20 for 20: 1994 Re-Mastered and Re-Issued

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. A slew of Gen-Xers will re-ignite discussions on Cobain’s  place in pop culture history with owned nostalgia of the unremembered nineties.  Although the death of Kurt Cobain was perhaps the key cultural event of 1994, the year had no shortages of cultural milestones. As it stands, 1994 is the greatest year in pop-culture history. Throughout the year we will be celebrating the 20th anniversaries of some of the greatest albums, films and TV shows of all time. 

On the music front, the list of influential artists who debuted in 1994 is astounding: Jeff Buckley. Beck. Weezer. Green Day. Oasis. At The Drive-In. Notorious B.I.G. Nas. Outkast. 

Other seminal “alternative” albums included Nine Inch Nail’s The Downward Spiral, Soundgarden’s Superunknown and Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. On the other side of the pond,  Oasis’ Definitely Maybe, Blur’s Parklife, Suede’s Dog Man Star, and Pulp’s His ‘n’ Hers planted the Britpop seeds stateside like Johnny Rotten Appleseed. 

New York reclaimed the hip-hop throne as East Coast rap reigned supreme. Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Craig Mack, and the first solo Wu, Method Man, were kickin’ some brand new flava in our ears. 

On the mainstream side, Hootie and the Blowfish and Ace of Base went on to sell a combined google (hey! remember when that was a number?!!) units and were responsible for more herniated discs from used CD store employees since The Great Spin Doctors Purge of ‘92. Interestingly, the success of Ace of Base led first time producer, Max Martin, to go on to produce every terrible popular song for the next twenty years. (Yes, that one. That one too.)  The Dave Matthews Band and Korn also had debuts in 1994, though their Bros Before Brahs Tour never came to fruition. 

The old guard also fought to stay relevant in 1994. Sometimes it worked splendidly: Tom Petty’s solo album Wildflowers is perhaps his most underrated work. Johnny Cash extended his icon status indefinitely by teaming up with Rick Rubin for the first of many albums together on American Recordings. Other times, the chemistry fizzled:  Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performed Led Zeppelin-lite on No Quarter: Unledded and Pink Floyd’s last gasp The Division Bell should’ve remained un-rung. Nonetheless, the live tours that ensued for these two acts provided a chance to see some legends on stage. 

Undoubtedly, the biggest film to come out of 1994 was Pulp Fiction. It changed the game and re-introduced the auteur theory to a new generation. Tarantino became the first “rock star director” and he wore that badge proudly, ooookaaay. Clerks was another game changer. The charge-it-on-the-credit-card-low-budget comedy was a surprise hit and inspired a new crop of DIY filmmakers. The lewd, dialogue-heavy film was so influential that it allowed Kevin Smith to remain relevant for two decades despite continual mediocrity. These two films were instrumental to the rise of Miramax from art-house distributor to a major Hollywood player.

From the indies (Hoop Dreams, Shallow Grave, Spanking the Monkey) to the majors (Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Lion King), 1994 was full of great films. There were plenty of cult classics as well: Reality Bites, The Crow, Natural Born Killers, PCU, Speed, The Professional and the Jim Carrey Trilogy: Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask.

Television saw the debut of Friends and ER on NBC creating the Thursday night “Must See TV” lineup. ABC took bigger risks with the debuts of My So Called Life and The Critic. On MTV, Spike Jonze was everywhere with videos for The Beastie Boys and Weezer, amongst others. Also, the 24-hour news cycle struck gold with Tonya & Nancy & Orenthal James. 

Here, then, are the Top 20 Things Turning 20 This Year:

1. Kurt Cobain’s Death
Nostalgia Rating: Forever 27

2. Pulp Fiction
Nostalgia Rating: Fox Force Five/5

3. Jeff Buckley – Grace
Nostalgia Rating: 8/8 Octaves

4. Beck – Mellow Gold
Nostalgia Rating: 10/10 Non-Dairy Cheez Whiz Ingredients

5. Clerks
Nostalgia Rating: 37/37 Dicks In A Row

6. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
Nostalgia Rating: Definitely 10. Maybe 9.

