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On This Day in the 90s

Celebrating the news and pop culture of the greatest decade. Feel free to comment with your memories!

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June 23, 1993. Happy 25th anniversary to Sleepless in Seattle! Producers struck box-office gold when they teamed screenwriter/director Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally) with two of the most bankable stars of the 90s: Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Essentially a love letter to the film An Affair to Remember, Ryan and Hanks only shared about two minutes of screen time together. The film also starred Tom Hanks' real-life spouse, Rita Wilson, and the future star of Frasier, David Hyde Pierce. Ephron, Ryan and Hanks teamed up again in 1998's You've Got Mail. The American Film Institute ranks Sleepless in Seattle number 10 on their list of the greatest romantic comedies ever made. #sleeplessinseattle #noraephron #megryan #tomhanks #ritawilson #davidhydepierce #youvegotmail #americanfilminstitute #romanticcomedies #90s #june23

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June 22, 1993. Liz Phair releases her debut album, Exile in Guyville. A landmark in alternative rock, the album is a song-by-song response to the Rolling Stones' famous double album Exile on Main St. Phair considered the Rolling Stones to be the ultimate guy band, but she was also reacting to "Guyvilles" everywhere, especially the male-dominated indie-rock scene she strived to be a part of. The album was unapologetically defiant, sexual, and vulnerable all at once. Many people proclaimed Phair to be the next indie-rock feminist icon, but this was a label she never really asked for or wanted. Phair released two more albums during the 90s, but never achieved the same level of critical or commercial success. Earlier this year, Phair's former label, Matador, released a 25th-anniversary retrospective of Exile in Guyville. Phair is currently working on a double album produced by fellow singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. She has also signed a two-book publishing deal, and plans to release a memoir in 2019. #lizphair #exileinguyville #rollingstones #exileonmainstreet #ryanadams #90s #june22

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RIP Koko the gorilla, 1971-2018. As a kid, I was obsessed with this 1985 issue of National Geographic magazine and a book titled Koko's Kitten. I hope this incredible animal is playing with lots of kitties on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. ūü¶ćūüėļūüĆą #koko #kokothegorilla #allball #nationalgeographic #kokoskitten

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June 19, 1999. Famed novelist Stephen King is struck by a minivan while walking alongside Maine State Route 5 in Lovell. The minivan's driver, Bryan Edwin Smith, was distracted by an unrestrained dog moving in the back of the van. King landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement.¬† His injuries‚ÄĒa collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip‚ÄĒkept him hospitalized for three weeks and left him in enormous pain. Frustrated with his injuries, King even stopped writing for a few years. King's lawyer purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to prevent it from appearing on eBay. The van was later crushed at a junkyard, much to King's disappointment, as he fantasized about smashing it up.¬† Bryan Edwin Smith received a suspended sentence and lost his driver's license. In a creepy twist that seemed to come directly from one of King‚Äôs novels, a year later Smith was found dead at his Maine home in an apparent suicide. Smith had told friends shortly before his death that he could not face another Maine winter. #stephenking #maine #90s #june19

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June 16, 1997. Radiohead releases their third studio album, OK Computer. OK Computer received widespread critical acclaim and is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time. Not only did it represent a shift in the band's style, it led British rock away from "Britpop" towards the melancholic, atmospheric alternative rock that became more prevalent in the next decade. It was also ahead of its time as far as the mood of 21st-century life: the album depicts a world fraught with rampant consumerism, social alienation, and emotional isolation. Thom Yorke said that the starting point for the record was the "incredibly dense and terrifying sound" of Bitches Brew, the 1970 jazz fusion album by Miles Davis. The title OK Computer is taken from the 1978 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series, in which the character Zaphod Beeblebrox speaks the phrase "Okay, computer, I want full manual control now." Radiohead chose "Paranoid Android" as the lead single, despite its unusually long running time and lack of a catchy chorus. Its other singles were "Karma Police", "Lucky", "No Surprises", and "Airbag". In 2015, the Library of Congress included OK Computer in the National Recording Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".  #radiohead #okcomputer #greatalbumsofthe90s #milesdavis #bitchesbrew #hitchhikersguidetothegalaxy #paranoidandroid #karmapolice #nosurprises #90s #june16

