A ban was lifted on anti apartheid parties and Nelson Mandela walked free after 27 years in prison. Anti Poll Tax demonstrations ended in riots and Margaret Thatcher resigned from Number Ten. John Major became the youngest Prime Minister this century at the age of 47. French and English Channel tunnellers celebrated when they met up in the middle.

The World Cup took place in Italy and the Three Tenors performed in Rome and made everyone familiar with Puccini's Nessum Dorma. Homer Simpson arrived on our TV sets, along with his wife and children and Supermodels refused to get out of bed for less than $10,000.

The OECD warned that UK economic growth will drop to 1.4% next year, its lowest level since 1992. It predicted a "significant down swing" as both consumer demand and investment are hit by the credit crunch, but advised against a cut in interest rates.


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An era ended when the Soviet Union collapsed on December 31, 1991. The confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union defined the Cold War period, while the collapse of Europe framed that confrontation. After World War II, the Soviet and American armies occupied Europe.

Both towered over the remnants of Europe's forces. The collapse of the European imperial system, the emergence of new states and a struggle between the Soviets and Americans for domination and influence also defined the confrontation. There were, of course, many other aspects and phases of the confrontation, but in the end, the Cold War was a struggle built on Europe's decline.

Many shifts in the international system accompanied the end of the Cold War. In fact, 1991 was an extraordinary and defining year. The Japanese economic miracle ended. China after Tiananmen Square inherited Japan's place as a rapidly growing, export-based economy, one defined by the continued pre-eminence of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Maastricht Treaty was formulated, creating the structure of the subsequent European Union. A vast coalition dominated by the United States reversed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Three things defined the post-Cold War world. The first was US power. The second was the rise of China as the centre of global industrial growth based on low wages.

The third was the re-emergence of Europe as a massive, integrated economic power. Meanwhile, Russia, the main remnant of the Soviet Union, reeled while Japan shifted to a dramatically different economic mode.



The Maastricht Treaty

In this new era, Europe is reeling economically and is divided politically. The idea of Europe codified in Maastricht no longer defines Europe. Like the Japanese economic miracle before it, the Chinese economic miracle is drawing to a close and Beijing is beginning to examine its military options. The United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan and reconsidering the relationship between global pre-eminence and global omnipotence. Nothing is as it was in 1991.

Europe primarily defined itself as an economic power, with sovereignty largely retained by its members but shaped by the rule of the European Union. Europe tried to have it all: economic integration and individual states. But now this untenable idea has reached its end and Europe is fragmenting. One region, including Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, has low unemployment. The other region on the periphery has high or extraordinarily high unemployment.

Germany wants to retain the European Union to protect German trade interests and because Berlin properly fears the political consequences of a fragmented Europe. But as the creditor of last resort, Germany also wants to control the economic behaviour of the EU nation-states. Berlin does not want to let off the European states by simply bailing them out. If it bails them out, it must control their budgets. But the member states do not want to cede sovereignty to a German-dominated EU apparatus in exchange for a bailout. In the indebted peripheral region, Cyprus has been treated with particular economic savagery as part of the bailout process.

Certainly, the Cypriots acted irresponsibly. But that label applies to all of the EU members, including Germany, who created an economic plant so vast that it could not begin to consume what it produces " making the country utterly dependent on the willingness of others to buy German goods. There are thus many kinds of irresponsibility. How the European Union treats irresponsibility depends upon the power of the nation in question. Cyprus, small and marginal, has been crushed while larger nations receive more favourable treatment despite their own irresponsibility. It has been said by many Europeans that Cyprus should never have been admitted to the European Union.

That might be true, but it was admitted that during the time of European hubris when it was felt that mere EU membership would redeem any nation. Now, Europe can no longer afford pride, and it is every nation for itself. Cyprus set the precedent that the weak will be crushed. It serves as a lesson to other weakening nations, a lesson that over time will transform the European idea of integration and sovereignty. The price of integration for the weak is high, and all of Europe is weak in some way. In such an environment, sovereignty becomes sanctuary.

It is interesting to watch Hungary ignore the European Union as Budapest reconstructs its political system to be more sovereign " and more authoritarian " in the wider storm raging around it. Authoritarian nationalism is an old European cure-all, one that is re-emerging, since no one wants to be the next Cyprus. I have already said much about China, having argued for several years that China's economy couldn't possibly continue to expand at the same rate. Leaving aside all the specific arguments, extraordinarily rapid growth in an export-oriented economy requires economic health among its customers.

It is nice to imagine expanded domestic demand, but in a country as impoverished as China, increasing demand requires revolutionizing life in the interior. China has tried this many times. It has never worked, and in any case China certainly couldn't make it work in the time needed. Instead, Beijing is maintaining growth by slashing profit margins on exports. What growth exists is neither what it used to be nor anywhere near as profitable. That sort of growth in Japan undermined financial viability as money was lent to companies to continue exporting and employing people " money that would never be repaid. It is interesting to recall the extravagant claims about the future of Japan in the 1980s.

