List of Hot 100 Airplay number-one singles of the 1990s

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The early 1990s brought a new methodology on how radio airplay was measured on the Billboard Hot 100 and, in particular, its component the Hot 100 Airplay chart. Prior to December 1990, radio stations were simply asked what songs were on their playlists and what songs have recently been added. Nielsen BDS was introduced in Billboard in January 1990 and first used on the Billboard Country music chart. It was adopted for the Hot 100 Airplay on the issue dated December 8, 1990, and on the Hot 100 with the issued dated November 30, 1991.[1] BDS measures actual airplay by monitoring radios stations continuously with computers that "listen for the unique 'audio fingerprint' of each song and register a detection every time a song is played."[2] One of the first noticeable effects of the change in methodology was that there tended to be less turnover of the top songs. Before the switch, only one song had spent at least ten weeks at number one on the Hot 100 Airplay chart; from the period of December 1990 until the end of the decade, 16 songs had a minimum ten-week run at the top of the chart. While the BDS technology may have had some impact as to why this was happening, the cause has also been attributed to the trends of the radio industry at the time with stations playing the same songs over longer periods of time.[2]

In the mid-1990s, a new trend began to emerge: singles without being released commercially in an attempt to boost album sales. While not a new concept, it started becoming commonplace.[3] With the June 17, 1995, issue, "I'll Be There for You", became the first single to top the Hot 100 Airplay chart without appearing on the Hot 100.[4] (It would later peak at No. 17 on the Hot 100 when released as a B-side to the Rembrandts follow-up single, "This House Is Not a Home", combined with its continued but fading dominance on the radio.) More songs followed with tracks such as "Don't Speak", "Men in Black", "Fly", "Torn", and "Iris", each becoming the most played song on American pop radio, despite being ineligible to chart on the Hot 100 itself due to a lack of a commercially available single. While this practice didn't end, in the Billboard issue dated December 5, 1998, policy was revised to allow "airplay-only" songs to chart on the Hot 100.[5]

Below are the songs to reach number one on the Hot 100 Airplay chart during the 1990s.

Number-one airplay hits[edit]

Contents
← 1980s · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000s →
Issue date Song Artist(s) Weeks at
number one
1990
January 20 "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" Michael Bolton 2
February 3 "Opposites Attract" Paula Abdul with The Wild Pair 4
March 3 "Escapade" Janet Jackson 4
March 31 "Love Will Lead You Back" Taylor Dayne 2
April 14 "Don't Wanna Fall in Love" Jane Child 2
April 28 "Nothing Compares 2 U" Sinéad O'Connor 4
May 26 "Vogue" Madonna 3
June 16 "It Must Have Been Love" Roxette 3
July 7 "Step by Step" New Kids on the Block 1
July 14 "She Ain't Worth It" Glenn Medeiros featuring Bobby Brown 3
August 4 "Vision of Love" Mariah Carey 3
August 25 "Come Back to Me" Janet Jackson 2
September 8 "Release Me" Wilson Phillips 3
September 29 "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" Phil Collins 2
October 13 "Praying for Time" George Michael 2
October 27 "I Don't Have the Heart" James Ingram 2
November 10 "Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice 2
November 24 "Love Takes Time" Mariah Carey 4
December 22 "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" Stevie B 2
1991
January 5 "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" Janet Jackson 3
January 26 "The First Time" Surface 4
February 23 "All the Man That I Need" Whitney Houston 1
March 2 "Someday" Mariah Carey 4
March 30 "Coming Out of the Dark" Gloria Estefan 1
April 6 "I've Been Thinking About You" Londonbeat 2
April 20 "You're in Love" Wilson Phillips 1
April 27 "Baby Baby" Amy Grant 4
May 25 "I Don't Wanna Cry" Mariah Carey 2
June 8 "Rush Rush" Paula Abdul 8
August 3 "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" Bryan Adams 8
September 28 "I Adore Mi Amor" Color Me Badd 3
October 19 "Emotions" Mariah Carey 4
November 16 "When a Man Loves a Woman" Michael Bolton 3
December 7 "Black or White" Michael Jackson 4
1992
January 4 "All 4 Love" Color Me Badd 4
February 1 "I Love Your Smile" Shanice 5
March 7 "Remember the Time" Michael Jackson 2
March 21 "Save the Best for Last" Vanessa Williams 8
May 16 "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" En Vogue 4
June 13 "I'll Be There" Mariah Carey 8
August 8 "Baby-Baby-Baby" TLC 2
August 22 "End of the Road" Boyz II Men 13
November 21 "I'd Die Without You" P.M. Dawn 2
December 5 "I Will Always Love You" Whitney Houston 11
1993
February 20 "A Whole New World" Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle 4
March 20 "I Have Nothing" Whitney Houston 6
May 1 "Freak Me" Silk 3
May 22 "That's the Way Love Goes" Janet Jackson 10
July 31 "Can't Help Falling in Love" UB40 4
August 28 "Dreamlover" Mariah Carey 11
November 13 "Again" Janet Jackson 4
December 11 "Hero" Mariah Carey 10
1994
February 19 "Breathe Again" Toni Braxton 1
February 26 "The Sign" Ace of Base 13
May 28 "I Swear" All-4-One 9
July 30 "Don't Turn Around" Ace of Base 2
August 13 "Stay (I Missed You)" Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories 4
September 10 "I'll Make Love to You" Boyz II Men 12
December 3 "On Bended Knee" Boyz II Men 11
1995
February 18 "Take a Bow" Madonna 9
April 22 "I Know" Dionne Farris 7
June 10 "Water Runs Dry" Boyz II Men 1
June 17 "I'll Be There for You" The Rembrandts 8
August 12 "Kiss from a Rose" Seal 10
October 21 "Fantasy" Mariah Carey 7
December 9 "One Sweet Day" Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men 13
1996
March 9 "Missing" Everything but the Girl 5
April 13 "Because You Loved Me" Celine Dion 14
July 20 "You Learn" Alanis Morissette 5
August 24 "I Love You Always Forever" Donna Lewis 12
November 16 "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" Celine Dion 2
November 30 "I Love You Always Forever" Donna Lewis 1
December 7 "Don't Speak" No Doubt 6
1997
January 18 "Un-Break My Heart" Toni Braxton 2
February 1 "Don't Speak" No Doubt 10
April 12 "You Were Meant for Me" Jewel 9
June 14 "MMMBop" Hanson 4
July 12 "Sunny Came Home" Shawn Colvin 4
August 9 "Men in Black" Will Smith 4
September 6 "Semi-Charmed Life" Third Eye Blind 3
September 27 "Foolish Games" Jewel 3
October 18 "Fly" Sugar Ray 6
November 29 "Tubthumping" Chumbawamba 9
1998
January 31 "My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion 10
April 11 "Truly Madly Deeply" Savage Garden 5
May 16 "Torn" Natalie Imbruglia 11
August 1 "Iris" Goo Goo Dolls 9
October 3 "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Aerosmith 1
October 10 "Iris" Goo Goo Dolls 9
December 12 "Lullaby" Shawn Mullins 2
December 26 "Have You Ever?" Brandy 9
1999
February 27 "Slide" Goo Goo Dolls 1
March 6 "Angel of Mine" Monica 2
March 20 "No Scrubs" TLC 13
June 19 "Livin' La Vida Loca" Ricky Martin 4
July 17 "I Want It That Way" Backstreet Boys 3
August 7 "All Star" Smash Mouth 5
September 11 "Genie in a Bottle" Christina Aguilera 3
October 2 "Mambo #5" Lou Bega 6
November 13 "Smooth" Santana featuring Rob Thomas 5
December 18 "Back at One" Brian McKnight 6

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (November 27, 2004). "Top 10 Billboard Chart Milestones". Billboard. 116 (48): 17. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (September 19, 1998). "How the Chart Got Its Start". Billboard. 110 (38): 36. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ Mayfield, Geoff (September 19, 1998). "Chart Changes Pondered". Billboard. 110 (38): 1, 165. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ McKenna, Jerry (June 17, 1995). "Hot 100 Singles Spotlight". Billboard. 107 (24): 89. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  5. ^ Mayfield, Geoff; Sandiford-Waller, Theda (December 5, 1998). "A New Hot 100 Reflects Changes in Music Business". Billboard. 110 (49): 129. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 

Additional sources[edit]