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June 15, 1999. The White Stripes release their debut self-titled album. Although these garage rock giants didn't record their breakthrough album until 2001, the band's roots go back to the early 90s, when Jack Gillis and Meg White first met as high school seniors. They married in 1996, with Jack taking Meg's last name. One day, on an impulse, Meg started playing Jack's drum kit, and Jack liked what he heard. They started calling themselves The White Stripes (because Meg loved peppermint candies) and played their first gig at the Gold Dollar in Detroit. Soon they were part of Michigan's underground garage rock scene. Jack and Meg presented themselves as siblings to an unknowing public, which Jack later explained as an attempt to keep the focus off their relationship. They recorded their first album in January of 1999 at Ghetto Recorders and Third Man Studios in Detroit. Looking back on their debut during a 2003 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Jack said, "I still feel we've never topped our first album. It's the most raw, the most powerful, and the most Detroit-sounding record we've made." #whitestripes #thewhitestripes #jackwhite #megwhite #detroit #ghettorecorders #thirdmanrecords #garagerock #guitarplayer #90s #june15

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June 15, 1996. Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald dies at age 79. Known as the "First Lady of Song," Fitzgerald made her singing debut in 1934, winning first place in an amateur contest at Harlem's Apollo Theater. A true collaborator, Fitzgerald recorded and toured with many music legends, including Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra. These partnerships produced some of her best-known songs, such as "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Cheek to Cheek", and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)". Her unique ability to mimic instrumental sounds helped popularize the vocal improvisation of scatting, which became her signature technique. She made her last recording in 1989, and gave her last public performance at Carnegie Hall in 1991. Fitzgerald suffered from diabetes in her later life, which led to numerous complications, including loss of eyesight. In 1993, she had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee. Her funeral was private, and she was buried in Los Angeles. #ellafitzgerald #ella #firstladyofsong #scat #scatting #swing #jazz #apollotheater #harlem #dizzygillespie #louisarmstrong #countbasie #franksinatra #carnegiehall

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June 14, 1998. In the most-watched NBA game in history, the Chicago Bulls win their sixth NBA championship, defeating the Utah Jazz 87-86. Michael Jordan, whose game-winning shot has been immortalized around the world, scored 45 points and was named Finals MVP for an unprecedented sixth time. After the 1998 season, Jordan retired for the second time and the Bulls dynasty broke up. Many of Jordan's contemporaries say that he is the greatest basketball player of all time, as his athletic leaping ability influenced an entire generation of young players. Some people even call him the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Jordan is also known for his product endorsements - he fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. In 2016, President Obama honored Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. #michaeljordan #chicagobulls #utahjazz #GOAT #basketball #NBA #presidentialmedaloffreedom #airjordans #90s #june14

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June 12, 1990. Mariah Carey releases her self-titled debut album. The pop diva has had such a drama-filled career over the last 28 years that it's easy to forget she was still a curly-haired "girl next door" when the song "Vision of Love" was released. Born in Huntington, NY, Carey is of African-American, Afro-Venezuelan, and Irish descent. After high school, she began waitressing in Manhattan and struggled to gain the attention of record labels. Carey's big break came when she accompanied her friend Brenda K. Starr to a record executives' gala. She handed her demo tape to the head of Columbia Records, Tommy Mottola, who listened to it on his way home and signed her immediately. Mottola believed that Carey could be just as successful as Whitney Houston and Madonna, and he was right. "Vision of Love" became one of the most popular and critically praised songs of Carey's career, and she became the first musical act since The Jackson 5 to have her first four singles reach number one. The album finished as the best-selling album in the US in 1991, and Carey won the Grammy for Best New Artist. #mariahcarey #visionoflove #tommymottola #columbiarecords #bestnewartist #90s #june12

