My favorite songs from 1991

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The 150 songs that made the list for 1991 (so far, as I am always adding if I discover a song I’ve missed) was a stronger year than 1989 (also 150, but with fewer ‘Awesome’-classed songs). This is thanks to Nirvana’s timeless Nevermind album (which honestly just gets better over time), and the Hip’s Road Apples – which was an instant favorite of mine. Pearl Jam’s Ten was a huge part of my life, though it took me a year or two to truly appreciate them. Along with the Hip, Lenny Kravitz was my favorite artist at the time and I was waiting to pick up his Mama Said album the day it came out – it didn’t disappoint. And of course – Blood Sugar Sex Magik was another all-time favorite album of mine.

Lots of memories were packed into this music. I was 17. I went to a lot of parties in Stratford and St. Mary’s. This music went with me. And some of the pop music you see towards the bottom of this list were just underrated and underappreciated songs of that year because, to teenagers, they weren’t “cool”. But later in life I can certainly appreciate them. One pop album in particular, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, was an album that I had no idea was this good until just recently listening through it.

Unlike most rankings, I haven’t been simply tossing these up in a numerical order. Because I know better than anybody that on some days, some songs kick more ass than other songs. A song that is ranked 14th today could very well rank 1st tomorrow, if it suddenly comes on the radio during the perfect moment and I start singing along. You understand. So I group them instead of presenting a hard-and-fast order:

Awesome
Great
Solid
Not Bad
…with inter-group splitting.

 

First, a look at videos of my favorites from that year…

37 Great Songs from 1991

Girlfriend – Matthew Sweet

 

November Rain  – Guns N’ Roses

Like fine wine, this one gets better with age. The guitar solo is the best, and almost had me pushing this one into the ‘Awesome’ category (below).

 

What the F*ck are we Saying – Lenny Kravitz

An underrated song from an amazing album. So good, that if the f-bomb wasn’t so prominent (in the title!?) that it would have been a hit IMO…

 

Come As You Are  – Nirvana

 

Polly  – Nirvana

 

Smells Like Teen Spirit  – Nirvana

 

Losing My Religion  – R.E.M.

 

Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)  – C+C Music Factory

 

Play With Me – Bootsauce

Nobody talks about or plays this band anymore. But the ‘Brown Album’ was actually pretty good, and included several nice songs.

 

Superman’s Song  – Crash Test Dummies

 

Don’t Cry  – Guns N’ Roses

 

Always on the Run  – Lenny Kravitz

 

Fields of Joy (Reprise) – Lenny Kravitz

I love both (completely different) versions of this song on this album. Once again – great album. A must-own for rock lovers.

 

Enter Sandman  – Metallica

 

Nothing Else Matters  – Metallica

 

On A Plain  – Nirvana

 

Territorial Pissings  – Nirvana

 

Blood Sugar Sex Magik  – Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

Give It Away  – Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

The Luxury – The Tragically Hip

Road Apples is one of my favorite albums of all time, easily in my Top 5. These next three songs weren’t even their hits from the album, they were just damn good.

 

Long Time Running – The Tragically Hip

 

Bring It All Back – The Tragically Hip

 

Release  – Pearl Jam

 

Right Here, Right Now  – Jesus Jones

 

Shiny Happy People  – R.E.M.

 

You May Be Right – Grapes of Wrath

 

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over  – Lenny Kravitz

 

Stand By My Woman – Lenny Kravitz

 

Fields of Joy – Lenny Kravitz

Here’s the ‘other’ version…

 

Drain You  – Nirvana

 

Something In The Way  – Nirvana

 

Born in the Water – The Tragically Hip

 

Three Pistols – The Tragically Hip

 

Even Flow  – Pearl Jam

 

Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane

This song barely made it under ‘Great’ for me, when it should have easily made it to ‘Awesome’. There is overplayed songs…and then there is this one. You think Nickelback’s How You Remind Me was overplayed? Then you weren’t around for Life is a Highway. This came out in Canada and was massive. An awesome song that was played every hour or two, all stations. Then it died down finally after a year. But then it caught on in America and ramped right back up again. Overplayed – in two different timeframes. I am a firm believer that songs get overplayed for a reason: they’re great songs. This is no exception. But even I have my limits.

 

Into The Great Wide Open  – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

 

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong  – Spin Doctors

 

Two Princes  – Spin Doctors

 

 

17 Truly Awesome Songs from 1991

The Unforgiven  – Metallica

My favorite song by this band…

 

Alive  – Pearl Jam

When I was diagnosed with cancer (MDS, later becoming AML) in 2017, I made this my inspirational anthem of my battle. You can read about my battle here. This is probably my favorite song of all time, from the adrenaline rush of an intro to the drum-pounding finish it is the perfect song.

