Hits of the ’90s

Favorite Songs of the Nineties
Fremont (Ed.)

Submitter: I work in public library serving a Florida community with a mix of retirees and young families. I just ran across this book in our collection.   The clash between the title and cover really stopped me. I started wondering if this was easy listening music from the nineties. Then I noticed that any songs I recognized from the cover predated the 1990s. That’s when I realized something that, based on the title, I doubt any of our patrons or librarians would have expected. This book is actually about the 1890s!  Not that there’s anything wrong with period music, but consider that this book is older than I am, it’s maybe time to get a newer song book of turn of the (previous) century music.

Holly: Ha!  Since this was published in the 1970s, just calling it “the nineties” made sense.  The 1890s were the ’90s people would be referring to. Now, with the 1990s  a fading memory, it’s not so obvious.  This is not a bad book for public library collections.  It’s content is fine.  If you can get a new one that differentiates more clearly between 1890s and 1990s, that’s even better!



  1. Well, if they discard it in favor of a newer copy of the same songs, I’d love to have it. I collect old sheet music.

  2. Does it include ‘Smells like teen spirit’ ?

    Admit it : half of the songs in the nineties were more or less ripoffs of ‘Smells like teen spirit’.

    Holy Kate, that’s certainly the decade I disliked the most…

  3. I can understand the impulse to get a newer book that does more justice to the subject and, generally, doesn’t make the library look like it’s underfunded or stuck in the past, but how much has our knowledge of the pop music of the 1890s really changed since the 1970s? Is this book actually likely to be wrong in any meaningful way?

  4. I think this book could be worse. Think of all the “Gay 90’s” references we see. Those always bring the giggles form the kids.

  5. Based on the cover, before I saw the song titles, I figured they meant the 1890s. I think the title is meant to get your attention. In the 1970s it would have and today I think it still will. If the cover design doesn’t alert you then you get to have that little “a ha” moment when you read the song titles.

  6. No one else remembers Madonna’s rendition of “Under the Bamboo Tree”? How about New Kids on the Block doing “Kentucky Babe”?

  7. @Deb: I know I was certainly tappin’ my toes to those Hanson youngsters’ version of “Ta-Ra-Boom-De-Ay.”

  8. Ha! I knew that, sooner or later, something I owned would turn up on this site. Never guessed it would be this one.

  9. I too collect old music and I always scour library sales and used book stores for treasures like this book. It is not out of date!

  10. While a title change would definitely be welcome, no library should EVER toss sheet music (unless it’s falling apart to the point of no return). But of course, I’m a Sweet Adeline and some of these songs are our lifeblood!

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