1994 was a big year in the news and pop culture. We didn’t know it at the time, but 1994 saw the debut of one of the most popular sitcoms ever on TV, and the world’s most valuable brand! 1994 also brought a stunning “fall from grace” for two well-known figures.
Here now are THE TOP 3 OF 1994.
3) FRIENDS – The world first met Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross on September 22, 1994. The half-hour sitcom followed the lives of these six characters in New York City for ten seasons. The show remains a huge hit on streaming services today, even sparking a huge reunion show this past spring. Could we BE any happier watching this show?
2) NELSON MANDELA – South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994 after the end of apartheid. More than 22 million South Africans turned out to cast ballots, and an overwhelming majority chose Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress party to lead the country. Mandela, who spent 27 years as a political prisoner of the South African government, was sworn in as the first Black president of South Africa.
1) AMAZON – Today, we use Amazon.com to purchase everything from clothing to furniture to electronics. But Jeff Bezos founded Amazon from his garage in Bellevue, Washington, on July 5, 1994, as an online marketplace for books. Amazon has since grown into what’s been called “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world,” generating $386 billion dollars in revenue in 2020.
And now, THE MISSES.
3) TONYA HARDING – For much of 1994, America was caught up in a real-life drama centered on the world of figure skating. Nancy Kerrigan was attacked and clubbed in the knee just before the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in January. It was later revealed that Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, orchestrated the attack so Kerrigan would be unable to compete. The world was watching as both women took to the ice in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, with Kerrigan taking Silver and Harding finishing eighth. Harding would end up pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution and the United States Figure Skating Association banned her for life.
2) KURT COBAIN – The Nirvana frontman and one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock was found dead in his Seattle home on April 5, 1994, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, chronic health problems, and a tumultuous relationship with wife Courtney Love, but was often called the spokesman of Generation X. Cobain penned many songs with Nirvana, including “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Come As You Are”, and “Lithium”, and the loss of this music legend dealt a hard blow to many fans.
1) O.J. SIMPSON – Before 1994, O.J. Simpson was “The Juice,” a football legend, movie star, and spokesman for the car rental company Hertz. Then, his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered on June 12, 1994. Suspicions immediately focused on Simpson with reports of previous domestic violence incidents. On June 17, Simpson was charged with two counts of murder and was supposed to turn himself in, but instead, jumped into the backseat of a white Ford Bronco, sparking a low-speed, bizarre police chase that was covered live on televisions across the country. That Ford Bronco chase marked the beginning of the media spectacle that would become the O.J. Simpson trial.