 

Here is the album version…

 

 

Black  – Pearl Jam

 

Breed  – Nirvana

 

I Could Have Lied  – Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

Little Bones – The Tragically Hip

 

Fiddler’s Green – The Tragically Hip

A great song…an amazing song. And an interesting story behind it. The Hip never played this one in concert for many years, because it brought them too much pain. It was written for lead singer Gord Downie’s nephew, who had died of a heart ailment. It was a good 15 years before the band ever performed it in concert. I never got to see it live, as the two concerts I saw both pre-dated 2006. But I did see it on the CBC national broadcast of their final concert. I sang this one to my oldest daughter, when rocking her to sleep as a baby.

 

And here is the very emotional final concert version of this great song. Gord would pass away just over a year later. This is the full concert, but I tagged it to begin with this song. Go ahead and grab a tissue. By the way, the song they kick into immediate afterward is Little Bones, the song posted above this one.

 

 

In Bloom  – Nirvana

 

Under the Bridge  – Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

I Am Here – Grapes of Wrath

A little-known song. But give it a listen if you haven’t heard it before and I am pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

 

Stop Draggin’ Around – Lenny Kravitz

 

Jeremy  – Pearl Jam

 

Fight – The Tragically Hip

 

The Last of the Unplucked Gems – The Tragically Hip

Stuck at the end of the CD almost as an afterthought, this song turned out to be one of the best on what was an amazing album. So short that I stuck it at the end of a lot of mixed tapes early on, if there was just a couple minutes of room left…

 

Lithium  – Nirvana

 

One  – U2

 

Lounge Act  – Nirvana

 

I have put together a YouTube playlist of these great songs here.

 