7. Weezer – (The Blue Album)
Nostalgia Rating: Wrestling Jimmy And Pinning Him For A 3-Count

8. Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
Nostalgia Rating: C-Notes By The Layers

9. Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Nostalgia Rating: 10 Joints/1 Dimebag

10. Nirvana – Unplugged in New York
Nostalgia Rating: 10/10 Harp Tuning Roadies

11. NIN – The Downward Spiral
Nostalgia Rating: 10…9…8…7…6…

12. Green Day – Dookie
Nostalgia Rating: Tré/Tré Tré Cools

13. The Shawshank Redemption
Nostalgia Rating: Rita Hayworth’s 36-24-36

14. Soundgarden – Superunkown
Nostalgia Rating: 2/2 Spoons

15. Reality Bites
Nostalgia Rating: Just One Kiss/Just One Fuck

16. The Awesome Mix-Tapes That Were The Soundtracks of ’94: Reality Bites, Pulp Fiction, The Crow
Nostalgia Rating: 20/20 Vision Lisa Loeb Cat-Eye Glasses

17. My So Called Life
Nostalgia Rating: 987/1000 Claire Dane Tears

18. Johnny Cash – American Recordings
Nostalgia Rating: 2/2 Delia Bullets

19. Forrest Gump
Nostalgia Rating: 40/45 Open Bus Seats 

20. Friends
Nostalgia Rating: 2nd Gear

Written by Fernando Martinez


On April 19th, Record Store Day, Third Man Records will present Jack White recording the World's Fastest Released Record, studio-to-store, in the history of mankind. 

You heard correctly. First thing in the morning, Jack White will take the stage in Third Man's blue room and record direct-to-acetate what will serve as the limited edition version of his next single, a live rendition of the title track from his upcoming LP Lazaretto. The masters will be rushed over to United Record Pressing who will immediately begin pressing 45s. The sleeves will be printed from pictures taken at the show. The finished records will be whisked back to Third Man to sell to awaiting fans. All in the same day. All in a matter of mere hours. As long as there are fans in line waiting to buy the single, United will continue to press and deliver them to Third Man to sell. Even if it takes all day.

In addition, Whirlwind Heat will appear at Third Man to play their first live show since 2006 (and likely their last ever), as their TMR classic Do Rabbits Wonder? LP is reissued on a variety of colored vinyl for Record Store Day.

Plus a great selection of local vendors will be on hand to keep everyone well-fed and refreshed... and there will, as always, be some surprises.

Tickets for this whole day - "Ultra Tickets" - are extremely limited and will be available exclusively through The Third Man Records Vault to Platinum Members. Ultra Ticket holders will get to watch Jack White live recording his World's Fastest Record, Whirlwind Heat's afternoon performance, and will receive copies of both The World's Fastest Record 7" and the Whirlwind Heat Record Store Day LP release--all without having to wait in line! Vault Platinum members who are ticket holders need only show up, see Jack White play, hang out for a bit and eat, watch Whirlwind Heat (last show EVER??) and then, as they leave, pick up their bag with both RSD releases. No lines. No stress.

For those who can't score tickets, The World's Fastest Record will be made available for sale from the front of Third Man Records as soon as copies are pressed. Anybody who shows up that day during business hours wanting to purchase a copy will get one. Third Man promises to deliver until all customers are satisfied (one per customer, obviously!). The World's Fastest Record will only be available at Third Man Records on Record Store Day. One time only!

Ultra Tickets for Record Store Day will be available via The Vault Pre-Sale ticket store at 3pm CT today, Thursday, April 3rd. NOT A VAULT MEMBER? SIGN UP HERE: http://thirdmanstore.com/vault/vault-subscriptions/tmr-vault-platinum-subscription 

10am - Jack White recording World's Fastest Record (limited edition "Lazaretto" 7") and live show 
2pm - Whirlwind Heat Live 
4pm - Collect your RSD exclusives on your way out of the venue and enjoy your evening!