Top 15 Hits from ’74, ’84 & ’94 and Why Today’s Music Can’t Compete

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Take a trip down memory lane with us as we revisit the chart-topping hits of 1974, 1984, and 1994! Get ready for unforgettable melodies, iconic voices, and a sound that some may argue can’t be replicated today. We’ll dive into 15 of these classics and explore what made them so special and why they might leave some modern music feeling a little, well, flat.

 I Shot the Sheriff – Eric Clapton (1974)

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One of the standout features of “I Shot the Sheriff” is its haunting guitar riff, which serves as a driving force. Clapton’s virtuosity on the guitar is on full display here, showcasing his ability to evoke emotions through his instrument. New songs have a hard time capturing the artistic honesty that made older pieces like this unforgettable.

Bennie and the Jets – Elton John (1974)

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Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote it to poke fun at how the sound industry creates fake pop stars. The character Bennie and his made-up crew were meant to show how mainstream can be fake and boring. Bennie and the Jets” embodies a depth of musicality and storytelling that is not seen in the contemporary mix.

Rock Your Baby – George McCrae (1974)

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The success of “Rock Your Baby” soared when featured in the movie “Saturday Night Fever,” which was a massive deal in the disco era. The lines and hooks were perfect for John Travolta’s iconic dance scenes. Rock Your Baby” epitomizes the essence of disco. Unlike modern tracks, it possesses an unmistakable sense of joy and exuberance.

Nothing from Nothing – Billy Preston (1974)

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Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing” is a lively song full of energy and lines of staying strong. It came out during unrest, and its happy tempo and catchy tune gave folks a break from their worries, encouraging them to dance. Billy Presson exudes authenticity and sincerity, organic warmth and emotional resonance, which one won’t find these days.

Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe – Barry White (1974)

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Barry White’s ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe’ is a classic soul song that epitomizes the R&B style of the 1970s. With its captivating beat and Barry White’s deep baritone voice, it exudes romance. In contrast, amidst the noise that is often paraded in recent scenes, genuine emotion is increasingly rare to find.

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974)

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Inspired by the band’s own experiences in the music industry, ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ exudes a rebellious spirit and unbridled optimism. The song found its home in arenas and stadiums, where BTO’s electrifying performances and anthemic sound filled the air with excitement and adrenaline. Such raw energy is not dominant in recent times.

When Doves Cry – Prince (1984)

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What makes ‘When Doves Cry’ stand out even after many years is its distinctiveness. The lyrics are simple, lacking a bass line, which defies expectations. This unique style challenges the audience and pushes the limits of what defines a popular tune.

Like a Virgin – Madonna (1984)

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The song’s success wasn’t merely due to its shock value; it resonated with audiences on a deeper level. Madonna’s portrayal of a woman rediscovering herself after heartbreak struck a chord with listeners, making it relatable for anyone facing the complexities of affection and self-discovery. The nostalgia of a beat that challenges its audience is sorely missed.

Footloose – Kenny Loggins (1984)

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|In the vibrant ’80s, “Footloose” wasn’t just a trendy chant; it became a huge part of our culture. Its catchy tempo, rebellious attitude, and electronic pop sound encouraged people to forget their worries and dance. “Footloose” was everywhere back then, playing on radios and in clubs.

Jump – Van Halen (1984)

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Written by Van Halen and released in 1984, it defied serenading boundaries with its fusion of rock and synthesizers. The iconic keyboard riff, David Lee Roth’s exuberant vocals, and the paradoxical verses made it unforgettable. As MTV catapulted it into living rooms worldwide, “Jump” became an arena jingo, a call to arms that united fans.

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club (1984)

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“Karma Chameleon” dominated the airwaves in 1984, spending weeks at the top of the charts and becoming one of Culture Club’s most successful singles. Its success was further cemented by its inclusion in the crew’s album “Colour by Numbers,” which became one of the decade’s best-selling albums. Boy George’s distinctive vocals are unlike what’s common today.

Stay (I Missed You) – Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories (1994)


Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories penned this famous vocal. It’s a simple acoustic piece known for its raw honesty and unique beginnings. Lisa Loeb’s straightforward voice and sincere lyrics make enthusiasts feel close to the song. Right now, we are inundated with manufactured personas and superficial trends.

The Sign – Ace of Base (1994)

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At its core, “The Sign” is a piece about empowerment and self-discovery. Its rhymes speak to themes of independence and resilience. This message resonated deeply with audiences in the ’90s, a decade marked by social and cultural shifts, making “The Sign” a hit and a cultural touchstone.

I Swear – All-4-One (1994)

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This became a big hit for its powerhouse vocals and relatable themes of affection, faithfulness, and commitment. Initially written by Gary Baker and Frank J. Myers, “I Swear” was first sung by country singer John Michael Montgomery. But when All-4-One covered it, it became even more popular. These days, the mainstream R&B sound has evolved towards a more electronic and potentially less vocally driven approach.

Hero – Mariah Carey (1994)

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“Hero” is a powerful ballad that showcases Mariah Carey’s incredible vocal range and passionate delivery. This classic resonated deeply with people thanks to its uplifting message of courage and resilience. “Hero” became an anthem for anyone facing adversity. It’s hard to say which songs of today will have that same staying power.

Written by Johann H