LIVING

1995's Biggest Songs Prove Pop Was Way More Diverse Two Decades Ago

02/19/2015 01:59 EST | Updated 02/19/2015 02:59 EST
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
TLC during 1995 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Whether or not you think Kanye is a jerk for yet again saying Beyonce got robbed at an awards show, West's actions have prompted the press to discuss how pop music has become whiter and more homogenized in recent years.

No person of colour has won a top Grammy for four years and the number crunchers at Vocativ revealed that the "Grammys — and popular music in general — are whiter than they've been in 35 years."

In fact, in 2013, not a single black artist had a number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since the chart began 55 years earlier — a far cry from a decade earlier when every chart-topper was by a person of colour.

2014 was a bit more diverse, with Cuban-American rapper Pitbull, as well John Legend and Pharrell, all landing number ones (with "Happy" as the year's top song), though there was little impact on the overall hot 100 which, the Phoenix News reported, remained twice as white as it was 10 or 20 years earlier.

billboard hot 100 race

via Vocativ

This infographic got us looking back with curiosity at the top 25 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1995, where we found an outstandingly eclectic mix of songs spanning pop, hip-hop, adult contemporary, dancehall, R&B and blues, performed by artists of various ages, sizes and, yes, colours.

So if you're frustrated with today's top 40, it's not you. Twenty years ago there was room on pop radio for everyone from Seal, TLC, Coolio and Mariah to Blues Traveler, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams and Madonna.

Top 25 Songs of 1995