The Year in Music: 1996

The Year in Music: 1996

Only at its mid-point, 2016 has already demonstrated how much incredible music can come out in the span of a year. And over that same period we’ve been able to celebrate the 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 year anniversaries of some of our still cherished albums from years past. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking back at specific years in music celebrating decade anniversaries (1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006) by sharing our definitive playlist for each. Each playlist – a carefully curated mix of approximately 100 hits, singles and album cuts we’ve found worthy of inclusion – gives you a historical snapshot of a 12-month window in popular music. For the sake of historical coherence, these do not necessarily reflect the top charts of the year, but rather the official release dates. Bring on the nostalgia!

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Looking 20 years back reminds us just how great and diverse a year 1996 really was.

Timeless classics by JAY Z, Fugees and Beck and innovative masterpieces signed DJ Shadow, Nas and Stereolab are just a few key milestones from this year. In the alternative section, 1996 gave us great full-lengths from then new names like Modest Mouse, Cibo Matto and Belle & Sebastian, while artists such as Counting Crows, Matchbox Twenty, Dave Matthews Band and The Wallflowers filled the post-grunge void with a more adult oriented kind of rock.

Introduced with big hits like “No Diggity,” “Wannabe,” “Un-Break My Heart” and “California Love,” this is a tour de force through the year of 1996 in popular music.

Best-Selling Album: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
Longest No. 1 Single: “Macarena [Bayside Boys Mix]” by Los del Rio (14 weeks)
Grammy – Album of the Year: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
Grammy – Song of the Year: “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal
Groups Formed: 3 Doors Down, 98 Degrees, Belle & Sebastian, Coldplay, Drive-By Truckers, Linkin Park, Queens of the Stone Age, The Shins
Groups Disbanded: Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Pink Floyd, Ramones, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stone Roses, Sublime, Take That
Deaths: Brad Nowell of Sublime, Ella Fitzgerald, Tupac Shakur, Faron Young
Top-Grossing Film: Independence Day
Best-Selling Book: Primary Colors by Anonymous (Joe Klein later came forward as author)
World Leaders: Bill Clinton, Elizabeth II, John Major, Boris Yeltsin, Jacques Chirac
Historical Benchmarks:
 - Chess computer “Deep Blue” defeated world champion Garry Kasparov
- Russian President Boris Yeltsin negotiates ceasefire with Chechen rebels
- Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is adopted by United Nations General Assembly
- Nintendo 64 is released in Japan
TIME’s Person of the Year: David Ho, a scientist and pioneer in the field of AIDS research

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