BootLeg Betty

BetteBack January 1, 1995: The Year In Music

Clovis News Journal
January 1, 1995

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As a year in rock, 1994 really couldn’t get much stranger. We expected posthumous hits from John Lennon with the release of new Beatles material. We didn’t count on posthumous hits from Nirvana.

The signs of weirdness were there from the s ta rt. The moment 1994 kicked off, Michael Jackson was under the cloud of suspicion as a child molester, sitting in a Las Vegas showroom where he and thousands of others had paid the unheard-of price of $1,000 a ticket to hear Barbra Streisand sing.

The $60 and $75 that Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart were charging in ’93 had led the charge. But Babs was the leak that burst the dam, with the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Bette Midler and others hungrily jumping in. Suddenly the choice wasn’t the Eagles or Steely Dan. The choice was the Eagles or fly to Hawaii. The high ticket prices hung around. Jackson’s legal problems didn’t.

Just days into ’94, Jackson and his handlers performed desperate spin control on a life spinning wildly out of control.lt resulted in a multimilliondollar payoff to a 14-year-old boy, scarcely a month after Jackson proclaimed he’d do anything to prove his “total innocence.”

The civil suit went away and the criminal investigation was hamstrung. Public reaction was mixed. Some agreed with Jackson’s attorneys, who said “he is an innocent man who does not intend to have his career and his life destroyed by rumors and innuendos.” Others agreed with one legal expert who dubbed it “ the rich man’s e x e m p t i o n i n a c hi l d * molestation case. What it means is the person who buys
off a minor gets away with it.”

The other big criminal investigation centered on a shotgun, a sad, rambling note and a worn-out 27-year-old body lying undiscovered for days on the floor of a Seattle house. The verdict: Kurt Cobain had committed suicide.

In a macabre twist and a final bit of exploitation, it was later learned that while Cobain’s body was lying there, someone was out running around Seattle trying to run up his credit cards — cards wife Courtney Love already had canceled. They never found out who it was.

While the Woodstock generation sold out its values for another muddy weekend in New York, Pearl Jam members went to Capitol Hill to fight Ticketmaster on behalf of its fans. The band’s canceled tour didn’t stop it from releasing one of the biggest albums of the year, “Vitalogy.”

Music dubbed “alternative” became even more mainstream, with Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots and more taking over the CD racks, magazine covers and airwaves.

What alternative didn’t take over, rap did, ruled by the Southern California squadron of Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G, Dr. Dre, and Coolio.

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