Imagine you’re walking down a museum exhibit on popular culture from June 1999. Like any good exhibit, this one will inspire both laughter and tears. You’ll see Mike Myers dressed as Austin Powers on the left, and on the right, you’ll see Stephen King getting hit by a car on a Maine road. Venus and Serena Williams exalt their first Grand Slam doubles win on the left. On the right, Oliver Stone sits in his car a little bit drunk, forgetting the hashish in his pocket, as a police officer approaches his car, back lit by blue lights.
This exhibit-like blog post will take you back to June 1999, 15 years ago this month. Why 15 years? Because this year marks our 15th anniversary in business as Pegasus Lighting, and we’re thrilled! Enjoy this latest installment in our 15th anniversary month-by-month pop culture throwback celebration!
1) Napster Changes Everything
The file sharing computer program Napster was launched in June 1999. This is surprising to me because I remember being an enthusiastic college freshman using Napster faithfully as early as September 1999. And so were all my friends. I guess its popularity spread like wildfire, huh? Since this fateful launch, millions of people have shared files with each other over the internet, and, as a result, the music industry has had to redesign itself to remain profitable.
2) The Nation Mourns an Airline Tragedy
Early in the month, American Airlines Flight 1420 crashed near Little Rock, AK. This crash, along with a few others that took place soon before and after, inspired research into the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation on pilot safety.
3) A Whole, Whole Lot of Drug Money
According to Wikipedia, in June 1999, Colombia announced that drug money would now be factored into their gross national product. Colombia was facing a horrible economic recession, and this was one of the desperate tactics they employed to survive the blow.
4) A New Era
In June 1999, George Bush announced his candidacy for the office of President of the United States of America. So much was about to change in our culture during the next 8 years.
5) Lord Stanley’s Cup
A particularly memorable Stanley Cup final game went down. Hockey fans know that the rally cry of the Buffalo Sabres – No goal! – was inspired by this game, in which a player for the Dallas Stars scored a controversial goal that sealed Buffalo’s fate.
6) Fiction and Fact and Automobiles Collide
In June 1999, Stephen King got hit by a car and was flung 14 feet while walking on the shoulder of a road in Maine. What’s the name of that Stephen King book about the car? Oh yeah, Christine. Any connection? You never know. But I’m sure King was thankful Kathy Bates didn’t find him after the accident.
7) The Weird Looking Predecessor of the MacBook Is Born
Designed and marketed as a more accessible, entry-level alternative to the PowerBook, which, if you remember, was that really expensive silver lap top that professional video editors used, the iBook was designed to resemble the very popular iMacs. Remember those colorful and globular things?
8) Yeah, Baybay!
That mildly annoying yet overall charming goofball Austin Powers (Mike Myers’s colorful character) graced the cover of Rolling Stone in June 1999, exuberantly celebrating the sequel to the original Austin Powers blockbuster smash hit. Smashing, baby!
9) Adam Sandler Tones It Down a Little
The film Big Daddy was released in June, and, in it, Adam Sandler showed that he could play characters that do things other than screaming in people’s faces and setting bags of fecal matter ablaze. In Big Daddy he demonstrates his ability to listen to Styx and hang out with a ten year old. Now, that’s artistic evolution.
10) White Stripes, Red Shirts
The universe’s hippest couple, who, of course played in a rock band together, hit the popular scene with their debut album in June 1999. Then, they became insanely famous. And then, thirteen thousand two-piece rock bands, featuring only guitar and drums, were born. I think now, 15 years later, we are finally beginning to see the decline in that questionable trend. Bass matters, people.
11) That Kid from Walking Dead Was Born
Chandler Riggs, that kid from AMC’s The Walking Dead, was born. No one knew his life would involve so much zombieness.
12) Queens of the Court
Venus and Serena Williams, two twin females from a socioeconomically disadvantaged place, won the Grand Slam female doubles event for the first time. They were the second sister team to win a Grand Slam event since 1890. This is the kind of thing that just makes you smile. These are some of the best ever to play the sport.
13) MORE TENNIS!
Pop culture icon Andre Agassi became the first male to win all four Grand Slam events in June 1999. And he proved that you don’t need luscious locks of hair and hot pink shoes to do it. Was no hair Agassi peak Agassi? You be the judge.
14) A Bright, Shining Star Is Finally Recognized
Song writing master and publicly passionate percussionist Phil Collins got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in June 1999, and, in my mind, this is comparable to an angel getting its wings. The man has a voice of gold. Don’t deny it. He invented smoothness. And he can’t even dance (or so he claims).
15) Oliver Stoned?
Maybe you never heard about this, but Oliver Stone, the legendary American film director, screenwriter, and producer of masterpieces such as Platoon, Wall Street, Born of the Fourth of July, and JFK, got arrested for driving under the influence and possession of hashish in Beverly Hills in June 1999. I don’t think he cared very much, though, even if the tabloids did.