The Year in Music: 1997
With the Decades series we honor the legacy of music history 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60 years back in time. Join us for a deep musical dive into the best songs, biggest hits, album favorites and forgotten gems from each year. In 2017 we look at the music of 1957, 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997 and 2007. 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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Healing and remembrance were major cultural themes that defined 1997. The tragic deaths of Princess Diana and The Notorious B.I.G. spawned two of the biggest songs of the year – Elton John’s reworked “Candle in the Wind” and Puff Daddy & Faith Evans’ “I’ll Be Missing You” – not the mention the sobbing soundtrack to Titanic.
But it is also the year of scrapping the past and looking to the future. Radiohead and Daft Punk helped chart new courses in alternative rock and electronic music. Indie notabilities like Yo La Tengo, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill made landmark albums, as did Erykah Badu and Janet Jackson.
Post-rock turned into an indie trend, fronted by Canadian masters of gloom Godspeed You Black Emperor, all while its polar opposite, Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” was dominating the charts around the globe. But both are part of the year in music 1997, and both are present on this list.
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