Awestruck by growth rates, Westerners did not see the hollowing out of the financial system as growth rates were sustained by cutting prices and profits. Japan's miracle seemed to be eternal. It wasn't, and neither is China's. And China has a problem that Japan didn't: a billion impoverished people. Japan exists, but behaves differently than it did before; the same is happening to China. Both Europe and China thought about the world in the post-Cold War period similarly.

Each believed that geopolitical questions and even questions of domestic politics could be suppressed and sometimes even ignored. They believed this because they both thought they had entered a period of permanent prosperity. In fact 1991-2008 was a period of extraordinary prosperity, one that both Europe and China simply assumed would never end and one whose prosperity would moot geopolitics and politics. Periods of prosperity, of course, always alternate with periods of austerity, and now history has caught up with Europe and China.

Europe, which had wanted union and sovereignty, is confronting the political realities of EU unwillingness to make the fundamental and difficult decisions on what union really meant. For its part, China wanted to have a free market and a communist regime in a region it would dominate economically. Its economic climax has left it with the question of whether the regime can survive in an uncontrolled economy, and what its regional power would look like if it weren't prosperous. Asianaffairs Articles.


The 1990s were indeed a special decade. The Nineties saw the beginnings of the World Wide Web, originating at CERN. Email becomes popular. The Soviet Union dissolved. Living standards in East Asia and Europe generally improved.

The Cold War ends. Iraqi forces invade Kuwait. A UN coalition force led by the US was sent to the Persian Gulf, and aerial bombing of Iraq began. The Kosovo War took place. The Ethiopian Civil War ends. Dolly, a sheep, is cloned. The Global Positioning System GPS becomes fully operational. Genetically engineered crops are developed for commercial use. Intel develops the Pentium processor.

The Java programming language is created. Microsoft released Windows 95. In Los Angeles, riots occur after the police brutality case involving Rodney King. Great Britain hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to China. East Timor breaks away from Indonesian control. US president Bill Clinton was involved in the Lewinsky scandal. Dogme 95 becomes an important artistic movement in European film.

Teen soap Beverly Hills 90210 has its long run. Baywatch becomes the most watched show in history. On MTV, reality television makes its beginning. Nelson Mandela is elected president of South Africa. Germany was reunified. The prediction of computer bug Y2K spreads fear.


Rave


To compare the "Rave" scene in the 90s to the "Hippie" movement is a misnomer. First of all, the Hippie movement had a definite political motive…therefore it was easy to understand. The motive, of course…end the Vietnam War. In the meantime, of course...get as fucked up as you could, while having free-love sex with as many partners as you could physically handle.

The Rave scene, however, is much harder to pinpoint a motive to. Many have believed that is because there wasn't one- making it not even classifiable as a "movement" at all. This couldn't be further from the truth-it's just hard for anthropologists to understand that the motive was "SIMPLY MUSIC."

This single fact puts the ‘Rave" movement closer to the early 20th century American Jazz movement- than the hippies. Folks had a hard time understanding jazz, too- provoking Louie Armstrong to his famous quote, "If you have to ask- you'll never know." Certainly, this is also true for the "Rave" scene.


Rodney King riots


The Los Angeles Riots of 1992, also known as the Rodney King uprising or the Rodney King riots, were sparked on April 29, 1992 when a jury acquitted four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King following a high-speed pursuit. Thousands of people in the Los Angeles area rioted over the six days following the verdict. Widespread looting, assault, arson and murder occurred, and property damages totaled US$1 billion.

Many of the crimes were racially motivated or perpetrated. In all, 53 people died during the riots. In addition to the immediate trigger of the verdict, many other factors were cited as reasons for the unrest, including extremely high unemployment among residents of South Central Los Angeles, which had been hit very hard by the nation-wide recession.

A a long-standing perception that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) engaged in racial profiling and used excessive force, subsequently supported by the Christopher Commission, an investigation led by Warren Christopher (who would become Secretary of State the following year under President Bill Clinton); and specific anger over the sentence given to a Korean American shop-owner for the murder of Latasha Harlins, an African American girl.

On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was tackled, tasered, and heavily beaten with clubs, by four L.A.P.D. officers. The incident, without the first few minutes where police claim King was violently resisting arrest, was captured on video by a personal camera, the Argentine George Holliday, from his apartment in the vicinity. The footage of King being beaten by police officers while lying on the ground became an international media sensation and a rallying point for activists in Los Angeles and around the United States.


Mae C. Jemison


Mae C. Jemison blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, September 12, 1992, the first woman of colour to go into space. This historic event was only another in a series of accomplishments for this dynamic African-American women.

Dr. Jemison was Science Mission Specialist (a NASA first) on the STS-47 Space lab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission. She conducted experiments in life sciences, material sciences, and was co-investigator in the Bone Cell Research experiment.

Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA in March 1993. Chemical engineer, scientist, physician, teacher and astronaut, she has a wide range of experience in technology, engineering, and medical research. In addition to her extensive background in science, she is well-versed in African and African-American Studies and is trained in dance and choreography.


Waco Massacre


The Waco Siege (also known as the Waco Massacre ) took place on February 28, 1993 when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located nine miles (14 km) east-northeast of Waco, Texas. An exchange of gunfire resulted in the deaths of four agents and six Davidians

A subsequent 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the compound. Seventy-six people (24 of them British nationals) died in the fire, including 21 children and two pregnant women, along with Davidian leader Vernon Wayne Howell, better known as David Koresh.

