It is astounding how important this year was for music. If any of the remnants of the 80s had crept their way into the 90s, all was quickly overpowered by a marvelous revolution in music. So much of today's music had its origins in this year that it may rival any other year in modern history as being so significant.

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless
Loud and different. Alternative rock owes its livelihood to this album. Kevin Shields' obsession with perfection continues to compel him to not release a follow-up to this masterpiece.

Nirvana: Nevermind
One of those landmark albums where the simple printing of the discs revolutionized the earth. Sure, the Pixies had a few successful releases before this, but this album exposed "grunge rock" and "alternative rock" for the first time to an entire generation.

Pearl Jam: Ten
Not an immediate success, but the continuous exposure of the singles on radio and MTV proved to be substantial. By the time the album became platinum, Eddie Vedder and company had completely changed rock's tone for the decade to come. The success of this album helped to get the band on the cover of Time magazine. A "soundtrack for the 90's."

Primal Scream: Screamadelica
A revelation. This single album exposed dance to the rock genre and brought rock to the dance floors. Perhaps the biggest selling "electronica" album of all time.

Massive Attack: Blue Lines
The beginning of trip-hop (or so the critics called it). Both dark overtones and gospel coincide as if they were meant for one another. The single "Unfinished Sympathy" became a huge hit in the UK. Portishead, Beth Orton, Morcheeba, and Goldie all followed.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
The group's best album. Some may disagree, but Kiedis' rapping throughout the album gave way to the rap-rockers of today.

Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes
Forget the Lilith Fair, forget Alanis Morissette, forget "grrl power." This is where the whole female songwriter movement of the 90s began. Deal with it.

R.E.M.: Out of Time
Some may scoff at this entry, but people underestimate the power "Losing My Religion" had on radio and MTV. Almost all the rock acts you hear on pop radio today are there because of the popularity of this disc. Counting Crows, the Wallflowers, Spin Doctors, Matchbox 20, etc. U2 certainly played a part in introducing the standard rock of the 90s, but R.E.M. capitalized on it. This is where the group gained the fame that they appreciate today.

A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory
Many people dismiss rap and hip-hop as elementary and unimportant when considering much of the substandard stuff out there. And they are right--that is, if you use this album as your standard. This is the album that all rappers hope the replicate, but fail at over and over.

The Orb: The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
How can it be said? Well, here's a way: Without this album, electronica would sound completely different than it does now. There.

Notable Mentions:
The Smashing Pumpkins: Gish
U2: Achtung Baby
Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger
Live: Mental Jewelry

And I'm sure there's more gems out there, but this is definitely the best of the best here. However, this list focuses a great deal on rock and its derivatives. Still, even the biggest skeptic of modern music can see how important this year was.

1991 was more than just a year of MC Hammer and questionable dress. It was the year in which, basically, everything fell apart. I choose to node this year because so many of our present-day nations were born in this very year, and many of the old scores and problems brought to light after the old Soviet order fell remain just as hot today, and will continue to be for some time. I am also noding the popular culture and important events of the year to get a holistic feel of the way people felt during this time. Please do not hesitate to /msg me with comments or criticism. With that said, here is:

The Year 1991

In Pop Culture:

January 16: Serial killer Aileen Wuornos confesses to 6 murders.

March 3: Three LAPD police officers are videotaped beating Rodney King.

March 13: The United States Department of Justice orders Exxon to pay $1 billion in restitution for the Exxon-Valdez oil spill.

March 14: The Birmingham Six are released from prison in the U.K.

June 19: Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellin Cartel, surrenders to authorities in Colombia to avoid extradition. He is confined in a luxurious private prison called La Catedral and continues his operations as usual.

July 22: Jeffrey Dahmer arrested upon the discovery in his home of the remains of 11 men and boys.

July 26: United States actor Pee wee Herman arrested for public masturbation.

August 13: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) released in the United States.

October 16: George Hennard shoots 24 people to death in Killeen, Texas, then kills himself.

Highest-grossing films of 1991 (U.S.):

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

3. Beauty and the Beast

4. The Silence of the Lambs

5. City Slickers

Top of the Charts:

1. Bryan Adams - (Everything I do) I do it for you

2. Michael Jackson - Black or White

3. Roxette - Joyride

4. The Scorpions - Wind of Change

5. R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

Grammy Awards:
(note: the Grammy Awards for this year were actually held in 1992, but the awards are for all of the previous year, 1991)

Record of the Year: Hugh Padgham & Phil Collins - "Another Day in Paradise"

Album of the Year: Quincy Jones - "Back on the Block"

Song of the Year: Julie Gold - "From a Distance" performed by Bette Midler

Best New Artist: Mariah Carey

Academy Awards:
(note: the Academy Awards for this year were actually held in 1992, but the awards are for all of the previous year, 1991)

