031215: The Urban Tracker (In Manila): Top 10 Language Crossover Hits of The 90’s

90's Non-English artists
0 years ago, we then thought there’s nothing could come close to replace La Bamba or 99 LuftBalloons as language crossover hits.

Until the 90’s  where we saw the harvest of non-English or bilingual songs cropping up as pop new flavor. So let’s rank them down them according to popularity in the Philippine pop landscape proving that the power of the song belongs to the melody not on the language.

10. Maria, 1998 – Ricky Martin
Language: Spanish

Uno, dos, tres…, Ricky Martin’s countdown that ushered in the Latin rave in late 90's with Maria.  The irresistible melody of Latin hit song propelled Ricky Martin into stardom and marked the growing interest of the Latin genre. Artist like Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias soon followed and broke into the pop scene after the time boy bands and girl groups were dominating the charts. 

 9. Tic Tic Tac 1996 - Carapicho
Language: Spanish

From the heels of sweeping success of Macarena, another tune came to fold that became frenzy and huge one country after another. The countryside beat of this Latin song by Brazilian act Carapicho was reminiscent of another not distant hit Lambada.


8. Amandote, 1996 - Thalia
Language: Spanish

Latin superstar Thalia impressed the world earlier as an actress but also fascinated her followers as a recording artist. Amandote was the signature single that came in 1996 amidst her career peak becoming a friendly radio tune reminding us that she once ruled the world and best known for being the protagonist in telenovela Marimar.


 7. X-Ta Si X-Ta No, 1992, Chimo Bayo
Language: Spanish

This electronic sounding song by Spanish group Chimo Bayo came out in late 1992 and instantly became a club favorite. The lyrics mostly a repetitive a tongue-twisting refrain nevertheless became a huge dance hit across Europe. It's peculiar electronic sounding worked its way at the time dance hits were in experimental transition.

5. Feel Like Dance, 1996 – Globe
Language: Japanese/English

1996 was the year Japanese songs were invading the airwaves owing to tolerance and acceptance of foreign songs with equally catchy beat This one particularly song popularized by Globe was a hit in the dance scene in a latter part of the year perhaps a breakaway from alternative acts dominating back then.

5. Lambada, 1990, Kaoma
Language: Spanish

Lambada was actually released in late 1989, yet the craze took its toll by mid-1990’s when a. counterpart movie was named after the song featuring that hot dance step which what Lambada is all about. Sung by French group Kaoma, the single became an international hit by the turn of the decade.


4.  Sadeness Part 1, 1991 - Enigma
Language: French/Latin

Enigma was a German experimental project featuring Gregorian chanting by Michael Cretu that first appeared in 1990. The first single of the album MCMXC a.D Sadness Part I became a dance hit, a hypnotic and sensual piece that achieved success in early part of 1991. The song both in Latin and French became a hit in 24 countries. In fact, the vocals used were but a sampling from pre-recorded incantations that even mentioned a quotation from Psalm 24:7-8.

3.  Sweet Soul Revue, 1996 - Pizzikato V
Language: Japanese

Pizzikato V broke the ice and gave what Japanese pop music was all about that became a sensation amidst the height of alternative rock scene. It’s still unthinkable how this unexpected catchy hit took the sensation in the summer of 96  but it’s the work of its playful melody and the kawaii fashion that's becoming a growing trend.

2. Angelina, 1992 -  P.S.Y.
Language: French

By 1992, our ears were plugged into this French song that became a radio staple and a dance hit courtesy of unheralded one hit wonder PSY. This song somehow in French tickled growing fanciers owing to its relatable beat and tempo. It went on to become the second-best single pick of 1992 behind Stars by Simply Red in that year when  Michael Jackson's Dangerous bowed out to Nirvana’s Never Mind. 

1. Macarena, 1995 – Los Del Rio
Language: Spanish

Macarena was first released in 1993 but it took another two years in a remixed version before it became a worldwide phenomenon. It reached  No. 1 in almost all countries in Europe, Australia and a reformed US version spent 14 weeks at Billboard No.1. 

The spectacle that’s Macarena was attributed to a dance step that united the whole world and was even used in US presidential campaigns. The universal appeal of this song could be on its beat using a rhumba injecting an Indian rhythm. Although in Spanish language, it became the biggest selling record of the 90’s by any single and history's the most successful barrier-breaking hit ever.