After the ceasefire, the Davidians, who still had ample ammunition, allowed the dead and wounded to be removed and held their fire during the ATF retreat. ATF agents Steve Willis, Robert Williams, Todd McKeehan and Conway LeBleu were killed during the raid.

Another 16 were wounded. Surviving Davidians claim that some ATF deaths and casualties were caused by 'friendly fire'. The Davidians killed were Winston Blake, Peter Gent, Peter Hipsman, Perry Jones and Jaydean Wendel. Michael Schroeder was shot dead by ATF agents who alleged he fired a pistol at agents as he attempted to reenter the compound around 5 p.m. with Woodrow Kendrick and Norman Allison.

His wife claims that he was merely returning from work and had not participated in the day's earlier altercation." The local sheriff, in audiotapes broadcast after the incident, said he was not apprised of the raid. Alan A. Stone's report states that the Davidians didn't ambush the ATF, that they "apparently did not maximize the kill of ATF agents" and that they were "willing to kill but not cold-blooded killers". It explains that they were rather "desperate religious fanatics expecting an apocalyptic ending, in which they were destined to die defending their sacred ground and destined to achieve salvation."


1997: IRA declares ceasefire


1997: IRA declares ceasefire The IRA has announced its second ceasefire in three years starting at noon tomorrow. It follows a statement by republican political party Sinn Fein last night urging the IRA to call a truce, but the speed of response has surprised politicians. Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam MP will monitor IRA activity over the next six weeks to decide whether Sinn Fein will be admitted to the all-party peace talks scheduled for 15 September.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he supported a ceasefire because of a "commitment by the two governments (UK and Republic of Ireland) to inclusive peace talks". British Prime Minister Tony Blair had underlined this resolve by making his first big speech as head of the new government from Belfast on 16 May. In June he set out the conditions for Sinn Fein's inclusion in the all-party talks in a speech to the Commons. He offered a clear timetable for talks - to be completed by May 1998 - within six weeks of a ceasefire.


The Queen and France's President Francois Mitterrand have formally opened the Channel Tunnel


The Queen and France's President Francois Mitterrand have formally opened the Channel Tunnel during two elaborate ceremonies in France and Britain. After travelling through the tunnel, which took eight years and billions of pounds to build, the Queen said it was one of the world's great technological achievements. The tunnel is the first land link between Britain and Europe since the last Ice Age about 8,000 years ago.

The first leg of the Queen's journey took her from London's Waterloo station through the tunnel by high-speed Eurostar passenger train. She arrived at Calais at the same time as the President Mitterrand's train which had travelled from Paris' Gard du Nord via Lille.

The two locomotives met nose to nose - a computer that prevents two trains travelling on the same track was switched off for the occasion. The two heads of state cut red, white and blue ribbons simultaneously to the sound of their respective national anthems played by the band of the French Republican Guard.

They were accompanied by their Prime Ministers John Major and Edouard Balladur and other government ministers to the Eurotunnel terminus. Eurostar will not start carrying passengers until July at the earliest and private cars will have to wait until October. After lunch, the Queen and President Mitterrand took the royal Rolls-Royce on Le Shuttle for the 35-minute trip to Folkestone.

There was a similar ribbon-cutting ceremony on English soil. Among those present were joint Eurotunnel chairmen Sir Alastair Morton and André Bénard as well as Frenchman Philippe Cozette, who drilled the hole that first joined the two ends of the tunnel in December 1990. Behind today's celebrations lies the reality that the tunnel has run up huge debts. It cost £10bn to build, more than double the original forecast in 1987 - and there are serious doubts about its long-term financial viability.


1996, Thomas Hamilton


On March 13, 1996, Thomas Hamilton, 43, left his home at 7 Kent Road in Dunblane, Scotland, with only one thing in mind -- murder. At about 9:30 a.m., he drove to the Dunblane Primary School with a pair of pliers, four handguns and more than 700 rounds of ammunition. Once there, he cut the telephone wires on a nearby pole and then proceeded with weapons in hand to a side entrance of the school.

Hamilton burst into the assembly hall, where a class of 5- and 6-year-old children was having gym lessons and opened fire. He first shot at several of the teachers. Hamilton then turned his guns on the frightened children and shot at them as they tried to scramble to safety under chairs and inside closets.

Screams echoed through the gymnasium as tiny bodies sunk to the floor in pools of blood. Hamilton momentarily stepped outside the gym into a hallway where there were other classrooms and open fired again. Several more people were struck down before Hamilton returned to the gym and began shooting again. He then put the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.

He died instantaneously, leaving behind a ghastly trail of death and devastation. The brutal rampage left 17 people murdered, including one teacher and 16 children. Another 17 would survive the horrifying incident but be haunted with nightmares for the rest of their lives. The sleepy, rural town was forever changed by the horrors of that day.

It was considered one of the deadliest massacres in recent history. Families of the victims and community residents were shocked by the senseless slaughter that claimed so many innocent lives and scarred the survivors, physically and emotionally. According to John Smith's March 1996 article for The People, of the thousands of cards sent to the school to commemorate those who had died, one best described what was on most people's minds, "Why them! Why Them!" Unfortunately, the only one who could answer the question was dead.

On the morning of Wednesday 13 March 1996, Thomas Hamilton was witnessed scraping ice off his van at approximately 8:15 am outside his home at Kent Road in Stirling.[2] He left a short time afterwards and drove approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) north[3] to Dunblane in his white van. He arrived on the grounds of Dunblane Primary School at around 9:30 am and parked his van near to a telegraph pole in the car park of the school.

Hamilton severed the cables at the bottom of the telegraph pole, which served nearby houses, with a set of pliers before making his way across the car park towards the school buildings. Hamilton headed towards the north-west of the school to a door near toilets and the school gymnasium. After gaining entry he made his way to the gymnasium armed with four legally held handguns; two 9mm Browning HP pistols and two Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolvers.

He was also carrying 743 cartridges of ammunition. In the gym was a class of twenty-eight Primary 1 pupils preparing for a P.E. lesson in the presence of three adult members of staff. Before entering the gymnasium, it is believed he fired two shots into the stage of the assembly hall and the girls' toilet. Upon entering the gymnasium, Hamilton was about to be confronted by Eileen Harrild, the P.E. teacher in charge of the lesson, before he started shooting rapidly and randomly.

He shot Harrild, who sustained injuries to her arms and chest as she attempted to protect herself, and continued shooting into the gymnasium. Harrild managed to stumble into the open plan store cupboard at the side of the gym along with several injured children. Gwen Mayor, the teacher of the Primary 1 class was shot, and killed instantly.

The other present adult, Mary Blake, a supervisory assistant, was shot in the head and both legs but also managed to make her way to the store cupboard with several of the children in front of her. From entering the gymnasium and walking a few steps, Hamilton had fired 29 shots with one of the pistols and killed one child and injured several others. Four injured children had managed to shelter in the store cupboard along with the injured Harrild and Blake. Hamilton then advanced up the east side of the gym, firing six shots as he walked and then fired eight shots towards the opposite end of the gym.


He then proceeded towards the centre of the gym, firing 16 shots at point-blank range at a group of children who had been incapacitated by his earlier shots. A Primary 7 pupil who was walking along the west side of the gym building at the time heard loud bangs and screams and looked inside the gym. Hamilton shot in his direction and the pupil was injured by flying glass before running away.

From this position, Hamilton fired 24 cartridges in various directions. He fired shots towards a window next to the fire exit at the south-east end of the gym, possibly at an adult who was walking across the playground, and then fired four more shots in the same direction after opening the fire exit door.

Hamilton then exited the gym briefly through the fire exit, firing another four shots towards the cloakroom of the library, striking and injuring Grace Tweddle, another member of staff at the school. In the mobile classroom closest to the fire exit where Hamilton was standing, Catherine Gordon saw him firing shots and instructed her Primary 7 class to get down onto the floor before Hamilton fired nine bullets into the classroom, striking books and equipment. One bullet passed through a chair where a child had been sitting seconds beforehand.

Hamilton then re-entered the gym and dropped the pistol he was using and equipped himself with one of the two revolvers. He put the barrel of the gun in his mouth, pointed it upwards and pulled the trigger, killing himself. A total of 32 people sustained gunshot wounds inflicted by Hamilton over a 3–4 minute period, 16 of whom were fatally wounded in the gymnasium, which included Gwen Mayor and 15 of her pupils. One other child died later en route to hospital.



George Harrison was known as the quiet Beatle, and he was also the quietest ex-Beatle. His was not the way of the rock star, as he neither courted nor relished fame. Yet his seeming diffidence was deceptive, as he left behind an impressive legacy as a solo artist. Harrison’s 11 solo albums (not counting best-of’s) include the masterful All Things Must Pass (1970) and a memorable late-career milestone, Cloud Nine (1987).

He was the first Beatle to tour as a solo artist and the only one to start his own label (Dark Horse Records). Most important, Harrison wrote and sang about spirituality and transcendence.

He immersed himself in Indian music at Beatlemania’s height and became a lifelong devotee of Hindu religion, Krishna consciousness and Vedic philosophy. George Harrison died of brain cancer on November 29, 2001, at a friend’s home in Los Angeles.

He was 58 years old. Exactly a year later, Eric Clapton and Olivia Harrison organized The Concert for George - a tribute performance that involved the remaining ex-Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as concert supervisor Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Ravi Shankar. Proceeds went to Harrison’s Material World Charitable Foundation, which he’d founded back in 1973.


 Smokey Robinson


The first musical bands originated in New Orleans among black musicians who have traditionally been the innovators. The first jazz record ever recorded was by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917, and of course they were white because racism always rears its ugly head to hold black people back. But during the Roaring 20's, young white people couldn't resist the dance beat laid down by the black jazz bands.

Fletcher Henderson, a black man, became the first band leader to achieve national fame possibly because he featured Louis Armstrong on trumpet. Duke Ellington, a classically trained musician, brought a level of style and sophistication to jazz that hadn't been seen before.

