1994 to me was a great year in pop culture and one to remember. For some reason, this always sticks out while remembering the past. It was a year of transition for me as I went from elementary to junior high that year. When I did the 90s show, I would always say that it was the 'greatest year in alternative music'. It pretty much marked the end of grunge rock music (sadly), but it ushered in a change in a new experimental way of music. So many new acts at that time broke out in '94. Beck, the Counting Crows, the Gin Blossoms were becoming big acts that year. It was all capped off with America's new punk revolution when the Offspring and Green Day finally got radio play that year. If you look on any alternative rock chart from the last year, you'll see both bands still putting out music. The Cranberries, Liz Phair and Sheryl Crow were high on the alternative scene as well. It was a great year to listen to the radio, in other words. But sad to say, it wouldn't last that long for some of the alternative acts as they were replaced by pop-punkers and the name 'alternative' would be changed to 'new rock'. By the end of the 90s, the 'alternative' scene would be Limp Bizkit and a bunch of corporate-sounding bands.
It was 15 years ago last week that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead. It pretty much marked the end of an era for grunge rock, but it would live on. While I do think Nirvana is overrated, I do believe Nirvana put out good stuff. I actually remember where I was when I first heard the news. I was vacationing with my folks in Lake of the Ozarks. But I wasn't as shocked, as I knew his lifestyle wasn't all good. I remember previously that he was in a coma after od'ing. I remember seeing the analysis on 60 Minutes that week as well, as pundits worried that teens and college kids would follow him as an icon.
I also remember another prominent figure that passed away that year. John Candy was one of my favorite comedic actors when I was younger. I remember watching the movies Uncle Buck and Summer Rental and seeing his genius shine. He also played small parts and pulled them real well. In fact, when I was little, Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and several SNL alumni would be the ultimate funnymen at the time. Now, we have a frat pack going on in the comedy movie world. Sadly, I don't find some of these guys funny at all, like Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill. Steve Carell and Ben Stiller aren't too bad. But what's sad is that a lot of 16 to 25-year olds probably don't have a clue who John Candy was. In the upcoming Spaceballs blu-ray, there will be a John Candy featurette on there. I hope this is the tribute we've all been waiting for. I still can't believe 1994 was 15 years ago. Where were you in '94?