25 Things Everyone Was Talking About 25 Years Ago
From Jeff Bezos founding Amazon to Michael Jackson marrying Elvis Presley’s daughter, here are some of the biggest news, sports and entertainment events that took place in 1994, 25 years ago.
Jan. 6: Nancy Kerrigan attack
Following a practice session for the Olympic trials, American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked outside an ice rink in Detroit. She was hit on her right thigh with a baton by an assailant later identified as Shane Stant. The incident attracted global attention when reports surfaced of an alleged conspiracy planned by rival skater Tonya Harding and her former husband Jeff Gillooly. Over the years, Harding has maintained that she played no part in the attack. Kerrigan went on to win the silver medal at the Olympics.
Jan. 17: Earthquake rattles Los Angeles
Centered in the San Fernando Valley, the deadly Northridge earthquake struck Southern California before dawn, damaging buildings, freeways and other infrastructure and sending up swirls of smoke. The magnitude 6.7 earthquake claimed at least 57 lives and caused widespread damages totaling over $20 billion.
Jan. 25: Bill Clinton delivers first ‘official’ State of the Union speech
Though the U.S. president had already delivered an “address to a Joint Session of Congress” in February 1993, Clinton’s 1994 speech is considered to be his first official State of the Union address. In the speech he called for welfare and health care reforms and a ban on assault weapons.
March 21: ‘Schindler’s List’ sweeps the Oscars
Overcoming rivals such as “The Fugitive,” “The Piano” and “In the Name of the Father,” the World War II thriller directed by Steven Spielberg (pictured) won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Cinematography.
April 5: Kurt Cobain dies
Grunge pioneer and one of the most revered figures in rock history, the Nirvana frontman died by suicide in his Seattle home.
April 22: Richard Nixon dies
The 37th U.S. President Richard Nixon died of a stroke in New York City at the age of 81, ten months after the death of his wife, Pat. Nixon resigned the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974 following the Watergate scandal, the only American president to do so.
April 26: China Airlines Flight 140 crashes, kills 264
Flying in from Taiwan, the flight had begun a smooth descent to land at the Nagoya Airport in Japan when the co-pilot hit a wrong button, sending the plane into a mode unsuitable for landing. The aircraft crashed near the runway, killing 264 of the 271 passengers and crew members.
May 1: Ayrton Senna dies in a crash
While leading the race at the San Marino Grand Prix, the 34-year-old Brazilian racing legend crashed into the Tamburello corner on the seventh lap and succumbed to fatal injuries. Considered one of the greatest of all time, Senna won the world championship in 1988, 1990 and 1991.
May 6: Channel Tunnel is opened
Connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age, the iconic tunnel under the English Channel was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II and then-French President François Mitterrand. Also known as Chunnel, it connected Folkestone, England, with Coquelles, France, covering 31 miles (50 kilometers) in about 35 minutes.
May 10: Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president
One of the most influential figures in the anti-apartheid movement, Mandela was sworn in as the first black president of South Africa on this day. Mandela, who served as a political prisoner for 27 years, contested for African National Congress (ANC) party and achieved a decisive victory in the nation’s first multi-racial parliamentary elections.
May 26: Michael Jackson marries Lisa Marie Presley
After a seven-month engagement, the pop icon married Lisa Marie, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, at a private ceremony in Dominican Republic. Presley filed for divorce in early 1996.
June 17: O.J. Simpson’s infamous ‘White Bronco’ chase
In one of the most bizarre police chases ever, football star O.J. Simpson was captured after a prolonged hunt down the Los Angeles expressway. Simpson, who was charged with the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend, hid inside a white Ford Bronco, driven by his friend and former teammate Al Cowlings, in an attempt to escape arrest. The high-profile chase was extensively covered by the media and witnessed by bystanders who cheered Simpson on as the car passed by.
June 24: ‘The Lion King’ is released
Following a limited release in Mexico and Los Angeles, and a New York premiere, the iconic Disney hit was released on this day. Featuring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones, the movie won two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Music for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
July 3: Pete Sampras wins at Wimbledon
Riding high on his victory at the Australian Open earlier that year, the American tennis icon went on to defeat Goran Ivanišević 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 to win the second Wimbledon title of his career. He would go on to amass a total of 14 Grand Slam titles in his career.
July 5: Jeff Bezos founds Amazon
Working from his basement with the intention of creating an online bookstore, former Wall Street hedge fund executive Jeff Bezos founded Amazon, which he initially named “Cadabra.” He later changed the name to Amazon as it started with the first letter of the alphabet and shared a name with the iconic South American river.
July 6: ‘Forrest Gump’ releases in the U.S.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the heartwarming Tom Hanks-starring comedy drama went on to win six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.
July 17: Brazil wins fourth World Cup
Brazil lifted its fourth FIFA World Cup trophy by defeating Italy 3-2 on penalties in Pasadena, Calif. With this victory, Brazil surpassed Italy and Germany as the tournament’s most successful country. This was also the first time that the U.S. hosted the prestigious tournament.
Aug. 12: Major League Baseball players go on longest strike in history
Protesting a new collective bargaining agreement with the owners, Major League Baseball (MLB) players went on a strike that eventually resulted in the cancellation of the entire season, including the World Series. One of the longest strikes in the sport’s history, it was called off in April 1995, after 232 days. It marked the first time that baseball didn’t see a new champion in 89 years.
Aug. 12-14: Woodstock ’94 takes place
Bob Dylan’s first Woodstock performance since he notably declined an invitation to play at the iconic festival 25 years ago in 1969… An infamous mud brawl started by punk rockers Green Day… An attendance of 350,000… The 1994 Woodstock festival did not fall short of momentous events. Throughout the weekend, spectators braced the muddy grounds to witness performances from iconic artists, such as Sheryl Crow, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Metallica, Aerosmith, Nine Inch Nails, The Cranberries, Salt ‘N Pepa, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Santana and Bob Dylan.
Aug. 29: Oasis releases debut album
Britpop legends Oasis released their first studio album “Definitely Maybe” on this day. Marked by Liam Gallagher’s Lennonesque vocals and brother Noel’s genre-defining lyrics and guitars, the album featured timeless tracks such as “Live Forever,” “Supersonic” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” One of the fastest selling debut albums of all time, it peaked at the top position on the UK Album Charts, staying there for 310 weeks.
Sept. 22: ‘Friends’ makes its debut
“Friends” made its debut on NBC in the fall of 1994. Chronicling the stories of six friends living in New York City, the show ran for ten seasons and went on to win a Golden Globe and several Primetime Emmy Awards.
Oct. 13: Netscape Navigator is launched
Widely accepted as the browser that truly put the World Wide Web on the map, Netscape Navigator was launched on this day. The official press release read, “Netscape is the first Internet tool that lets the average user with a 14.4 kb modem work with the Internet interactively. It’s fast, simple and elegant.”
Oct. 16: Schumacher wins his first world Drivers’ championship
German racer Michael Schumacher won the European Grand Prix to score his eighth title of the season. Then driving for Benetton Ford, he had won the first Drivers’ championship of his career. He would go on to win six more championships – the most by any racer to date.
Nov. 5: George Foreman becomes oldest heavyweight champion
At the age of 45, Foreman defeated 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the tenth round to become boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion. In his cheeky style, Foreman dedicated the win to “all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in jail.”
Dec. 3: PlayStation is launched
One of the most successful video game consoles of all time, Sony launched PlayStation in Japan. With a dual-speed CD-ROM drive, single core CPU, 2 MB of RAM and 1 MB of video RAM, the console went on to become the first of its kind to ship more than 100 million units.