But it wasn't until 1935 that jazz bands with a "swing beat" achieved national attention due to Benny Goodman who I think was the best clarinet player ever to blow air into that instrument. Benny also had the good sense and taste to bring the first great drummer, Gene Krupa, into his band. When rock and roll exploded into human consciousness during the early 1950's, black musicians like Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Smokey Robinson pioneered the way, but a white DJ named Alan Freed is believed to have coined the term "rock and roll".

The first real rock and roll record was "Shake, Rattle and Roll", written by Jesse Stone who was black and recorded by Big Joe Turner who was also black but it wasn't a hit. The first big hit rock and roll record was "Rock Around the Clock" written by James Meyers and Max Freeman of obvious ancestry, and that one catapulted Bill Haley and his Caucasian Comets to stardom.

During the 1950's and early 60's, there were countless "do wop" groups, rock groups, singers and songwriters but until The Beatles hit the charts, there had been very few bands which contained talented songwriters. The vast majority of jazz and rock bands recorded songs written by songwriters who were not performers, with occasional exceptions like Duke Ellington and Buddy Holly.

As time goes on, it's increasingly clear that Lennon/McCartney songs are brilliant classics which will never be forgotten. Now here's why The Beatles are the most creative band of all time: As I sit here writing this at the keyboard of my computer facing the unique and colorful Beatles poster in my bedroom, I'm aware that I have been directly and indirectly inspired by John Lennon's music as well as by the way he lived his life offstage.


Squarely in front of me is a full color poster of all four Beatles standing in a heavenly-like flower garden at about the time of the Abbey Road album. Paul is angelic in his pink suit with a white laced shirt. John is enigmatic peering out from the background. George is charismatic staring directly into the camera from the lower right. Ringo is on the left with a stylish blue suit and his pink ruffled shirt.

I always wished I could dress like those guys but obviously there's a bit of a problem with a money differential there. Surrounding this gorgeous poster which I have never seen elsewhere are my 45 speed original Beatles hit records, including I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Please Please Me, Twist and Shout, Can't Buy Me Love, She's A Woman, Yesterday, and of course, Hey Jude.

And surrounding all that is a chain of 1-1/2" long orange flicker flame lights which are the most beautiful and unique Christmas lights I've ever seen. I chose to decorate the wall directly in front of my work station this way because, as I've written elsewhere on this site several times, The Beatles were my major musical influence and having them on the wall in front of me inspires me to write web pages like this one.

I was also among the millions of people who were inspired by how The Beatles were actually living their off stage lives. The Beatles' music creatively stimulated millions of people to change the way they were living, and The Beatles behavior encouraged people to have fun by trying new life style experiences.

That's what I call a perfect example of FORM = CONTENT. In this case it means that the creatively and masterfully varied music The Beatles were producing (form) embodied the real life styles which each of the four Beatles were living (content), together as a band as well as separately as unique individuals.


Paul McCartney


This should be self-evident, but just because Paul McCartney has the title of the most popular songwriter in history doesn't necessarily make him the best songwriter in history. The qualities which do make both Paul and John the best songwriters in history go beyond writing the greatest number of catchy classic songs. "Catchy" means that their melodies and lyrics are instantly memorable. "Classic" means that they stand the test of time. But both Paul and John wrote very sophisticated melodies that moved beyond the simple groups of 2, 4 and 8 patterned phrases used by almost all other songwriters.

John and Paul's melodies soared, floated, cascaded, dived and peaked with true dynamics, naturally following the syllabic lyric patterns - but not always. Sometimes the melodic and lyric patterns were independent of each other, almost counterpoint in nature, and as a songwriter, they never ceased to astonish me with their brilliance and originality.

In the beginning, their lyrics were simple and their songs were simple love songs. But they soon began exploring new territory by writing about subjects that hadn't been covered before. Inspired by Bob Dylan, they wrote true poetry with feeling and depth, using evocative and unusual words.

Rubber Soul marked the beginning of their evolution as mature songwriters, Revolver was a break-out album, and Sergeant Pepper was an historic landmark album in terms of new and innovative songwriting as well as production. Every song they wrote was significantly different from the last one even though each song had their unmistakable sound.

Most songwriters are only average players on their instruments, but John and Paul are both sophisticated guitarists who were able to integrate their playing into their songs and even into their song structure so that the "licks" they played became as catchy a part of their songs as the choruses and verses. Blackbird and Dear Prudence are only two examples of songs which couldn't possibly be written by any other songwriter because of the guitar playing which forms an integral part of the song structure.

In similar fashion, Lady Madonna is the best example of a great song which derives from the unique and beautiful bass part which only Paul could possibly have created. Average songwriters achieve the catchy quality by repeating a phrase endlessly or by beating a chorus to death. John and Paul found countless ways to be memorable without ever overly repeating something.

The only time they repeated something over and over again for a long time was in Hey Jude, and what they chose to repeat is so gorgeous that one can only wish they had never ended the song. The Beatles were my biggest musical influence and I used to think, "If I could write just one song that's as good as John and Paul's worst song, I'd be happy."

