Billboard's Top Songs of the '90s begins April 15, with repeated runs through April 24.
The '80s countdown, tabulated by Billboard, is based on songs' performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart, with titles ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower spots earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras (including within the '80s) are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates over various periods.
The '90s countdown, also tabulated by Billboard, is based on a blend of Hot 100 performance (see methodology above) and, for songs that did not appear on the Hot 100 at all or for the bulk of their runs, the Radio Songs (then-called Hot 100 Airplay) chart. The decade is unique in that many hits were not released as stand-alone commercially available singles (on cassette or CD) and, per chart rules at the time, were not eligible to appear on the Hot 100. Why were various hits not made available for purchase on their own? Record labels in the '90s began withholding commercial physical single releases to instead entice consumers to purchase full, and more expensive, albums.
Now, for the first time, Billboard has included the biggest of those songs in a Hot 100-focused ranking, presenting the most encompassing recap of the top hits of the '90s.
Since its launch on Aug. 4, 1958, the Hot 100 chart has stood as the gold standard ranking of America's top songs each week. And while what goes into a hit has changed (jukeboxes giving way to, eventually, streaming), attaining a spot on the list, and a coveted No. 1, is still the benchmark to which artists aspire, from Ricky Nelson on the first Hot 100 to Ariana Grande on the latest list, which brings us to these hottest-of-the-hot flashback countdowns: Billboard's Top Songs of the '80s and '90s.