back in 1997, with Toni Braxton, En Vogue, R. Kelly, Keith Sweat, Whitney Houston, and Blackstreet, having a firm grip on the top six slots on the chart. Modern rock had taken a bit of a backseat, but there was still some hip-hop, and pop, to go with all that soul.
So let’s get into this exploration in Billboard Hot 100 history! Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1. Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart
Quite possibly Toni Braxton’s greatest ballad – and that’s really saying something – “Un-Break My Heart” was not only an amazing song, the video had a little something for everyone. For the ladies, there was a shirtless Tyson Beckford. For the fellas, we had a smokin hot Toni Braxton. Sure, there were some tears in there, as well, but hotness always trumps tragedy … that’s like science, or something.
6. Blackstreet – No Diggity
My guess is you didn’t have to click play to start reciting the chorus of this Blackstreet classic. With Dr. Dre, and Queen Pen, making quest appearances, Teddy Riley and crew were giving everybody “eargasms” with “No Diggity.” Heck, even in 2017 this one is a party starter.
11. Spice Girls – Wannabe
The UK fivesome whose girl power would win over the hearts of countless teenage girls, and overall hotness would win over the hearts of countless teenage boy, the Spice Girls’ ride had to start somewhere, and it just so happened it started at damned near the top, as they debuted at #11 with their now pop classic “Wannabe.” You already know if you click play on this you’ll never get it out of your head, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
18. Lil’ Kim w/ Puff Daddy – No Time
Speaking of girl power, back in ’97 Lil’ Kim was the queen of rap, and she had no time for fake ones. Sometimes we forget how great Lil’ Kim was, but one listen to “No Time” is a reminder that she was once on top the hip-hop world, and sparked a sexual revolution among female emcees, which some people loved, and some still find controversial to this day.
23. Ginuwine – Pony
Ginuwine’s debut single was a song that inspired millions of women to suddenly want to become equestrians. There was ZERO subtlety to “Pony,” and that was part of the beauty of it. “Pony” was undeniably raunchy, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
45. Ghost Town DJ’s – My Boo
Back in 1997, if your dance party didn’t have “My Boo” in the playlist, your dance party was wack. Quite frankly, in 2017, if your dance party doesn’t have “My Boo” in the playlist, your dance party is wack.
Sadly, after “My Boo,” Ghost Town DJ’s, unnecessary apostrophe and all (their name is actually corrected for grammar for the YouTube video), ghosted. They made a momentary reappearance last year, in song form, when their lone hit became the musical centerpiece of the short-lived internet fad known as the Running Man Challenge.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.