Best Picture: The Silence of the Lambs

Best Director: Jonathan Demme - The Silence of the Lambs

Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins - The Silence of the Lambs

Best Actress: Jodie Foster - The Silence of the Lambs

Best Supporting Actor: Jack Palance - City Slickers

Best Supporting Actress: Mercedes Ruehl - The Fisher King

Pulitzer Prize:

Fiction: John Updike - Rabbit at Rest

Drama: Neil Simon - Lost in Yonkers

Poetry: Mona Van Duyn - Near Changes

Nobel Prize for Literature:

Nadine Gordimer (of South Africa)

The Booker Prize:

Ben Okri (of Nigeria) - The Famished Road


January 27: The New York Giants defeat the Buffalo Bills to win Super Bowl XXV.

March: Duke University defeats the University of Kansas to win the NCAA men's basketball championship.

July 6 - 28th: Miguel Indurain (of Spain) wins the Tour de France

October 19 - 27: The Minnesota Twins defeat the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series.

November 2: Australia defeats England to win the Rugby World Cup.

November 19: Manchester United defeats Red Star Belgrade to win the UEFA Super Cup

undated: The United States defeats Norway to win the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup.

undated: The Chicago Bulls defeat the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship.

Notable deaths:

(This list is far from complete. See the site in the bibliography below for more)

March 1: Edwin Land (born 1909) - inventor of the Polaroid camera

March 7: Cool Papa Bell (real name James Thomas Bell)(born 1905) - U.S. baseball player, star of the Negro Leagues.

March 20: Alfonso Garcia Robles (born 1911) - Diplomat, Nobel laureate

March 21: Leo Fender (born 1909) - Maker of the eponymous electric guitars

April 5: John Heinz (born 1938) - U.S. Senator (plane crash victim - see disasters, april 5)

May 21: Rajiv Ghandi (born 1944) - Former Prime Minister of India (assassinated)

August 7: Shapour Bakhtiar (born ca.1914) - Former Prime Minister of Iran (assassinated)

August 8: James Irwin (born 1930) - U.S. astronaut (of heart failure)

September 24: Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Seuss Geisel)(born 1904) - Children's author (of cancer)

September 28: Miles Davis (born 1926) - Jazz musician (of pneumonia)

October 11: Redd Fox (real name John Elroy Sanford)(born 1922) - Comedian (of heart failure)

November 24: Eric Carr (real name Paul Charles Caravello)(born 1950) - KISS drummer (of complications from heart cancer)

November 24: Freddie Mercury (real name Farrokh Bulsara)(born 1946) - Lead singer, Queen (of complications from AIDS)

Notable Births:
(This list is far from complete. See the site in the bibliography below for more)

February 17: Bonnie Wright - Actress, Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter series.

April 4: Jamie Lynn Spears - Actress/Singer, sister of Britney Spears

August 16: Evanna Lynch - Actress, played Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In Science, Technology, and Nature:

February 5: Michigan courts bar Dr. Jack Kevorkian from euthanizing patients.

September 19: Otzi the iceman is discovered in the Alps.

October 29: the Galileo probe becomes first probe to visit an asteroid.

undated: Sumio Iijima discovers carbon nanotubes.

Nobel Prizes in Science:

Physics: Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (of France)

Chemistry: Richard Ernst (of Switzerland)

Medicine: Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann (both of Germany)


February 1: A two-plane collision at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) kills 34.

March 3: A plane crash kills 25 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

April 5: A plane crash kills 23 in Brunswick, Georgia.

April 10: A ferry collides with an oil tanker off of Livorno, Italy, killing 140.

April 22: An Earthquake kills 82 in Costa Rica and Panama.

April 26: Dozens of Tornados in Kansas and Oklahoma kill 26.

April 29: A tropical cyclone kills 138,000 in Bangladesh.

April 29: Earthquake in Georgia (the country) kills 100.

May 26: A Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashes near Bangkok, Thailand, killing 223.

June 3: Mount Unzen erupts in Japan, killing 43.

June 15: Mount Pinatubo erupts in the Philippines, killing 300 - 450.

July 11: A Nigerian Airlines plane carrying Muslim pilgrims crashes in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing all 261 on board.

September 3: A Grease fire kills 25 at a food processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina.

September 30: Tornado kills 16 in Itu, Brazil.

October 20: Firestorm in Oakland, California kills 25.

November 5: 7,000 killed in flooding in the Philippines.

December 15: Ferry accident in the Red Sea kills over 450.

In Politics:

January: Soviet forces attempt to intervene in the Latvian independence movement, attacking the Ministry of the Interior in Riga.

January 11 - 13: Soviet forces attempt to intervene in the Lithuanian independence movement, culminating in the forcible seizure of the Vilnius TV tower during which 14 civilians are killed.

January 12: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and the United States Congress approve the use of force to drive the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

January 17: The First Gulf War begins with Operation Desert Storm.

January 26: Civil war in Somalia begins after ousting of dictator Siad Barre.

February 23: General Sunthorn Kongsompong takes power in Thailand by military coup.

March 9: Massive demonstrations held in then-Yugoslavia against the government of Slobodan Milošević, 2 are killed.

March 15: Germany regains complete independence.

March 23: The Rebel United Front leads its first military campaign against the government of Sierra Leone, resulting in civil war.

March 26: The Malian military arrests President Moussa Traoré and suspends the constitution; Amadou Toumani Touré assumes power.

March-April: Iraqi forces suppress Kurdish and Shi'ite rebellions in the north and south, respectively.

April: The revelation of killings by security forces in Togo set off violent demonstrations against the government of Gnassingbe Eyadema.

April 10: Madagascar's Presidential Guard under President Didier Ratsiraka opens fire on a massive crowd of peaceful demonstrators.

May 21: Civil war ends in Ethiopia.

June 12: Boris Yeltsin elected president of the Russian SFSR.

June 25: Croatia declares its independence, resulting in war with Yugoslavia and domestic Serb guerrillas, known as the Croatian War of Independence.

June 25 - July 7: Short armed conflict between Yugoslavia and Slovenia over Slovenian independence, known as the Ten-Day War.

July 1: The Warsaw Pact is officially dissolved.

August 19 - 22: Soviet Communist Party hardliners attempt a coup d'etat against the government of Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup collapses in the face of massive public demonstrations.

September 21 - 30: Iraq tries to make U.N. weapons inspectors leave without their documents, but backs down in the face of U.N. threats.

September 30: Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as president of Haiti and goes into exile, touching off a period of political turmoil in the country lasting for years afterward.

September: The majority ethnic Russian and Ukrainian region of Trans-Dniester tries to separate from the rest of Moldova, erupting in civil war.

September: Georgian troops under president Gamsakhurdia fire upon anti-government protesters.

October 27: Poland holds its first free elections.

October 31: Madagascar's president Didier Ratsiraka agrees to relinquish most of his power in light of public opposition.

November: In Djibouti, civil war erupts between ethnic Afars and the mainly ethnic Issa government.

August - December: Soviet Republics declare independence from the Soviet Union (see below).

December 8: Commonwealth of Independent States established.

December 22: Fighting intensifies in the Georgian capital Tblisi. Georgian civil war begins.

December 26: The Supreme Soviet votes to dissolve the Soviet Union.

December 31: The Soviet Union is officially dissolved.

undated: Negotiations to end Apartheid continue in South Africa

undated: Aung San Suu Kyi (of Burma/Myanmar) wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Countries who declared independence in 1991:

From the Soviet Union:

Georgia (April 9, 1991)

Estonia (August 20, 1991)

Latvia (August 21, 1991)

Russia (August 24, 1991)

Ukraine (August 24, 1991)

Belarus (August 25, 1991)

Moldova (August 27, 1991)

Azerbaijan (August 30, 1991)

Kyrgyzstan (August 31, 1991)

Uzbekistan (September 1, 1991)

Tajikistan (September 9, 1991)

Armenia (September 21, 1991)

Turkmenistan (October 27, 1991)

Chechnya (November 1991) - Russia will ignore this until 1994, the start of the First Chechen War and many subsequent guerrilla conflicts to this day. Chechnya is still not a member of the U.N., nor is it internationally recognized.

Kazakhstan (December 16, 1991)

Lithuania (note: Lithuania had already declared independence on March 11, 1990, but its independence was not recognized by the Soviet Union until September 6, 1991)

From Yugoslavia:

Croatia (June 25, 1991 )

Slovenia (June 25, 1991)

Macedonia (September 8, 1991)

From Georgia:

South Ossetia (November 28, 1991) - The region will continue to be a source of conflict between Georgia and Russia to the present, and is only recognized by Russia (since 2008) and a few other unrecognized countries.

from Moldova:

Trans-Dniester (September) - as yet unrecognized by the international community.

Admitted to the U.N. in 1991:
(note: all of the following were admitted on September 17th)

North Korea (independent since 1948)

South Korea (independent since 1948)

The Marshall Islands (independent since 1986)

Micronesia (independent since 1986)




Countries who ceased to exist in 1991:

The Soviet Union (formally on December 31, 1991)

1990 < - 1991 - > 1992

20th century

The preceding was written for the Node the Ages quest by mauler.


War timeline:

Another war timeline:

Dates of independence:'s "Newest Countries:"

U.N. membership list and dates:

1991 on wikipedia:

List of hit singles:

Science timeline:

Natural disasters timeline:

another disasters timeline:

Highest-grossing films list:

List of people who died in 1991:

List of people born in 1991:

Booker Prize archive:

Pulitzer Prize archive:

Nobel Prize archive:

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