The Golden Year of 1995

The Golden Year of 1995

Twenty years ago, the world was a different place.

Bill Clinton was finishing up his first term in office as the Bosnian War escalated, boiled over and ended in a peace treaty. O.J. Simpson was found innocent by a jury of his peers, and 168 were killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing.

In sports the 49ers beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl, the Braves won the World Series, the Rockets took the NBA Finals, and the Devils swept the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, European football was changed to its core when a court ruled that clubs in the EU can sign foreign players who are members of other EU states, while players can freely transfer at the end of their contracts.

Microsoft released the creatively-named Windows 95 operating system, JavaScript brought static web browsers to life, and a technology called the “digital video disc” – a.k.a. DVD – was developed as the format to soon make your precious VHS collection obsolete.

Forest Gump won the Academy Award for Best Picture, while Braveheart, Philadelphia, The Usual Suspects also had critics raving. In television, viewers said goodbye to Northern Exposure but hello to MADtv.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors (in Cleveland?), and the sad loss of Jerry Garcia led to the dissolution of the Grateful Dead, at least temporarily. At the Grammys Tony Bennett won Album of the Year for his MTV Unplugged set, and Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” took Record of the Year.

More importantly, what a year it was for new music!

To sum up 1995 in just three words: BritpopBristol, and Post-grunge.

In London and Manchester, respectively, Blur and Oasis began competing for chart dominance in what the press dubbed “The Battle of Britpop,” with Pulp and Supergrass right on their tails. Less visibly, but just as vitally, the Bristol underground scene came into its own thanks in no small part to Tricky, Massive Attack, and Leftfield.

On both sides of the Atlantic, with the world still reeling from Kurt Cobain’s 1994 suicide, post-grunge was ascending to eminence with a landslide of artists that ranged from Alice in Chains and Mad Season to Alanis Morissette, Collective Soul and Dave Grohl’s then-new Foo Fighters.

Outside the trappings of particular scenes, 1995 marked the birth of legendary albums including Radiohead’s The Bends, Pavement’s Wowee Zowee, Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Rancid’s …And Out Come the Wolves, The Flaming Lips’ Clouds Taste Metallic, Mobb Deep’s The Infamous, and D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar.

To take you back down memory lane, or perhaps to appreciate a grand year for the first time, enjoy our playlist of vintage ’95 goodies. Rather than replicate the Billboard charts, we opted to handpick tracks and albums that have stood up to the test of time and proved themselves still relevant after 20 years.

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