This week 18 years ago, Athens, Greece, was selected to host the 2004 Summer Olympics; the Orioles beat the Yankees, 13-9, in 4 hours, 22 minutes, setting a then-record for longest nine-inning game; the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, was held in London; Steven Seagal's "Fire Down Below" was the No. 1 film at the box office; and the following songs were the most popular in the United States, according to Billboard's Hot 100 chart archive.
10. "Not Tonight," Lil' Kim featuring Da Brat, Left Eye, Missy Elliott and Angie Mar
Though Billboard doesn't recognize the "remix" part in its chart, officially this was "Not Tonight" (Ladies Night Remix)," off the soundtrack to the film "Nothing to Lose," and it obviously samples Kool & the Gang's "Ladies Night." We miss you, Left Eye! Well, I guess we miss Lil' Kim, too. But mostly Left Eye. Bonus points for the random Missy Elliott slam against Patti LaBelle.
9. "You Make Me Wanna...," Usher
Look at baby Usher, who was just 18 when he co-wrote and recorded "You Make Me Wanna...," the lead single from his breakthrough second album, "My Way." By the way, he also sang it on the TV show "Moesha," in what I'm sure was a very special episode.
8. "Never Make a Promise," Dru Hill
The Baltimore guys proved they could get deep (um, themes of pregnancy and rape and abuse) in this track penned by Daryl Simmons, who also co-wrote Boyz II Men's "End of the Road."
7. "Barbie Girl," Aqua"
If Katy Perry was around in 1997 (and, you know, not 13 years old), she would have fought to record this one-hit wonder by your favorite (and mine) Danish-Norwegian group. And yes, Mattel, the manufacturers of the Barbie doll, later sued Aqua's label. The case was dismissed. Thank you, justice system!
6. "Semi-Charmed Life," Third Eye Blind
I remember having no idea that this was about crystal meth addiction when I first heard it, even though I was in high school by then. I also remember listening to it on the radio while mowing my parents lawn (which is totally not a crystal-methy thing to do).
5. "How Do I Live," LeeAnn Rimes
How did 1997 live with having to endlessly hear this song? To be fair, the song was so popular it stayed on the Hot 100 chart for 69 weeks, which is incredibly long and usually unheard of. So apparently 1997 lived with this song happily.
4. "2 Become 1," Spice Girls
Nice rhythm? Sure. Kind of private subject matter? Yes. Especially since the band co-wrote the song reportedly about the relationship that was developing between member Geri Halliwell and song co-writer Matt Rowe. Like, were they urging them to have sex? Or like, telling them that they'd make a cute couple? Or both? So many questions. Also, nice pro-condom message. I guess I just answered my own question.
3. "I'll Be Missing You," Puffy Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112
This song was released just two months after the murder of the Notorious B.I.G. (whom we'll hear from in a bit). And the video was shot a mere month after his death. Raw. Emotions.
2. "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)," Backstreet Boys
Backstreet's first hit was also its biggest of all time on the Hot 100 chart (peaking at No. 2).
1. "Mo Money Mo Problems," Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase
Biggie's posthumous hit (his second, after "Hypnotize") was No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for two weeks. The song it replaced at the top? "I'll Be Missing You."Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun