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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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July 4, 1995. Foo Fighters release their self-titled debut album. Following the 1994 death of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana disbanded and drummer Dave Grohl began looking for new projects. He wanted to be more than a drummer, so he went into the studio and recorded 15 songs, written and performed all by himself. Grohl hoped to keep his anonymity and release the recordings in a limited run under the title "Foo Fighters." The name was taken from the World War II term "foo fighter", used to refer to unidentified flying objects. Grohl said later: "Had I actually considered this to be a career, I probably would have called it something else, because it's the stupidest fucking band name in the world." The demo tape circulated in the music industry, creating interest among record labels, so Grohl formed a band to support the album. Having heard about the disbanding of Seattle-based rock band Sunny Day Real Estate, Grohl drafted the group's bass player, Nate Mendel, and drummer, William Goldsmith. Grohl asked Pat Smear, who served as a touring guitarist for Nirvana, to join as the group's second guitarist. The single "Big Me" became well known for its music video, which parodied Mentos commercials. The video's success led to many fans throwing Mentos at the band whenever they played the song live. #foofighters #davegrohl #natemendel #williamgoldsmith #patsmear #sunnydayrealestate #bigme #mentos #90s #july4

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July 3, 1996. Independence Day is released nationwide in the US. Its groundbreaking marketing campaign began with a dramatic commercial aired during Super Bowl XXX. The film's subsequent success at the box office resulted in the trend of using Super Bowl air time to kick off advertising campaigns for potential blockbusters. The film was marketed with several taglines, including: "We've always believed we weren't alone. On July 4, we'll wish we were", "Earth. Take a good look. It could be your last", and "Don't make plans for August." Disaster elements portrayed in Independence Day represented a significant turning point for Hollywood blockbuster films: with advancements in CGI special effects, events depicting mass destruction became common in films that soon followed, such as 1998's Armageddon and Deep Impact. The trend continued throughout the 2000s and 2010s, evident in films like The Day After Tomorrow and The Avengers. #independenceday #disasterfilms #armageddon #deepimpact #dayaftertomorrow #avengers #theavengers #billpullman #willsmith #jeffgoldblum #90sblockbusters #90s #july3

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July 2, 1991. Boyz n the Hood premieres in Los Angeles. It was released during a volatile time in Los Angeles - Rodney King had been beaten by the LAPD a few months prior, and the 1992 riots were just around the corner. Rookie director John Singleton was a young film student determined to portray what life was really like in the streets of South Central LA. Singleton wrote the film based on his own adolescence, and events that either happened to him, or people he knew. The role of Doughboy was specifically written for Ice Cube, whom Singleton met while working as an intern at The Arsenio Hall Show. Singleton claims that the other two leads, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Morris Chestnut, were cast simply because they were the first ones who showed up to the casting auditions. Singleton became the first African-American to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Director.  Boyz n the Hood is now considered one of the centerpieces of modern black cinema for its realistic portrayal of life in the inner city. It also introduced a national conversation about inner-city gang violence, a subject that until then had been mostly a local urban issue.  #boyznthehood #johnsingleton #icecube #rodneyking #cubagoodingjr #morrischestnut #90s #july2

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July 1, 1991. Michael Landon succumbs to pancreatic cancer at the age of 54. Born Eugene Orowitz, Landon grew up in New Jersey and got his first starring role as Little Joe Cartwright in the popular TV series Bonanza. The year after Bonanza was canceled, Landon went on to star in his best-known role: Charles Ingalls in the beloved series Little House on the Prairie. Landon served as executive producer, writer, and director of Little House. After producing both Little House and later the Father Murphy TV series, Landon starred in the series Highway to Heaven. Landon was married three times and had nine children. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls as a young girl, said Landon was like a second father to her. She named her son Michael after him. #michaellandon #bonanza #littlejoecartwright #charlesingalls #littlehouseontheprairie #melissagilbert #highwaytoheaven #90s #july1

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July 1, 1991. Terminator 2: Judgment Day premieres. For the sequel to his 1984 low-budget classic, James Cameron decided to go big or go home - and it paid off. Terminator 2 was the highest-grossing film of 1991, and remains the highest-grossing film of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. Cameron waited seven years to make his sequel partially because he was waiting for special effects to catch up to his vision. The film's computer-generated imagery (CGI) breakthroughs include the first use of natural human motion for a computer-generated character, and the first partially computer-generated main character. Linda Hamilton completely transformed herself to reprise her role as Sarah Connor, who is still considered one of the greatest female action characters of all time. The film's massive marketing campaign included Schwarzenegger's appearance in the Guns N' Roses music video for "You Could Be Mine." A sixth Terminator film is scheduled for release in 2019, with Cameron, Schwarzenegger and Hamilton returning. #terminator #theterminator #terminator2 #jamescameron #arnoldschwarzenegger #lindahamilton #sarahconnor #gunsnroses #youcouldbemine #90s #july1

