Songs From 1998 That Still Work At Receptions Today
13 songs from 1998 that still pack a dance floor at today’s receptions
1998 was a great year for movies, the economy, technology, and of course music.
The economy was on fire with very low unemployment rates and gas cost just $1.15 a gallon. You had great movies like Something About Mary (I still laugh when I watch this movie), Saving Private Ryan (that opening scene from D-Day is very intense), and then the biggie - Titanic. On the technology front, a small tech company was founded in California called Google.
But more importantly for us as wedding DJs, 1998 was a GREAT year for music. There are several songs that still ‘work’ for weddings 20 years later. This unique staying power for a song is a big factor in determining which songs in a particular year are ‘big songs’.
On Sept. 14, 1998, back when MTV still played music videos, Total Request Live—or TRL—aired for the first time. Hosted by Carson Daly, the after-school music video countdown show would soon become MTV’s flagship program. Over the next decade it played a huge role in influencing the musical tastes of countless tweens, and helped launch the careers of countless boy bands and pop princesses.
Thanks in part to Total Request Live, pop music really soared in 1998. We were introduced to the boy band ‘N Sync, led by Justin Timberlake, who released that self-titled debut album that year, including the hit songs “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and “I Want You Back.” Their boy band rival, Backstreet Boys, released their hit single “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” while a little-known pop singer by the name of Britney Spears released her first single, “…Baby One More Time.”
Of course there were lots of great songs that didn’t make our list. Not because they weren’t great songs, but solely because we don’t play them too often anymore. Aaliyah released the single to the Timbaland-produced “Are You That Somebody?”, which is arguably her best song. The veterans got in on the act, too. From Madonna’s dance-y Ray of Light, to Cher’s comeback effort, Believe.
One of the biggest songs of the year was “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie Titanic. Released on December 19, 1997, Titanic achieved huge critical and commercial success, it was nominated for 14 Oscars and won 11. If possible, the song from the soundtrack might be a bigger success. It was one of the biggest selling songs of all time.
So why didn’t it make our list? Its our opinion that Celine Dion, and this song, are the most requests songs/artist NOT to be played at a wedding with the exception of some line dances. The backlash for this song started about 2000 and has continued on to today. People just don’t care for Celine Dion anymore…
So as you look at our 13 song list, you will see two big trends. You will see a lot of great ballads, and you will see the classic teeny bopper 90’s songs that so many weddings today really enjoy!
13 – Chumbawamba, “Tub Thumping” It’s gotta be the right crowd but when this works, it can still be a great last-hour song. This is usually a ‘guys song’, much like #9 on this list.
12 – Jay-Z feat. Amil and Ja Rule, “Can I Get A…” I’ll mix this into a hip hop set from time to time and it still works with the right crowd
11 – K-Ci and JoJo, “All My Life” A beautiful R&B ballad. It was perfect for weddings back in 1998 and we still get requests for it today.
10 – Savage Garden, “Truly Madly Deeply” Was a big wedding song and one I still play sometimes, either for slow dancing or during dinner.
9 – Beastie Boys, “Intergalactic” Sure they have better songs but I still get asked for this from time to time and it works when I play it. Works best later in the reception and it usually results in the guys jumping into each other on the dance floor.
8 Shania Twain, “From This Moment On” Shania was so HOT and so was this song! It was THE wedding song of the year! I don’t spin it as often but every once in a while it’s the perfect ballad.
7 – Boyz II Men , “A Song For Mama” A highly requested Mother/Son dance to this day. And for good reason! Its just perfect for that moment.
6- Pras Michel feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Mya, “Ghetto Superstar” This catchy-as-all-hell R&B tune was school dance staple for millennials. Still works in a hip hop set and gets a great reaction from the guests when it first comes on.
5 – NSYNC, “Tearin’ Up My Heart” It’s funny that “I Want You Back” was a bigger hit off their debut than “Tearin’ Up My Heart” but I play this more often. It’s just a very catchy sing along song from that pop era.
4 – Aerosmith, “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” Still a very popular slow song. Requested occasionally and sometimes I just break it out to be different.
3 – Will Smith, “Getting Jiggy Wit It” I still drop this in many a hip-hop set and the response is usually great.
2 – Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time” Her debut single in the US and it made her huge. Still works in a 90s pop set with N’Snyc and The Backstreet Boys.
1 – Backstreet Boys, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” – Great dance and sing along song from the Boy Band Era! This one works at almost every event these days. People love to sing along with this song, and ‘throw your hands up in the air and wave em around like you just don’t care’.