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Published Jul. 5, 2010

So let's get this straight: The Tampa Bay Rays have replaced its free Go-Go's concert this weekend with Vanilla Ice. No singing along to Vacation or We Got the Beat. Instead we'll warble to Ice Ice Baby and ... well, probably also the extended remix of Ice Ice Baby. Ice's catalog isn't deep. Granted, the Go-Go's canceled their entire tour after their bassist severely injured her knee. So the Rays had little choice but to find somebody to fill the hole on Friday. But in this case, Ice does not ease the swelling. It merely inflames it. I maintain Vanilla Ice (or Robert Matthew Van Winkle, as his mother named him) is one of the leading defendants in any "Death of the '80s" tribunal. That's right. He's the Tokyo Rose of rappers. And yet, I can't bring myself to truly hate his signature hit, even though 1990's Ice Ice Baby samples the bass line from my beloved Queen tune Under Pressure. Spin it at a party and people will laugh. But they'll also get on their feet and attempt to shake their well-aged behinds. And when it comes on the radio, you don't exactly leap to change the station, do you? So when you hear Van Winkle wail out "All right stop collaborate and listen!" on Friday night, consider him acquitted of all major charges. Too bad we can't say that about these other five acts and songs from the '90s. (Oh, and in case you're wondering: Who Let the Dogs Out was from 2000. Missed it by THAT much.)

Top 5 painful hits from the '90s

1. MACARENA (Los del Rio): You're cringing already and it's not actually playing! The Spanish flamenco-pop duo of Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz recorded this song in the early '90s, though the U.S. single was a remix by a Miami-based team called the Bayside Boys. Exactly what is "Macarena?" Depends on whom you believe. Los del Rio says it's the name of a flamenco dancer in Venezuela. "La Macarena" also is a town center in Seville, Spain. Others insist it's a name that means "Mother of God." One thing you can't debate is its popularity: Macarena stayed in the Top 100 for 60 weeks.

2. WANNABE (The Spice Girls): Every time you feel bad about how England's team performed in the World Cup, think of that country's biggest contribution to pop music in the 1990s: the Spice Girls. Ooff! What was worse: their silly nicknames - Scary Spice! Posh Spice! - or the fact they shamelessly ripped off the Beatles' flick Hard Day's Night when they made their own film Spice World? Their debut hit Wannabe was an across-the-world No. 1 smash in 1996. The tune's "girl power" message was simple: Value your friendships above your relationships. That being said, their friendship didn't even survive the decade; Geri Halliwell bolted in 1998. With reunion rumors always swirling, this is a song we'll probably have to endure again.

3. RICO SUAVE (Gerardo): With tunes like this, it's no wonder the Ecuadorian rap scene failed to make a bigger splash. This 1991 tune is regarded as the first pop hit to be sung in "Spanglish," a combination of Spanish and English. Though it's widely believed that the title refers to an actual person, translated it roughly means "tasty and smooth." It did achieve the truest sign of success: Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody in 1992 called Taco Grande. Singer Gerardo Mejia might be a one-hit wonder in the music scene, but he did enjoy a prolific career in acting; he played significant roles in the movies Colors and Can't Buy Me Love.

4. THE SIGN (Ace of Base): Five words to live your life by: "Swedish pop: Accept no substitute!" Ace of Base was the ABBA of the '90s, for better or worse. The 1993 tune tells the story of a woman trying to decide where her relationship with a man is going. (Answer: Probably downhill if this is "their song." Pick an Elton John weeper like everyone else.) Nonetheless, it was the biggest hit off the band's Happy Nation album, which spawned two other earworms/No. 1 hits: All That She Wants and Don't Turn Around.

5. BARBIE GIRL (Aqua): You're thinking, "Wait, I don't remember this song." Yes, you do. Ready? "I'm a Barbie girl in the Barbie world / Life in plastic, it's fantastic!" Please don't take out your rage on the author! Instead, blame it on the Scandinavian musicians and DJs known simply as Aqua. And yes, of course the Mattel toy company sued the band, saying the song violated their trademark on Barbie dolls. Aqua countersued, claiming defamation. Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed both suits and said that the song was a parody and protected by the First Amendment. His ruling? "The parties are advised to chill."

This report contains material from and the American Press Institute.

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Top weekend movies

Dollar amounts in millions

1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, $69

2 The Last Airbender, $40.6

3 Toy Story 3, $30.2

Note: Because of the holiday weekend, full results are unavailable.


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Top 5 prime-time TV shows

1 America's Got Talent , Wednesday (NBC)

2 America's Got Talent, Tuesday (NBC)


4 Wipeout (ABC)

5 The Mentalist (CBS)

Source: Nielsen Co., for week ending June 27

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Top 5 iTunes singles

1 Love the Way You Lie, Eminem

2 California Gurls (feat Snoop Dogg), Katie Perry

3 Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore), B.o.B.

4 Billionaire (feat. Bruno Mars), Travie McCoy

5 OMG (feat., Usher

Source: iTunes Music Store

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Top 5 Yahoo search terms in Tampa Bay

1 Tampa Bay shooting

2 NBA draft

3 Adrienne Barbeau

4 Kristanna Loken

5 CBS Big Brother 2010


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