The future of music

55 Best Throwback Songs (Ultimate List)

December 6, 2023
best throwback songs

I’ve picked out the best throwback songs, creating a playlist that takes you on a nostalgic journey through various eras of music.

This article is a time capsule, unlocking memories and emotions with each classic tune.

Table of Contents

Top throwback songs

  • “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem
  • “Trumpets” by Jason Derulo
  • “Whistle” by Flo Rida
  • “Yeah!” by Usher
  • “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
  • “Need You Tonight” by INXS
  • “No Scrubs” by TLC
  • “Party In The U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus
  • “Replay” by Iyaz
  • “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child

1. “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem

“The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem is one of the best songs ever.

It’s among the top 55 songs that have been played on radio stations since 2000 and continue to be popular today.

“The Real Slim Shady” was released as a single for Eminem’s third album, The Marshall Mathers LP, in 2000.

2. “Trumpets” by Jason Derulo

“Trumpets” by Jason Derulo was released in 2013 and is one of the top throwback songs ever written.

It captures an intense, complicated feeling in a short amount of time that only Jason Derulo can provide.

3. “Whistle” by Flo Rida

“Whistle” by Flo Rida is a great example of an overplayed song that you never get sick of. The song has a catchy tune and lyrics that are easy to remember.

This song is so good that it made it onto our list of top 55 throwback songs!

4. “Yeah!” by Usher

Usher’s “Yeah!” is a classic throwback song that always makes me feel good.

The music video for this song has some of the best choreography I’ve ever seen, and Usher’s voice brings it all together.

This song has a lot of nostalgia.

5. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt

No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” is one of the best ‘90s songs about a breakup.

It was released in 1995 and has been played at every high school prom since then.

6. “Need You Tonight” by INXS

In 1987, INXS released a very popular song titled “Need You Tonight”.

The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

7. “No Scrubs” by TLC

No Scrubs” was released in 1999, and the song rose to #1 on the Hot 100 chart and became TLC’s second number-one hit.

To this day, “No Scrubs” remains a popular throwback track for people who want an upbeat jam that reminds them of their youth.

8. “Party In The U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus

“Party in The U.S.A” was released on August 4, 2009. The song was written by Dr. Luke, with Jessie J and Claude Kelly.

It’s a fantastic song that will make you want to dance or sing along with it.

9. “Replay” by Iyaz

“Replay” by Iyaz is a perfect song that will help you remember all of your good times from the past and make new memories with friends.

The lyrics are catchy and talk about how important it is to enjoy life because you never know when your time will be up.

10. “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child is considered a girl group and they’ve released some of the best throwback songs.

“Say My Name” is a song by Destiny’s Child from their 1999 album, The Writing’s on the Wall, it was released as a single.

11. “Wannabe” by Spice Girls

The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” remains one of their most iconic and successful singles, even 20 years after it first came out.

It’s a dance-pop song with a catchy hook that was written by the group as well as Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard.

The song became a hit in 1997 and has been included on many of their greatest hits albums.

12. “Milkshake” by Kelis

Kelis’ “milkshake” brings all the boys to the yard. This 2003 song has a catchy beat and one of those classic lines you’ll never forget.

The song was featured on her album Tasty, which is full of more feel-good songs that have stood the test of time.

13. “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter

With a sad, melodic piano intro and lyrics about how everything can’t be that bad, “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter is one of those songs that is guaranteed to make you feel good even if it’s only for a shorter amount of time.

14. “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” was released in 2004 and was a huge hit.

This song is a great one for reminiscing about that special someone who left your life.

15. “Hey Ya!” by Outkast

Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” is one of the most famous classic throwback songs ever.

It also won Outkast a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2004.

The song was written by Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton (known as Big Boi) who had been friends for over 20 years before meeting each other in high school.

16. “Hot In Herre” by Nelly

Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” is a song that will never go out of style.

