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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Brian Meade/Photocall Ireland
9 pop music moments that changed everything back in the 90s 
From Shane Lynch’s dungarees to Jackie’s Army.

WHETHER IT’S THE unforgettable ding of the school bell in …Baby One More Time or Shane Lynch’s brave choice of dungarees on the Late Late – there are certain moments from the nineties that will be forever etched in our brains.

And with festival season in full swing, it’s easy to feel nostalgic. With headliners like Massive Attack and N.E.R.D taking to the stage at Electric Picnic this year, it’s the perfect year to bask in the brilliant music of years gone by.

Here are some of our favourite moments from the decade that brought us boy bands, Clueless, pogs, hammer pants and just a little dose of Y2K bug hysteria.

1. Spice Girls’ video for ‘Wannabe’ hits our screens (1996)

SpiceGirlsVEVO / YouTube

If you were a kid in the nineties, chances are you’ve probably done an impromptu performance of one of their songs to a group of bemused parents. But for good reason – Spice Girls were iconic, and packed to the brim with Girl Power (useful for later in life). This debut single topped the charts in over 20 different countries.

2. Boyzone perform that dance on The Late Late (1993)

anthony c / YouTube

Although they may have confused an unimpressed Gay Byrne (no instruments, you say?), they were Ireland’s self-proclaimed answer to Take That, and emerged with a lot of extremely questionable dancing on national TV. Little did he know, it was the start of a career that would see them have nearly 20 top five singles in the Irish charts.

3. Britney Spears changes the face of pop music (1998)

BritneySpearsVEVO / YouTube

With some heavy lip liner and pigtails, suddenly Britney Spears made our school uniforms seem a lot more fashionable. The video was even filmed in the same school as the one in Grease. Unveiled as a debut single in 1998, the song reached number one in every country it was released in, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.

4. Put ‘Em Under Pressure captures our finest moment (1990)

almery1916 / YouTube

Even if we didn’t qualify this year, the World Cup had us all fondly remembering the days of June 1990 when Packie Bonner, Mick McCarthy and Paul McGrath flew the flag in a way we’ll never forget. And to support them, we were all singing this iconic mix of Horslips’ Dearg Doom, Jack Charlton’s confident gameplan and a heady mix of olé, olé.

5. Riverdance puts Irish dancing on the map (1994)

Riverdance / YouTube

During the decade that we spent dominating the Eurovision, the Point hosted it in 1994 and only a few hundred metres from the Liffey, we made pop culture history. We used our interval for Michael Flatley and Jean Butler to start what became one of the most successful dance productions of all time, which has been seen by over 25 million people.

6. And B*Witched take it global, sort of… (1998)

BwitchedVEVO / YouTube

No matter how you feel about girl bands or Irish pop music, there is no way that you can watch the video for C’est La Vie without a smile. Featuring the twin sisters of Boyzone’s Shane Lynch, the band used the trad-style instrumental to perform a far more achievable version of Irish dancing, which you could even do in dark baggy denim if you liked.

7. Sinead O’Connor lets rip on Saturday Night Live (1992)

discodelirio / YouTube

Last year marked 25 years since Sinead O’Connor performed an acapella version of Bob Marley’s War on Saturday Night Live, producing an image of John Paul II which she shred to pieces, declaring “fight the real enemy”. It was two years after the unforgettable Nothing Compares 2U and a powerful way to use music as political protest.

8. The Macarena changes the way we dance (1995)

Beka Ananidze / YouTube

If you’d been born by 1995, chances are you know Los Del Río’s iconic dance off by heart, and probably still rely on it when things take a turn for the worst on the dance floor. In 2012, it was ranked number 7 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100. In fact, even decades later, it continues to resurface at weddings and parties, and for very good reason.

9. Take That call it quits, supposedly for good (1996)

BeckyB1976 / YouTube

In a moment where you could almost hear teenage hearts breaking around the world, Take That announced their split in February 1996. It followed the band’s loss of Robbie Williams in 1995 (a crazy time for him). Little did we know, they’d be back ten years after their ‘final’ release of How Deep Is Your Love, and we’d welcome them with open arms.

Suddenly feeling nostalgic? Then don’t miss the #ThrowbackStage this year at Electric Picnic, all powered by Electric Ireland. The stage has hosted the likes of Bonnie Tyler, The Vengaboys, Mark McCabe and 5ive, to name a few. To find out more and to be in with a chance to win tickets, keep an eye on Electric Ireland’s Facebook page.

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