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June 11, 1993. Happy 25th anniversary to Jurassic Park! Jurassic Park had a huge impact on filmmaking, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest action/thrillers of all time. George Lucas' company, Industrial Light & Magic, created groundbreaking computer-generated special effects (CGI) and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. Many filmmakers who saw Jurassic Park's special effects realized that their visions, previously thought impossible or too expensive, were now possible. George Lucas started to make the Star Wars prequels; Stanley Kubrick decided to invest in his pet project A.I. Artificial Intelligence, (to which he would later bring Spielberg to direct) and Peter Jackson began to re-explore his childhood love of fantasy films, a path that led him to The Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Jurassic Park grossed over $914 million worldwide in its original theatrical run, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1993 and the highest-grossing film ever at the time, a record held until the release of Titanic (1997). It was followed by three sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001), and Jurassic World (2015). A fifth film, titled Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is scheduled for release this month. #jurassicpark #stevenspielberg #industriallightandmagic #georgelucas #stanleykubrick #peterjackson #dinosaurs #johnwilliams #90s #june11

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June 10, 1994. Pop quiz, hotshot: what film was the surprise box-office hit of the summer of '94, and made Sandra Bullock a star? Speed was released 24 years ago. First-time director Jan de Bont wanted Keanu Reeves for the lead role after seeing him in Point Break. While Speed was in production, Reeves' close friend River Phoenix died. de Bont changed the shooting schedule to work around Reeves and give him scenes that were easier to do. "It got to him emotionally. He became very quiet, and it took him quite a while to work it out by himself and calm down. It scared the hell out of him," de Bont recalled.  Initially, Reeves was nervous about the film's many action sequences, but as shooting progressed, he began doing more of his own stunts. He declined to star in the 1997 sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, which turned out to be a wise decision - it's considered one of the worst sequels of all time. #speed #keanureeves  #sandrabullock #dennishopper #jandebont #90s #actionfilms #june10

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June 9, 1994.  Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC, in a domestic dispute with boyfriend Andre Rison, sets fire to his shoes - a fire which ultimately spreads to the mansion they share and destroys it. Rison was a wide receiver with the Atlanta Falcons at the time. Lopes alleged that Rison had beaten her after a night out. She said that she set fire to his shoes to get back at him, but burning down the house was an accident. Lopes was sentenced to five years probation and therapy at a rehab facility. At the time, TLC was in the middle of recording their second album, CrazySexyCool. Lopes' role on the album had to be reduced because the rehab facility would only release her for a couple of recording sessions. Lopes was never able to shake the incident from her reputation. In 2002, while driving a rented SUV in Honduras, Lopes was killed in a car accident at the age of 30. She was buried in Lithonia, GA. Engraved upon her casket are the lyrics to her portion of TLC's hit single "Waterfalls": "Dreams are hopeless aspirations, in hopes of coming true, believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you."  #lefteye #lisalefteyelopes #TLC #andrerison #waterfalls #90s #june9

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June 9, 1990. Wilson Phillips' single "Hold On" hits number one on the Billboard chart. Sales of Wilson Phillips' self-titled debut album were so huge that they broke a record previously set by The Supremes, making them the best-selling female group of all time (until the Spice Girls came along). Billboard later ranked "Hold On" at #15 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time. The Wilson sisters and Chynna Phillips grew up together in Southern California in the 70s and 80s. The three shared a love of music and songwriting, and developed their own style of vocal harmonies. The group is also known for being the offspring of prominent musicians: Carnie and Wendy Wilson are the daughters of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and Marilyn Rovell of The Honeys, while Phillips is the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas. Wilson Phillips disbanded after the release of their second album in 1992. Chynna Phillips released a solo album, while Carnie Wilson went on to host her own talk show. Wilson Phillips got renewed recognition when "Hold On" was featured in the finale of the 2011 film Bridesmaids. #wilsonphillips #holdon #chynnaphillips #wendywilson #carniewilson #mamasandthepapas #beachboys #bridesmaids #90s #june9