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June 28, 1990. Madonna's smash single "Vogue" is certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of two million copies. To date, it remains Madonna's best-selling physical single in the US. Before Madonna popularized the dance known as "vogueing", it was mostly performed in the underground bars and clubs of NYC's gay scene. The music video, directed by David Fincher, was shot in black-and-white and took stylistic inspiration from the 1920s and 1930s. The video is ranked as one of the greatest of all time in many critic's lists and polls. Of the 16 Hollywood icons which Madonna name-drops in the song, Lauren Bacall was the last to die (Bacall passed away in 2014). #madonna #vogue #davidfincher #strikeapose #laurenbacall #90s #june28

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June 26, 1997. J.K. Rowling publishes the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The best-selling book series in all of history was a true rags-to-riches story. Author Joanne Rowling first got the idea for the story in 1990. She went through some very difficult times while writing Harry Potter, including the death of her mother, a miscarriage, a divorce, and living off welfare. She was even diagnosed with clinical depression and considered suicide. Rowling poured all of these feelings into the Harry Potter series. Twelve publishers rejected the first novel before Bloomsbury agreed to publish it with an initial print run of 1,000 copies. In February 1998, the novel won the British Book Award for Children's Book of the Year. In the United States, Scholastic Inc. won the rights to publish the first book for $105,000. Rowling said that she "nearly died" when she heard the news. Harry Potter is now a global brand worth an estimated $15 billion, and the last four Harry Potter books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history.  The Harry Potter books have also gained recognition for sparking an interest in reading among the young at a time when children were thought to be abandoning books for computers and television. In 2017, Forbes magazine named Rowling the most highly paid author in the world, with earnings of $95 million a year. #jkrowling #harrypotter #harrypotterfan #harrypotterfandom #harrypotterbooks #harrypotterandthephilosophersstone #harrypotterandthesorcerersstone #90s #june26

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June 26, 1992. Starbucks has its initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market. Old folks can still remember a time when Starbucks wasn't on every street corner and it wasn't normal to pay $5 for a cup of coffee. Not only did Starbucks create hype for something consumers didn't even know they wanted, it transformed coffee from a beverage to an entire culture. It was Starbucks who made self-ordering chic. They created a unique atmosphere inside stores that was friendly to both business meetings and informal social gatherings. They even came up with their own language of beverage sizes. The company now offers a variety of products, including sandwiches, bottled water and even CDs. Starbucks was founded in Seattle, WA in 1971, and initially it only sold coffee beans. In 1987, the original owners sold the chain to its current Executive Chairman, Howard Schultz, and it quickly began to expand. At the time of its IPO on the stock market, Starbucks had 140 outlets. It now has a total of 27,339 locations on 6 continents. Some of the methods Starbucks has used to expand their dominant market position are labeled as anti-competitive by critics, including buying out competitors' leases, intentionally operating at a loss, and clustering several locations in a small geographical area (i.e., saturating the market). #starbucks #starbuckscoffee #starbucks☕️ #seattle #howardschultz #coffee #coffeeculture #90s #june26

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June 25, 1996. Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, releases his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. The Brooklyn native first gained attention while touring with Big Daddy Kane. He co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records as an independent label in 1995. After striking a distribution deal with Priority, Jay-Z released his debut album with beats from acclaimed producers such as DJ Premier and Clark Kent, and appearances by The Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown, and others. Reasonable Doubt helped popularize a subgenre of gangsta rap called Mafioso rap, which included imagery of high class, expensive lifestyles–drinking Cristal, driving Lexus automobiles, and living out the plots of films such as Scarface and Carlito's Way. Reasonable Doubt is Jay-Z's lowest-charting album, and none of its promotional singles became radio hits. In spite of this, many hip hop fans view it as Jay-Z's best work, as does Jay-Z himself. The album was later included in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time as No. 248. #jayz #reasonabledoubt #rocafellarecords #priorityrecords #bigdaddykane #djpremier #djclarkkent #notoriousbig #biggie #maryjblige #foxybrown #mafiosorap #90s #june25

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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. 🦍😺🌈 #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—a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip—kept 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’s 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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