1. "I'll Be Missing You" - Puff Daddy & Faith Evans feat. 112
On March 9, 1997, Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace was murdered leaving a Soul Train Awards afterparty in Los Angeles. Soon after, Puff Daddy, R&B group 112 and Wallace's widow, Faith Evans, paid him tribute on a song that sampled The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." The video -- which culminates with Evans singing the spiritual "I'll Fly Away" from atop a hill -- premiered in early May and quickly became one of MTV's most-played clips. "It really hit home when I saw the video," says New York DJ Funkmaster Flex, who remembers broadcasting the song from a promo CD before Bad Boy Records sent him a proper 12-inch. The single then debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 14, remained there for 11 weeks and was succeeded by Wallace's own "Mo Money Mo Problems" from his posthumous LP Life After Death. "It was a tough time," recalls Flex. "But between Big's album and Diddy's album, it almost felt like Biggie didn't pass." —NICK MURRAY
Fun Fact: Sting joined 112, Evans and Puff Daddy to perform the track live at the 1997 Video Music Awards.
9. "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" - Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams was finishing up his sixth LP, Waking Up the Neighbours, when film composer Michael Kamen approached the Canadian musician's team about collaborating on the theme to Kevin Costner's early-'90s vehicle Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Co-written with Adams' frequent collaborator Mutt Lange, the lyrics for Robin and Maid Marian's surging love song were composed in 90 minutes - and then went on to become the foundation of the biggest hit of the year. Remembers Adams' manager Bruce Allen: "It was a big wedding song, but you heard it at the mall -- everywhere." —GARRETT KAMPS