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June 8, 1993. RuPaul releases his debut album, Supermodel of the World. 1993 was a year when grunge and gangsta rap ruled MTV. But then a drag queen named RuPaul burst onto the scene with his hit dance song, "Supermodel (You Better Work)." It brought RuPaul international fame and made him the most influential drag queen on the planet. In 1994, RuPaul became the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign after MAC Cosmetics asked him to be a spokesperson. He also received his own VH1 talk show called "The RuPaul Show". The show discussed topics that were otherwise unheard of in 90s television, such as black empowerment, female empowerment, and misogyny. RuPaul has had continued success as a recording artist, releasing 14 studio albums to date. In 2008, he began producing RuPaul's Drag Race, one of the most popular reality shows on television. RuPaul is noted for his indifference toward the gender-specific pronouns used to address him. He stated in his autobiography: "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me." #rupaul #supermodeloftheworld #youbetterwork #therupaulshow #rupaulsdragrace #maccosmetics #dragqueen #LGBTQ #dance #90s #june8

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June 7, 1994. Stone Temple Pilots release their second album, Purple. Eager to develop a sound different from grunge, STP included elements from other musical genres such as psychedelic rock, country, and blues. The critical response to Purple was more favorable, with Spin magazine calling it a "quantum leap" from the band's first album. It was completed in less than a month and debuted at number one in the US. The radio-friendly "Interstate Love Song" quickly became a big hit, spending a record-setting fifteen weeks atop the album rock tracks chart. Other hits from the album included "Vasoline" and "Big Empty" (the latter also being featured on The Crow soundtrack). The opening of "Lounge Fly" was used as the theme for MTV News Break segments for several years in the mid-90s.  #stonetemplepilots #STP #scottweiland #purple #interstatelovesong #vasoline #bigempty #loungefly #90s #june7

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June 7, 1993. On his 35th birthday, Prince succeeds in totally confusing the public when he announces that he is changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol. Later copyrighted as "Love Symbol #2", the symbol was explained as a combination of the symbols for male (‚ôā) and female (‚ôÄ). Because Prince gave no instructions for its pronunciation, he was called "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince", or simply "The Artist", until 2000. The name change was an act of rebellion against Prince's record label, Warner Bros., which refused to release his enormous backlog of music at a steady pace. After Prince's contract with Warner Bros. expired in 2000, he gave a press conference in which he stated that after being freed from undesirable relationships associated with the name Prince, he would begin using his real name again. Prince continued to use the symbol as a logo and on album artwork, and he played on a Love Symbol-shaped guitar. #prince #theartistformerlyknownasprince #lovesymbol #90s #june7

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June 6, 1998. Happy 20th anniversary to the premiere of Sex and the City! The HBO series that made cosmopolitans and Manolo Blahnik famous was based on Candace Bushnell's 1997 book of the same name. At the time, there weren't many TV shows featuring women over 30 who regularly talked about their sex lives. Sarah Jessica Parker (who had a no-nudity clause in her contract) admitted she was nervous about the show's sexual content, and considered quitting the show after shooting the pilot. New York City itself (the show's "fifth major character") was also a much different place in 1998: the opening credits of the show featured the World Trade Center, online dating wasn't a big thing yet, and Carrie Bradshaw could still smoke in bars and clubs. Sex and the City ran for six seasons and inspired two feature films. A well-publicized feud between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall has scuttled plans for a third film. Earlier this year, Cynthia Nixon announced she was running for governor of New York. #sexandthecity #satc20 #HBO #candacebushnell #sarahjessicaparker #kimcattrall #cynthianixon #kristindavis #manoloblahnik #cosmopolitan #newyorkcity #manhattan #90s #june6

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