Released in 2002, it has been a favourite at sporting events, barbecues, and karaoke nights ever since.

The song was also included on Nelly’s 2002 album 2002 which went platinum.

17. “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” is one of those songs that defines an era.

When you hear it, you remember where you were and what you were doing when the song was first released.

And if it’s not on your list of throwback songs, then maybe it should be.

18. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

“Lose Yourself” is an iconic song from Eminem, one of the most celebrated rappers of all time.

The song received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

It has a strong beat that you can’t help but want to get up and dance to.

19. “Me & U” by Cassie

The song was released as the second single from her debut album America in 2006.

“Me & U” reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart in 2007.

20. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is arguably one of the most popular songs of all time.

The song was released in 1991 and has been covered by countless bands ever since.

21. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison

Mark Morrison had a big hit with “Return of the Mack” in 1996.

The song was featured on Morrison’s album, Return of The Mack (1995), and became a pop music phenomenon.

22. “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley

It’s one of those songs that you can play on repeat and not get sick of.

This is a song that makes you feel good when you need it most, and it has all the ingredients for a great throwback song.

23. “Ride Wit Me” by Nelly

“Ride With Me” by Nelly is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and you can’t help but sing along.

This song is a great reminder of all the good times we had when we were younger, riding with our friends on dirt bikes, four-wheelers, or just plain cruising on our bikes!

24. “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

One of my favourite songs of all time is “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.

I love this song for many reasons, but mainly because it talks about how our lives are not written in stone and that anything can happen.

25. “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé

Beyoncé is one of the biggest artists in the world, and “Crazy in Love” is one of her best songs.

The lyrics are upbeat and happy, and they make me want to dance every time I hear them.

26. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson

It’s hard to believe that a song released in 2015 has had such an immense impact on pop culture, but “Uptown Funk” is undeniably a big hit.

Even if you don’t think you’ll ever be able to get past the opening line right now without bursting into laughter, it’s worth giving this song a try.

27. “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears

Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time” was released in 1998.

The song became an international hit and stayed on top of the charts for almost two years! This throwback song was written by Dr Luke and Max Martin.

28. “Baby” by Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber’s first two albums went platinum and he was nominated for a Grammy.

“Baby” is one of Justin Bieber’s most well-known songs.

The song has a catchy flow that will get stuck in your head for days.

29. “Turn Up the Music” by Chris Brown

“Turn Up The Music” by Chris Brown is a feel-good song about letting loose with your friends and forgetting about what’s going on in your life.

This song will make you want to dance even if it’s just in your living room!

30. “Any Way You Want It” by Journey

A classic song from Journey, “Anyway You Want It” is one of those throwback songs that will always make you smile.

Whether you’re reflecting on a relationship or just remembering your favourite summer vacation, this song will take you back in time.

31. “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani

In 2004, Stefani released her first solo album, Love Angel Music Baby, which was highly influenced by various aspects of hip-hop and dance music.

“Hollaback Girl” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Stefani the first female artist to have three consecutive singles from a debut album.

32. “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal

Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” is one of those songs that we can all relate to.

It has those heartfelt lyrics about love and loss, with a slow tempo that just makes you want to sway back and forth.

33. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” is a great song about not letting life get you down, knowing that someday you’ll be able to dance again.

It’s also a reminder that we can still have fun in our lives and live it up even when we’re faced with an obstacle.

34. “Single Ladies” by Beyonce

Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was a hit at house parties and clubs in 2008.

The song became such a phenomenon that it was used as part of an iconic dance routine in Beyonce’s music video for “Single Ladies”, which is still referenced today.

35. “Mambo No.5” by Lou Bega

Lou Bega’s 1999 song “Mambo No.5” is a pop song with a Latin flair and has become one of the most popular songs of all time, with more than 5 million copies sold in Europe alone.

The addictive chorus will get you up on your feet and swaying in no time at all!