People tell me I accomplished that goal and they say one good example is John is Alive which is my sincere tribute to Sir Lennon. Even Ringo could sing when he got a little help from his friends who lived in the yellow submarine. But to say that Paul and John are two of the best singers in rock and roll is to state the obvious. Combining John, Paul and George created the best harmony vocals the world has ever experienced.

Even their two part harmonies were unusual, catching us all by surprise on their first hit record with the fast harmony melisma in the chorus of I Want to Hold Your Hand. John had a knack of placing a unique low harmony line underneath Paul's high melody line so as to form a second melody which created unusual harmony effects.

He did that right from the beginning in the verses of She Loves You. Both Paul and John could blast out screaming rock and roll (i.e. Long Tall Sally and Twist and Shout), and both could break our hearts with touching, deep feeling ballads (i.e. Yesterday and Julia). There seems to be no end to their emotional vocal range, and John even explored the heights of vocal psychedelia in songs like She Said (Revolver) and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

Paul brought a new style of melodic playing to the bass guitar, reaching a new high of creativity on Sergeant Pepper with a level of sophistication never heard before. Many other musicians besides me recognize Paul as being one of the best bass guitar players ever. George is underrated as a lead guitarist by people with average or below average musical knowledge or ability, but most guitarists (including Eric Clapton) know better. George's strength is in melody, pure and simple.

It would be difficult to find a George Harrison lead which is not melodic, and each of his leads has a strong beginning, a stronger middle and a well defined ending. In fact, that's Eric's definition of what makes a good guitar lead. George continually developed new guitar sounds for each Beatles song. John and Paul are also excellent guitarists and both recorded great leads as well as innovative rhythm tracks.

All three of the Beatles guitarists may lack showy technical fireworks but they make that definition of guitar mastery irrelevant by overwhelming the senses with creativity, style, and pure melody. The exact same thing can be said about John and Paul's keyboard playing.

Ringo may be underrated as a drummer by the public but he is not underrated by other professional drummers. Ringo mastered the art of drum sounds. No drummer has ever recorded so many different sounds on so many different sounding records. Ringo invented a new style of slow drum playing, epitomized on A Day in the Life and Strawberry Fields Forever. John said many times, "Ringo has the best back beat in the business" and the successful studio drummers understand why John was correct.


1990 The Beatles


A good definition of charisma needs to include "an unusual ability to influence people and arouse devotion" and "a personal attractiveness which enables a person to influence others". No musical group prior to or after The Beatles features true charisma emanating strongly from the entire group as well as separately from each member. The Beatles stunned the world with their photogenic quality, their charm, their bubbling and lovable personalities, their cuteness and their unique style.

Even before The Beatles achieved fame, people in Liverpool were imitating their haircuts, the way they dressed, the way they behaved, and the way they lived. Such a simple subliminal message about smoking marijuana got communicated to all the hippies who were waiting to happen without actual words ever being spoken.

The Beatles had a lot to lose by being explicit on that subject, but they successfully avoided trouble by keeping it very subtle while at the same time clear enough so that we all got it. The Fab Four kept changing their styles rapidly, almost with each album cover, and soon the message became one of explicit spiritualism. After visiting India,

The Beatles introduced eastern mysticism and meditation to the Western world for the first time through the mass media. John's long saga with internal angst, drugs, spiritualism, politics, personal battles, and ultimately his marriage to Yoko played out like a movie the whole world got to watch in fascination. Paul's happy life with Linda, George's great focus on meditation, and Ringo's equanimity throughout were all perfect examples of the power, the truth, and the effectiveness of true charisma.

Need I say it? Ask the millions of girls who were screaming and fainting at the very sight of them. "The Boys" didn't move like Elvis or dance like Mick, they just stood there shaking their "mop top" heads around, smiling, laughing, and looking gorgeous as they performed great music and that was it.

On their first visit to America, some enterprising weirdo from New York City managed to cut up the hotel bed sheets The Beatles had slept on into 1" square pieces, and these things were actually sold to girls over the public airwaves by adult DJ's on the AM radio stations who should have known better. The Beatles phenomenon went way beyond the rock and roll sex star status that had been seen before.

Teenage girls in uncountable numbers fell in love, their hearts to be trapped, their heart strings to be continually plucked, and ultimately, their hearts to be broken by the unobtainable object of their love. Worshiping a star from afar? Infatuation? Obsession? Not real love? For many of them, it was their first experience feeling love for a man/boy. Whatever it was, it was very real to all of them, and we all soon understood that The Beatles were The Real Thing.


The Columbine High School massacre


The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine in unincorporated Jefferson County, Colorado, United States, near Denver and Littleton. Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as wounding 23 others, before committing suicide.

It is the fourth-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 1927 Bath School disaster, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and the deadliest for an American high school.

The massacre provoked debate regarding gun control laws, the availability of firearms in the United States, and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, as well as the role of violent movies and video games in American society.

The shooting also resulted in an increased emphasis on school security, and a moral panic aimed at goth culture, social outcasts, the gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressants by teenagers, violent films and music, teenage internet use, and violent video games.



