A whopping 992 songs have been deemed among pop music's greatest releases since the first "Now That's What I Call Music!" compilation arrived in the United States in October 1998, but it took only one album for the series' popularity to escalate. Vol. 1 peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard chart, and every one since has debuted in the Top 5. By the sixth volume, in April 2001, they began to premiere regularly at No. 1.
Sixteen years later, we're greeted with "Now That's What I Call Music! 50." Our beloved series, currently a product of Universal Music Enterprises, has reached its semicentennial. Boy, did it grow up quickly. Along the way, we've been treated to more Britney Spears, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake songs than Jive Records could comprehend. Some "Now" tracklists hold up more than others, but each album has at least a few lasting gems. We've selected the best (or, in many cases, one of the best) songs from each of the 50 "Now" CDs for your nostalgic listening pleasure: