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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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December 10, 1999. Rick Danko, bassist/vocalist for The Band, dies in his sleep from heart failure at the age of 55. Years of alcoholism and drug addiction contributed to his death. The Ontario native formed The Band along with Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson. It was Danko who found the pink house on Parnassus Lane in Saugerties, New York, where The Band recorded their debut album in 1968. Danko's distinctive tenor voice was featured in songs like "It Makes No Difference" and "When You Awake." In 1994, Danko was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Band. A number of musical artists have cited Danko as an influence, including Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons, Lucinda Williams, Jay Farrar, and Neko Case. #rickdanko #theband #levonhelm #robbierobertson #richardmanuel #garthhudson #musicfrombigpink #itmakesnodifference #whenyouawake #elviscostello #nekocase #jayfarrar #mumfordandsons #lucindawilliams #90s #december10

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December 7, 1990. Edward Scissorhands is released. The role that took Johnny Depp from teen idol to bona-fide movie star was first conceived when director Tim Burton was just a teenager. Burton drew a picture of a thin, solemn man with long blades for fingers; it was a projection of the loneliness and isolation he felt while growing up in suburban California. Edward Scissorhands was also influenced by fictional characters such as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Phantom of the Opera, and Frankenstein's Monster. Both Gary Oldman and Tom Hanks turned down the role. The role of The Inventor was specifically written for horror film legend Vincent Price; it was his final feature role before he died. Winona Ryder was already dating Johnny Depp when she won the role as Edward's love interest. Edward Scissorhands began one of the great director-actor partnerships of modern cinema: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp went on to collaborate in seven more films. #edwardscissorhands #timburton #johnnydepp #vincentprice #winonaryder #90s #december7

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December 5, 1997. Good Will Hunting is released. The film that made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck stars began as a writing assignment for a playwriting class Damon was taking at Harvard. Damon went to his best friend, Affleck, and asked him to develop the screenplay together. Studios balked at the idea of Affleck and Damon in the lead roles. Many studio execs wanted Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio instead. Affleck passed the script to his Chasing Amy director Kevin Smith, who promised to walk the script directly into Harvey Weinstein's office at Miramax. Weinstein read the script, loved it, and agreed to let Damon and Affleck star in the film. Although the story is set in Boston, much of the filming was done at locations in Toronto, with the University of Toronto standing in for the interiors of MIT and Harvard University. Robin Williams' therapist character was based on a synthesis of Damon's mother and Affleck's father. #goodwillhunting #mattdamon #benaffleck #robinwilliams #minniedriver #kevinsmith #harveyweinstein #miramax #toronto #bestoriginalscreenplay

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December 4, 1995. The Beatles release "Free as a Bird", their first single in 25 years. The song was originally composed and recorded in 1977 as a home demo by John Lennon. The remaining Beatles filled in the musical gaps and recorded a track around Lennon's basic song idea. The single was released as part of the promotion for The Beatles Anthology documentary and compilation album. Although critics and fans gave the song mixed reviews, it secured the band at least one Top 40 hit in four different decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s). If you're stumped as to which Beatles song hit the Top 40 in the 1980s, here's a hint: Ferris Bueller. #beatles #johnlennon #paulmccartney #georgeharrison #ringostarr #freeasabird #beatlesanthology #ferrisbueller #90s #december4

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December 3, 1990. In today's "Madonna stirs up a controversy" news, ABC took heat when it aired her infamous music video for the single "Justify My Love". The video aired on ABC's late-night news program Nightline, as part of an interview with the singer on the video's explicit sexual content. The broadcast followed across-the-board bans of the video by MTV and other networks around the world. On the May 11, 1991 episode of Saturday Night Live, Madonna spoofed the music video in a pre-filmed "Wayne's World" segment. #madonna #justifymylove #abc #nightline #saturdaynightlive #waynesworld #mtv #90s #december3

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December 2, 1993. 16 months after escaping a luxurious private prison, 44-year-old drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot to death by Colombian police. His cartel supplied an estimated 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States during the mid-1980s. He was often called "The King of Cocaine" and was the wealthiest criminal in history. While seen as an enemy of the United States and Colombian governments, Escobar was a hero to many in his hometown of Medellín. He was a natural at public relations, and worked hard to cultivate a Robin Hood image among the poor of Colombia. #pabloescobar #medellin #colombia #medellincartel #cocaine #druglord #90s #december2

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December 1, 1996. Sassy Magazine publishes its final issue. Jane Pratt founded this revolutionary teen magazine, which brought the idea of "girl culture" to the mainstream. While other teen magazines were writing about makeup and how to attract boys, Sassy published articles about serious issues facing young women. It also covered indie celebs, books and music. Its audience, which ranged from tweens to twentysomethings, remains obsessed with it to this day. Sassy's alumni include actress Chloë Sevigny, whom the fashion department discovered on the street and hired as an intern. Although Sassy published its final issue in 1996, most readers agree that it died two years earlier, after it was sold to the owners of Teen Magazine. Sassy made being a girl seem vital and important, creating a new youth-centered feminism that still exists today. #sassy #sassymagazine #janepratt #chloesevigny #girlculture #90s #december1

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November 30, 1993. Schindler's List premieres. High schools throughout the U.S. brought students to screenings of this historically significant film. It was based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally, and starred Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. Director Steven Spielberg was unsure if he was mature enough to make a film about the Holocaust, but decided to take on the project when he noticed the media giving significant airtime to Holocaust deniers. The 72-day shoot in Poland was a deeply unsettling experience for everyone involved. Robin Williams even called Spielberg to cheer him up, given the profound lack of humor on set. Spielberg expected the film to flop, so he was shocked when it became a box office success. It won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, and it's often included in lists of the greatest films ever made. #schindlerslist #stevenspielberg #liamneeson #ralphfiennes #benkingsley #holocaust #neveragain #worldwarII #poland #robinwilliams #bestpicture #90s #november30

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November 28, 1994. The world collectively shrugs when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is bludgeoned to death by a fellow inmate in prison. Dahmer committed the rape, murder, and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He was found to be legally sane, and sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment. Dahmer was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, WI. Scarver claimed that prison staff, knowing of his hatred for Dahmer, deliberately left the two men unsupervised so that he could kill him. #jeffreydahmer #serialkillers #90s #november28

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November 25, 1997. Will Smith releases his debut solo album, Big Willie Style. After releasing five albums as part of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Smith turned his focus to acting, starring in films such as Bad Boys and Independence Day. "Men In Black" was the theme song to the film of the same name. Big Willie Style went on to become Smith's most commercially successful album, earning him a number of music awards and nominations.The album also produced the hit singles "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It", "Just the Two of Us" and "Miami". #willsmith #freshprince #bigwilliestyle #meninblack #miami #gettinjiggywitit #justthetwoofus #hiphop #90s #november25

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November 25, 1993. Republican Mary Matalin weds Democrat James Carville in New Orleans. The Romeo and Juliet of the political world made headlines because they served as opposing campaign strategists during the 1992 presidential campaign: Matalin was the campaign director for George H.W. Bush, and Carville was the chief strategist for Bill Clinton's campaign. Carville helped propel Clinton to victory by hammering home the campaign slogan: "It's the economy, stupid." Matalin and Carville are still together and have two daughters. They are both on record as saying they do not talk about politics at home. In May 2016, Matalin announced that she had changed her party registration to Libertarian. #marymatalin #jamescarville #georgehwbush #billclinton #1992election #neworleans #libertarian #90s #politics #november25

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November 24, 1991. Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, dies from AIDS-related complications at the age of 45. He was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Mercury wrote numerous hits for Queen, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Killer Queen", "Somebody to Love", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", and "We Are the Champions". Mercury was born of Parsi descent in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. He grew up there and in India before moving with his family to England in his teens. He formed Queen in 1970 with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Mercury died just one day after publicly confirming that he had the AIDS virus. He is consistently voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. In his suicide note, Kurt Cobain mentioned how much he envied the way Freddie Mercury "seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd." #freddiemercury #queen #brianmay #rogerrtaylor #zanzibar #parsi #bohemianrhapsody #wearethechampions #kurtcobain #90s #november24

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November 23, 1993. Snoop Doggy Dogg releases his debut album, Doggystyle. The Long Beach, CA native was discovered by Dr. Dre and appeared on Dre's first solo album, The Chronic. His association with Dre undoubtedly helped Doggystyle debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 800,000 copies in its first week alone and setting a record for the fastest-selling hip-hop album ever. It produced the hit singles "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" and "Gin and Juice". The distinctive sounds of Doggystyle helped introduce g-funk to a mainstream audience, and brought West Coast hip-hop to prominence in the early 1990s. #snoopdogg #snoopdoggydogg #doggystyle #ginandjuice #drdre #thechronic #gfunk #westcoasthiphop #90s #november23

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November 23, 1993. Ace of Base releases their debut album, The Sign. It was one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, certified nine times platinum in the United States. It was also the first debut album to produce three No. 1 singles on the Billboard Top 40: "All That She Wants", "The Sign" and "Don't Turn Around". Ace of Base is the third most successful Swedish pop group of all time after ABBA and Roxette. A number of musicians and singers cite Ace of Base as a major influence, including Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. #aceofbase #abba #roxette #sweden #swedishpop #thesign #allthatshewants #dontturnaround #90s #november23

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November 22, 1997. Michael Hutchence of INXS is found dead in a Sydney hotel room at age 37. He was a founding member, lead singer and lyricist of Australian rock band INXS from 1977 until his death. INXS experienced huge chart success in the 1980s with songs like "New Sensation", "Never Tear Us Apart", "Devil Inside", and #1 hit, "Need You Tonight". Rock music historian Ian McFarlane said this about Hutchence: "He was the archetypal rock showman. He exuded an overtly sexual, macho cool with his flowing locks, and lithe and exuberant stage movements." His death was reported by the New South Wales Coroner to be the result of suicide while depressed and under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Hutchence was cremated and his ashes scattered in Sydney Harbour. He was survived by his one-year-old daughter with Paula Yates, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. #michaelhutchence #inxs #sydney #australia #paulayates #90s #november22

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November 22, 1995. Martin Scorsese's film Casino is released. It starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. It was based on the nonfiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Scorsese and Pileggi previously collaborated on the 1990 film Goodfellas. The story of the fictional Mafia-run Tangiers Resort was based on the real-life Stardust Resort and Casino in the 1970s. Filming took place at night in the Riviera Casino, with the nearby defunct Landmark Hotel as the entrance to the Tangiers. Sharon Stone's performance was unanimously praised, earning her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. #casino #martinscorsese #nicholaspileggi #goodfellas #stardustcasino #lasvegas #mafia #mob #teamsters #sharonstone #robertdeniro #joepesci #90s #november22

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November 22, 1995. Toy Story is released as the first computer-animated Pixar film. Audiences loved the film's humor, technical innovation and vocal performances by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Many critics consider it to be one of the best animated films ever made. Toy Story-inspired material has run the gamut from toys, video games, theme park attractions, spin-offs, merchandise, and two sequels—Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010)—both of which also garnered massive commercial success and critical acclaim. A third sequel, Toy Story 4, is slated for a 2019 release. #toystory #pixar #computeranimation #tomhanks #timallen #90s #november22

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November 22, 1991. Disney's Beauty and the Beast is released. The score for one of the most beloved animated films of all time was composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Ashman, who also served as the film's executive producer, died of AIDS-related complications eight months before the film's release. The film was dedicated to his memory. It was a huge box office success, grossing $425 million worldwide on a $25 million budget. Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. In 1994, Beauty and the Beast became Disney's first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical. A live-action remake was released in March 2017. #beautyandthebeast #disney #AlanMenken #HowardAshman #90s #broadwaymusicals #november22

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