The controversial war in Iraq started with the US-led invasion in March 2003. The main reason offered for the proposed war was that Iraq has nuclear capabilities and that the war would act as a means of disabling such capabilities – thus the war would protect the interests of the US and further afield by disarming them. Countries that were opposed to the war, such as members of the UN security council who did not back plans, suggested that such fears were not correct.

Another reason given for the invasion of Iraq was that there was claims linking Iraq to al-Qaeda – so far there has been no evidence linking them together in anyway. President of Iraq since 1979 (Vice President from 1968-79), Saddam Hussein [Husayn] was a dictator who stopped at nothing to preserve personal power and regime survival.

After the 1968 Ba'athist Coup, he began his career as Chief of Iraq's security services, and he executed opponents and suspected potential rivals, including scores of high-level government officials and thousands of political prisoners. Since the 1970s, he escalated and made routine the systematic torture and execution of political prisoners.

Saddam Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian forces in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and against Iraq's Kurdish population in 1988. The 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war left 150,000 to 340,000 Iraqis and 450,000 to 730,000 Iranians dead.

Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and destruction of Kuwait in 1990-91 with 1,000 Kuwaitis killed. Directed the 1991 bloody suppression of Kurdish and Shi'a insurgencies in northern and southern Iraq with at least 30,000 to 60,000 killed. he later ordered the destruction of southern marshes to extinguish the Shi'a insurgency. Saddam was born in 1937, and reared in a mud hut near Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

From the age of ten, Saddam was reared by an uncle, who encouraged him to dream of becoming a nationalist Arab hero, like Saladin. The chief influences during Hussein's childhood and teenage years were his mother and his uncle Khairullah Tulfah. Tulfah, an Iraqi army officer who introduced Hussein to the evils of colonialism in Iraq, was imprisoned by the British for his activism against the English-backed monarchy of King Feisal I.


The Baath (renaissance) Party, which Muslim Salah Bitar and Christian Michel Aflaq originally established, became a vehicle for Hussein. He became an enforcer for the party, and like Joseph Stalin, who fascinated Hussein, he left the intellectuals behind and climbed the ladder of Iraq politics, using a combination of intimidation, fear, nepotism, and outright murder.

In 1958, Feisal's monarchy came to a bloody end, and General Adel Karim Kasim took power. A year later, Hussein participated in a failed attempt on Kasim's life. Hussein was exiled to Egypt, where he became enamored of President Gamal abd-al-Nasser, who espoused Arab nationalism. Hussein was also instrumental in organizing Baath cells at the University of Cairo. In 1963, General Abdel-Rahman Arif overthrew Kasim, and the Baaths were in power. By 1968 close family and tribal ties bound the Baath's ruling clique.

Most notable in this regard was the emergence of Tikritis -- Sunni Arabs from the northwest town of Tikrit -- related to Ahmad Hasan al Bakr. Three of the five members of the Baath's Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) were Tikritis; two, Bakr and Hammad Shihab, were related to each other.

The cabinet posts of president, prime minister, and defense minister went to Tikritis. Saddam Hussein [Husayn], a key leader behind the scenes, also was a Tikriti and a relative of Bakr. Less than two months after the formation of the Bakr government in 1968, a coalition of pro-Nasser elements, Arif supporters, and conservatives from the military attempted another coup.

This event provided the rationale for numerous purges directed by Bakr and Saddam Husayn. Saddam has been married to the same woman, former schoolteacher Sajida, since 1958. She has been described as a first cousin, not unusual for Mideast marriages of that era.

They have five children, three daughters and two sons. Saddam Hussein was captured by forces from the 4th Infantry Division, coalition forces and special operations forces at approximately 8 p.m. local time on December 13, 2003, in a remote farm house near Tikrit, Iraq.


Saddam hanged in the 90s


The invasion of Iraq was lead by a largely American force, with soldiers from Australia, Great Britain, Poland and Denmark also playing their role. In an attempt to restore peace in Iraq, the Co-coalition countries attempted to establish a democratic government.

Such plans have not went as smoothly as was hoped, and on-going violence has continued despite there being troops and a democratically elected government in place. Since the invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein fled the country in an attempt to avoid the consequences that would come as a result of being caught by the coalition troops.

Despite his best attempts, Saddam was captured in December 2003 and was hanged in the same month the crimes he had committed whilst in office. His trial and subsequent hanging were all completed under the Iraq interim government.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (IPA: [xolí?a?a mandé?la]; born 18 July 1918) was the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election, serving in the office from 1994–1999. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of the African National Congress's armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.

The South African courts convicted him on charges of sabotage, as well as other crimes committed while he led the movement against apartheid. In accordance with his conviction, Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island.

Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela has supported reconciliation and negotiation, and has helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, many have frequently praised Mandela, including former opponents.

Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela's clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.


In 1994, with the unexpected death of John Smith, Blair became Labour Party leader after Gordon Brown stood aside to avoid splitting the pro-modernising vote in the leadership ballot. Blair quickly attained unquestioned authority as leader, which was further underlined by Labour's landslide victory in the 1997 general election. At 43, he was the youngest premier since Lord Liverpool in 1812. He attempted to promote a youthful, modern image of Britain symbolised by Brit-pop, Brit-art and the Millennium Dome.

