Happy Birthday Sarah McLachlan! Here Are Her Ten Greatest Songs

Sarah McLachlan was one of the most important musical artists of the 1990’s, and helped usher in a new generation of female singer-songwriters, who were introspective, unapologetic, and vital to the otherwise arid pop landscape of that decade.

Speaking of vital, in 1997 Sarah founded the groundbreaking Lilith Fair, one of the biggest music festivals of the 90’s, which brought together some of the most influential and celebrated female musicians of the era.

Unfortunately, her recording career has been … sporadic. Since 2000, she’s only released two studio albums of new material, but that will change in May when her new album Shine On is released.

Today is Sarah’s 46th birthday, so until that new album is released, let’s take a look back at some classic songs from her discography.


Year: 1998
Hot 100 Peak: #4

Perhaps her most well known song, it was written about the Smashing Pumpkins keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996. This might rank a few places higher if it weren’t for the fact that it’s impossible to listen to it and not think of abused dogs and cats.

9. VOX

Year: 1988
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Her first single, from her debut album Touch, it would a provide a taste of what to expect in the future. Gorgeous and self-assured, but it would be years before I realized she was singing “Oh Why, Oh Why,” and not “Hawaii.”


Year: 2003
Hot 100 Peak: #41

The first single from Afterglow, it was her last appearance on the Hot 100 Chart. It was six years since her last album, and “Fallen” picked up right where she left off with its dreamy, somber landscape.


Year: 1998
Hot 100 Peak: #28

Second single from Surfacing, it would be a hit twice. This original version hit the top 30, and three years later a remixed version would become a top ten hit on the dance chart.


Year: 1995, 1999
Hot 100 Peak: #65, #14

This “In Memoriam” classic was originally featured on the soundtrack to 1995’s The Brothers McMullen, where it was a minor entry on the Hot 100. Four years later, the live version recorded for Mirrorball became a huge hit, and one of her signature songs, reaching #14 and winning her the Grammy for Female Pop Vocal.


Year: 1991
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

From her second album Solace, it was the song that first garnered her major notice outside of Canada. The naked video may have had something to do with it.


Year: 1998
Hot 100 Peak: #3

Her first top ten hit and highest charting single, it spent 23 weeks in the top ten, and earned another Grammy nomination for Female Pop Vocal.


Year: 1997
Hot 100 Peak: #13

Her first Top 40 hit, it won her her first Grammy and catapulted her into superstardom.


Year: 1999
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Written by Randy Newman for Toy Story 2, it received an Oscar nom for Best Original Song, thanks in no small part to Sarah’s heartfelt interpretation. But why is someone always chopping onions when I listen to it?


Year: 1993
Hot 100 Peak: #73

This is not only Sarah’s greatest song, it’s my choice as the greatest pop song of the 90’s. Written about an obsessed fan who would later commit suicide, it shimmers and pulsates with menace and dread, but is also exhilarating and electric. It gives me goosebumps every time.

Okay, your turn! What’s your favorite Sarah song?

80's Pop Culture Expert, Shooting At The Walls Of Heartache.