Shoulda been higher! The greatest injustices of the 1997 Hottest 100
The Hottest 100 of 1997 is jam-packed with killer songs. But the list isn’t perfect. Twenty years on, it is abundantly clear that there were some shocking injustices.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can admonish ourselves for all manner of musical sins. The way we embraced nu metal, new jack swing and new age. How we chose Dennis Leary over Radiohead in ’93. Don’t get me started on Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).
But what’s done is done. Here are a handful of songs that simply did not get their proper due in the Hottest 100 of 1997.
Daft Punk – ‘Da Funk’ (#98)
One of the biggest and most influential electro tracks of the 90s. Hell, it’s one of the biggest of all time. It might not be Daft Punk’s biggest and best-known song, but it sure as hell deserved to appear a little higher than number 98.
Daft Punk would of course end up with plenty more appearances in the countdown over the years, including four appearances in 2013 alone, culminating in a very well deserved top three finish with ‘Get Lucky’.
But ‘Da Funk’ didn’t get the due it deserved in 1997. The most frightening thing is, it was so close to completely missing out altogether!
Blue Boy – ‘Remember Me’ (#91)
It was the only chance British DJ Alexis Blackmore, aka Blue Boy, would have at making the Hottest 100. And we reckon ‘Remember Me’ was hugely overlooked. This gem of a track was one of the year’s truly great earworms, with a sample of an old Marlena Shaw performance melding perfectly with crisp 90s electro beats.
Perhaps the ultimate proof that this song deserved to be higher came over a decade after the original countdown. Perth indie-psych world-beaters Tame Impala covered the track and their version landed at number 78 in the 2009 Hottest 100.
The Dandy Warhols – ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’ (#89)
One of the best The Dandy Warhols songs of all time and a true 90s classic in our eyes.
But back in ’97 we were only just starting to get to know the Dandys, who would go on to become a favourite of Australian audiences and remain so to do this day. So that is probably why the track didn’t exactly set the countdown alight. And maybe the unabashed references to heroin use cut a bit too close to the bone.
Of course the Dandy Warhols would fare far better in later years, with a top ten finish three years later thanks to the omnipotent ‘Bohemian Like You’.
Custard – ‘Anatomically Correct’ (#48)
Custard would go on to great Hottest 100 success the following year with a top three finish for ‘Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us)’, but it’s a crying shame that the superior ‘Anatomically Correct’ only just snuck into the top 50.
According to the popular vote, it was deemed to not even be as good as Filter and The Crystal Method’s ‘(Can't You) Trip Like I Do’, which is nothing short of a travesty.
Something For Kate – ‘Captain (Million Miles An Hour)’ (#39)
Something For Kate’s first ever entry into the Hottest 100 was a very respectable number 39. But listen to ‘Captain…’ today and it holds up as a bona fide classic of Australian alt rock. As such, 39 just doesn’t do this killer song justice.
It was just the beginning of a long run of appearances in the Hottest 100 for the trio. They managed to peak at number two in the countdown for 2002 with their huge song ‘Monsters’. One of these days we’ll uncover the injustice that was ‘Cigarettes and Suitcases’ only reaching 51 in 2006 but let’s take it one step at a time.
Foo Fighters – ‘Monkey Wrench’ (#21)
Foo Fighters have been in the Hottest 100 22 times since 1995. Their highest entry in 1997 was for ‘Monkey Wrench’, a song that uses the band’s velocity, force and impeccable sense of melody to deliver an uncompromising and timeless cut of intense, gleeful rock’n’roll.
Look, 21 is a reasonable position. It should have been higher than Smash Mouth’s ‘Walking On The Sun’ (11), but we can’t do anything about that now.
What’s really interesting, however, is that the band’s most enduring hit ‘Everlong’ didn’t make it into the Hottest 100 at all in 1997. Their acoustic version landed at number 61 in 2006, but the single version didn’t make its first appearance in a countdown until it took ninth spot in the Hottest 100 Of All Time countdown in 2009.
The Living End – ‘Prisoner Of Society’ (#15)
This song is practically an anthem. Go and see The Living End perform live and every single person in the audience, whether they’re a fan or not, will be singing every single word of this song. It’s impossible not to.
To recall that a tune with such a huge presence in the recent history of Australian rock was deemed as only the 15th best of the year is incredible.
Not that we imagine the band would be complaining. The 1997 Hottest 100 was the start of their almighty reign in the countdown, where they appeared in every iteration for an entire decade.
Hear the Hottest 100 of 1997 from midday this Sunday