36. “Umbrella” by Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

If you’re looking for a good song to help you remember all of the good times, “Umbrella” by Rihanna feat Jay-Z is a great choice.

The song was released in 2007 and became one of Rihanna’s most popular songs.

37. “Genie In A Bottle” by Christina Aguilera

Released in 1999, “Genie In A Bottle” was a hit single that helped catapult Christina Aguilera into fame.

Aguilera’s debut album, Christina Aguilera, was released on August 24, 1999, and became one of the best-selling albums.

38. “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats

With lyrics like “Everything’s out of control, We can dance, we can dance”, it’s hard not to have a good time.

If you’re feeling down, just turn on this song and get ready for some fun!

39. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” is a great song for reminiscing about high school and college memories.

It will also make you want to dance and sing along with the catchy lyrics and beat.

40. “Stan” by Eminem

Released in 2000, it tells the story of an obsessive fan who commits suicide when he doesn’t hear back from Eminem (one of the greatest white rappers of all time).

It’s a song that has become popular with people who have lost someone and are struggling with their grief.

41. “Waiting For Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez

Nostalgia is always a good feeling and no one captures it better than Jennifer Lopez in her 1999 hit “Waiting For Tonight”.

The song was not only a huge commercial success but would go on to win the Grammy Award.

42. “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol

The lyrics are a little tongue-in-cheek, and there’s always a sense of humour in them.

It was released in 1981, but it still resonates with people today because it talks about all those things we do on our own, like dancing.

43. “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” by  Fall Out Boy

This amazing song was released in 2005 and it quickly became a radio staple.

It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became certified platinum by the RIAA

44. “All-Star” by Smash Mouth

One of the best throwbacks of all time, Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” has been around since 1999 and is often considered one of the most iconic pop-punk songs of all time.

45. “Sk8ter Boi” by Avril Lavigne

It’s no secret that Avril Lavigne is one of the most influential pop stars of the early 2000s.

Avril released her debut single “Sk8er Boi” in 2002 and it quickly became a radio hit.

46. “Maneater” by Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” is one of the best throwback dance songs because it brings back memories of the early 2000s.

It’s a song that everyone can dance to and has a catchy beat to boot.

47. “Africa” by Toto

“Africa” is a 1982 song written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro.

It was the group’s first chart-topper, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on April 22, 1983.

48. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

“Mr. Brightside” is an old throwback song that was released in 2004 by The Killers.

This song is a good alternative to the more upbeat songs of today and will make you nostalgic for the early 2000s.

49. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” is a timeless ballad that was the theme song to James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster, Titanic.

The song was so popular that it became her signature song and still is today.

50. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

Written and sung by Neil Diamond, this song is so ingrained in American culture that it can be heard at sports games, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and everywhere in between.

51. “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas

Listed as one of the best throwbacks, “Boom Boom Pow” is a favourite of many.

The song was released in 2009 and spent eight weeks at the number-one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

52. “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne

“Stacy’s Mom” is a song from the band Fountains of Wayne, and it was released in 2003.

It was a catchy tune that got stuck in your head, which is why it made our list of the 55 best throwback songs.

53. “Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor is one of the best throwback songs out there.

The song was released in 1982 and has made it to the top 55 throwback songs list.

54. “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by The Fugees

In the 90s, it was hard to find a popular radio station that didn’t play this song.

This song is a reminder of simpler times and is one of the best throwback songs that will make you nostalgic.

55. “Toxic” by Britney Spears

Britney Spears “Toxic” was released in 2003 and is one of her most iconic songs to date.

The song has a synth-pop sound to it and uses heavy beats during the verses, which is why it has become such a popular dance song.

Best Throwback Songs – Final Thoughts

If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to relive past memories, put a soundtrack to those memories with the throwback songs mentioned throughout this post.

These songs are classics and can help to bring back old fond memories.

Similar Playlists: 

Best Party Songs

Best Bar Songs

Best Nostalgic Songs

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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