DAR Music: The 6 Greatest Tony! Toni! Tone! Singles

By @TrueGodImmortal

One of the earliest examples of Neo-Soul, Tony! Toni! Tone! was something special. A cross between the New Jack Swing style artists and more soulful artists when they arrived, they were actually an interesting group to listen to straight out of the gate. Over the years, they evolved, got better, and are revered by many in the genre for their creativity and their different style. Today, we wanted to bring back our look at classic singles as we rank the top singles from this legendary group in order. What song is no. 1? What single is no. 2? Let's take a look at the 6 greatest Tony! Toni! Tone! singles.

6. Whatever You Want (1991)

-I wish I could put "Me And You" and "All I Ask" on this list, but they were not official Tony! Toni! Tone! singles. This single however, was their final single from their sophomore effort The Revival, and it was their most underrated single IMO. With a smooth production leading the way, this is the first single to not feature Raphael Saadiq on the main vocals and the song is led by Dwayne Wiggins. It is a welcome change, and Dwayne has a different sound and style than Raphael that works perfectly with this soft ballad. I actually find myself listening to this single more than the others on the list surprisingly. "Whatever You Want" is an important song in the Tony! Toni! Tone! legacy and easily one of their best singles. It would reach no. 1 on the R&B charts, becoming a smash hit, but it failed to ignite the Billboard 100 the same, which is a big reason why I feel the song is still underrated.

5. Let's Get Down featuring DJ Quik (1996)

-DJ Quik is a hitmaker that doesn't get the full credit that he deserves. Back in 1996, the concept of a DJ Quik and Tony! Toni! Tone! collab seemed out of the box, but in reality, it was a match made in heaven. These two were both creative, extremely talented, and their sounds definitely had similarities to an extent. Both influenced by the breezy West Coast vibe that their hometowns give off, when Quik and the group got together, they would create one of the best songs on the group's often slept on 1996 album House Of Music, which would be their final group effort. The song has a bouncy feel to it, and Quik adds some West Coast rap flavor that takes it up a notch, with a laid back vibe on the verses from Raphael and a very chill yet infectious vibe on the hook as well. Overall, this isn't a single that has the same popularity of the top 3-4, but it is still a huge single in their catalog.

4. Feels Good (1990)

-While this was seen as their breakthrough single, it just misses the top 3. It was one of the biggest New Jack Swing singles that wasn't made by a member of New Edition, as the frenzied production and the cadence of the song inspired dancing and upbeat movement. For the group, this would be one of the few songs in their catalog to really fit this category, but what makes the single so special is how catchy it is. The simplistic hook carries the track, but an added bridge also makes the song more accessible along with a surprise verse from Mopreme Shakur, which has MUCH more significance now than it did back then. The song would be a mega hit for the group, hitting the charts hard, reaching the top 10 of the Billboard 100 and becoming a no. 1 R&B hit.

3. (Lay Your Head On My) Pillow (1994)

-If you're an avid listener, you might think this song is placed a bit too high. Honestly, I think this is a top 3 song in their catalog let alone top 3 single, so you would have a hard time convincing me otherwise. Off their album Sons Of Soul, this is a ballad that is guitar and drum driven, with a beautiful melody and vocals that instantly inspire you to sing along. This is one of the essential quiet storm late night ballad tracks that made 90's R&B so special and the group would always deliver one or two of those on the album. I thought of putting "Slow Wine" on this list, but for this particular album, there was no single or track that could match the sultry vibe of this song. This song would become one of my favorites from the group, but the music video was..... well, it wasn't a video I watched in full. Aside from that, this song was perfection and it managed to hit the charts and become a top 5 R&B hit.

2. It Never Rains (In Southern California) (1991)

-Boasting a music video directed by Lisa Bonet, this single was one of the biggest in their career and in my opinion, the best song off their sophomore album The Revival. The production is super smooth, the vocals are beautifully layered and the song title was debated by many for years. For the record, as the song title says clearly, it is southern California and not sunny California, but I guess it works either way. Still, outside of that, the single is extremely catchy and driven by the hook, which is of course the focal point of the song. Raphael leads the way by vocally carrying it, and the rest of the group manages to keep up on the production side of things. For me, this song seemed to stamp the group as a premier group in the genre. The song would reach the top spot of the R&B charts, though it didn't have nearly the same luck on the Billboard 100, it was still a commercially successful classic.

1. Anniversary (1993)

-The essential single from this legendary group. Their most famous song, their best work, and the single that took on a life of its own as the years passed. I mean, if you think of this group, I'm almost certain your first thought is about this song. People have got married to this song (not sure why), created life to this song, and of course celebrated their years together to this song, and it fits for the beautiful occasion every time. It is rare that you see a musical act hit it out of the park with a song for special occasions, but I can think of a few select artists that managed to accomplish that. With a smooth production and vocals that inspire the listener to sing along and remember every word, the group delivers this gem in an amazing cadence (catchy cadence at that) and takes their status two steps higher. The song would reach the top 10 of the Billboard 100, and become a top 2 R&B hit, another huge feat for the group. This is the biggest piece of their legacy and their greatest song, so naturally this is their greatest single.



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