Here is the full list of my favorites from 1991…

Awesome – 1 The Unforgiven Metallica
Awesome – 1 Alive Pearl Jam
Awesome – 1 Black Pearl Jam
Awesome – 1 Little Bones The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 1 Fiddler’s Green The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 1 In Bloom Nirvana
Awesome – 1 Under the Bridge Red Hot Chili Peppers
Awesome – 8 I Am Here Grapes of Wrath
Awesome – 8 Stop Draggin’ Around Lenny Kravitz
Awesome – 8 Jeremy Pearl Jam
Awesome – 8 Fight The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 8 The Last of the Unplucked Gems The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 8 Lithium Nirvana
Awesome – 8 One U2
Awesome – 8 Lounge Act Nirvana
Awesome – 8 Breed Nirvana
Awesome – 8 I Could Have Lied Red Hot Chili Peppers
Great – 18 Girlfriend Matthew Sweet
Great – 18 November Rain Guns N’ Roses
Great – 18 What the Fuck are we Saying Lenny Kravitz
Great – 18 Come As You Are Nirvana
Great – 18 Polly Nirvana
Great – 18 Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
Great – 18 Losing My Religion R.E.M.
Great – 18 Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) C+C Music Factory
Great – 18 The Luxury The Tragically Hip
Great – 18 Bring It All Back The Tragically Hip
Great – 18 Release Pearl Jam
Great – 18 You May Be Right Grapes of Wrath
Great – 18 Drain You Nirvana
Great – 18 Something In The Way Nirvana
Great – 32 Play With Me Bootsauce
Great – 32 Superman’s Song Crash Test Dummies
Great – 32 Don’t Cry Guns N’ Roses
Great – 32 Always on the Run Lenny Kravitz
Great – 32 Fields of Joy (Reprise) Lenny Kravitz
Great – 32 Enter Sandman Metallica
Great – 32 Nothing Else Matters Metallica
Great – 32 On A Plain Nirvana
Great – 32 Territorial Pissings Nirvana
Great – 32 Blood Sugar Sex Magik Red Hot Chili Peppers
Great – 32 Give It Away Red Hot Chili Peppers
Great – 32 Long Time Running The Tragically Hip
Great – 32 Right Here, Right Now Jesus Jones
Great – 32 Shiny Happy People R.E.M.
Great – 32 It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over Lenny Kravitz
Great – 32 Stand By My Woman Lenny Kravitz
Great – 32 Fields of Joy Lenny Kravitz
Great – 32 Born in the Water The Tragically Hip
Great – 32 Three Pistols The Tragically Hip
Great – 32 Even Flow Pearl Jam
Great – 32 Life is a Highway Tom Cochrane
Great – 32 Into The Great Wide Open Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Great – 32 Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong Spin Doctors
Great – 32 Two Princes Spin Doctors
Solid – 56 Here We Go (Let’s Rock and Roll) C+C Music Factory
Solid – 56 Get Ready For This 2 Unlimited
Solid – 56 I Can’t Dance Genesis
Solid – 56 Breaking the Girl Red Hot Chili Peppers
Solid – 56 Twist My Arm The Tragically Hip
Solid – 56 Cordelia The Tragically Hip
Solid – 56 On the Verge The Tragically Hip
Solid – 56 Porch Pearl Jam
Solid – 56 Learning To Fly Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Solid – 56 Mysterious Ways U2
Solid – 56 Me In Honey R.E.M.
Solid – 56 Jimmy Olsen’s Blues Spin Doctors
Solid – 68 These Are The Days Of Our Lives Queen
Solid – 68 My Town Glass Tiger
Solid – 68 Til I Am Myself Again Blue Rodeo
Solid – 68 Everyone’s a Winner Bootsauce
Solid – 68 Flowers For Zoe Lenny Kravitz
Solid – 68 More Than Anything in This World Lenny Kravitz
Solid – 68 All I Ever Wanted Lenny Kravitz
Solid – 68 Stay Away Nirvana
Solid – 68 Sir Psycho Sexy Red Hot Chili Peppers
Solid – 68 Suck My Kiss Red Hot Chili Peppers
Solid – 68 Movin’ On Up Primal Scream
Solid – 68 To Be With You Mr. Big
Solid – 68 Oceans Pearl Jam
Solid – 68 Wash the Rain World on Edge
Solid – 68 Outshined Soundgarden
Solid – 68 I Touch Myself The Divinyls
Solid – 68 Bring The Noise Anthrax
Solid – 68 Life Could Be Worse Barney Bentall
Solid – 68 Jam Michael Jackson
Solid – 68 Heart of Soul The Cult
Solid – 68 So Cruel U2
Solid – 68 Radio Song R.E.M.
Not Bad – 90 You Could Be Mine Guns N’ Roses
Not Bad – 90 Dangerous Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 90 Why You Wanna Trip on Me Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 90 If You Have To Ask Red Hot Chili Peppers
Not Bad – 90 Mama, I’m Coming Home Ozzy Osbourne
Not Bad – 90 Set Adrift On Memory Bliss P.M. Dawn
Not Bad – 90 Garden Pearl Jam
Not Bad – 90 Why Go Pearl Jam
Not Bad – 90 Even Better Than The Real Thing U2
Not Bad – 90 Until The End Of The World U2
Not Bad – 90 Joyride Roxette
Not Bad – 90 Crazy Seal
Not Bad – 90 Rusty Cage Soundgarden
Not Bad – 90 3 A.M. Eternal The KLF
Not Bad – 90 It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday Boyz II Men
Not Bad – 90 (Everything I Do) I Do It For You Bryan Adams
Not Bad – 90 The Difference is Why Lenny Kravitz
Not Bad – 90 When the Morning Turns to Night Lenny Kravitz
Not Bad – 90 Butterfly Lenny Kravitz
Not Bad – 90 O.P.P. Naughty by Nature
Not Bad – 90 Remember The Time Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 90 Who Is It Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 90 Will You Be There? Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 90 Roll The Bones Rush
Not Bad – 90 The Path of Thorns Sarah McLachlan
Not Bad – 90 Can’t Truss It Public Enemy
Not Bad – 90 Once Pearl Jam
Not Bad – 90 All I Want Toad the Wet Sprocket
Not Bad – 90 Walk on the Ocean Toad the Wet Sprocket
Not Bad – 90 Right Now Van Halen
Not Bad – 90 Belong R.E.M.
Not Bad – 90 What About Now Robbie Robertson
Not Bad – 90 Kiss Me You Fool The Northern Pikes
Not Bad – 123 Too Hot Alanis Morissette
Not Bad – 123 Motownphilly Boyz II Men
Not Bad – 123 Things That Make You Go Hmmmm… C+C Music Factory
Not Bad – 123 Walking In Memphis Marc Cohn
Not Bad – 123 Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) De La Soul
Not Bad – 123 Good Vibrations Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Not Bad – 123 When a Man Loves a Woman Michael Bolton
Not Bad – 123 Give In To Me Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 123 Heal The World Michael Jackson
Not Bad – 123 My Lovely Man Red Hot Chili Peppers
Not Bad – 123 Into the Fire Sarah McLachlan
Not Bad – 123 Wild Hearted Son The Cult
Not Bad – 123 Shut ‘Em Down Public Enemy
Not Bad – 123 Cream Prince
Not Bad – 123 Trying To Throw Your Arms Around The World U2
Not Bad – 123 Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses U2
Not Bad – 123 Everything About You Ugly Kid Joe
Not Bad – 123 Only the Lonely World on Edge
Not Bad – 123 Standing Push and Fall World on Edge
Not Bad – 123 Blowing Kisses in the Wind Paula Abdul
Not Bad – 123 I’m Too Sexy Right Said Fred
Not Bad – 123 Go Back to Your Woods Robbie Robertson
Not Bad – 123 If The Cult
Not Bad – 123 Sweet Salvation The Cult
Not Bad – 123 How Long Can a Man Be Strong The Jeff Healey Band
Not Bad – 123 Get A Leg Up John Mellencamp
Not Bad – 123 Sad But True Metallica
Not Bad – 123 Something To Talk About Bonnie Raitt

 

1990     1991     1992     1993     1994     1995     1996     1997     1998     1999

1960s          1970s          1980s          1990s

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