Some of his policies were genuinely radical, especially the constitutional reforms that delivered a measure of self-government to Wales and Scotland. However, a promise to reform public services proved less easy to implement, and a controversial reliance on private enterprise initiatives did not seem to deliver the expected improvements in transport, education or health care.


Diana died after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris


On 31 August 1997, Diana died after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with Dodi Al-Fayed and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was instructed to drive the hired Mercedes-Benz through Paris in order to elude the paparazzi. Their black 1994 Mercedes-Benz S280 crashed into the thirteenth pillar of the tunnel.

The two-lane tunnel was built without metal barriers in front of the pillars. None of the four occupants wore seat belts. The journalists, who had been trailing the car, arrived at the Alma underpass at different stages. Serge Arnal, Christian Martinez and Stéphane Darmon appear to have arrived first, quickly followed by Serge Benhamou.

Records supplied by mobile telephone operators Itinéris and SFR support Serge Arnal's claim that he attempted to call the emergency services. Film seized from the cameras of Christian Martinez and Serge Arnal showed that they were taking photographs of the car and/or the occupants almost immediately after arrival at the scene – there were no emergency services near the car visible in their photographs.

Blood analysis showed that Henri Paul was illegally intoxicated with alcohol while driving. He drove at high speed in order to evade the pursuing journalists. Tests showed he had consumed amounts of alcohol three times that of the French legal limit.

Fayed's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, who was in the passenger seat, was closest to the point of impact and yet he was the only survivor of the crash. Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed were killed instantly, and Diana—unbelted in the back seat- slid forward during the impact and, having been violently thrown around the interior, "submarined" under the seat in front of her, suffering serious damage to her heart with subsequent internal bleeding.

She was eventually, after considerable time, transported by ambulance to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, suffering two episodes of cardiac arrest on the way. Despite lengthy resuscitation attempts, including internal cardiac massage, she died at 4 a.m. local time. Her funeral on 6 September 1997 was broadcast and watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide.

An iconic presence on the world stage, Diana was noted for her sense of compassion, style, charisma, and high-profile charity work, as well as her difficult marriage to Prince Charles. From the time of her engagement to the Prince of Wales in 1981 until her death after a car accident in 1997, Diana was one of the most famous women in the world—a pre-eminent celebrity of her generation.

During her lifetime, she was often described as the world's most photographed woman. One biographer suggested that Diana was possibly suffering from Borderline personality disorder.

Diana admitted to struggling with depression, and the eating disorder bulimia, which recurred throughout her adult life. Royal biographer Sarah Bradford commented, "The only cure for her (Diana's) suffering would have been the love of the Prince of Wales which she so passionately desired, something which would always be denied her.

His was the final rejection; the way in which he consistently denigrated her reduced her to despair." Diana herself commented, "My husband made me feel inadequate in every possible way that each time I came up for air he pushed me down again ...


John Joseph Gotti, Jr.


John Joseph Gotti, Jr. (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002), commonly known by the media as "The Dapper Don" and "The Teflon Don" after the murder of his former boss Paul Castellano, was the boss of the well known Gambino crime family, one of the Five Families in New York City. He became widely known for his outspoken personality and flamboyant style that eventually caused his downfall.

In 1992, Gotti was convicted of racketeering, 13 murders, obstruction of justice, hijacking, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal gambling, extortion, tax evasion, loan sharking and other crimes and was sentenced to life in prison where he died 10 years later.

Gotti died of throat cancer at 12:45 p.m. on June 10, 2002 at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where he had been transferred once the cancer was diagnosed. Gotti had the lower half of his jaw removed due to the cancer and was fed through a tube.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced that Gotti's family would not be permitted to have a Mass of Christian Burial but allowed Gotti's family to have a Requiem after burial.


The O. J. Simpson murder case


1994: The O. J. Simpson murder case has been described as the most publicized criminal trial in history, in which O. J. Simpson, former American football star and actor, was brought to trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 after a lengthy trial, the longest jury trial in California history. Simpson hired a high-profile defense team led by Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey.

Los Angeles County believed it had a solid prosecution case, but Cochran created in the minds of the jury the belief that there was reasonable doubt about the DNA evidence (then a relatively new type of evidence in trials), including that the blood-sample evidence had allegedly been mishandled by lab scientists and technicians. Cochran and the defense team also alleged other misconduct by the Los Angeles Police Department. The televising of the lengthy trial riveted national attention on the dramatic case.

By the end of the criminal trial, national surveys showed dramatic differences between most blacks and most whites in terms of their assessment of Simpson's guilt. Later, both the Brown and Goldman families sued Simpson for damages in a civil trial, which has a lower standard of proof for determining responsibility.

On February 5, 1997, the jury unanimously found there was a preponderance of evidence to find Simpson liable for damages in the wrongful death of Goldman and battery of Brown. In its conclusions, the jury effectively found Simpson liable for the death of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. On February 21, 2008, a Los Angeles court upheld a renewal of the civil judgment against him.


Dolly the sheep


Dolly the sheep was the very first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, and came into the world on the 5th of July 1996. The scientific brains who made her were Keith Campbell, Ian Wilmut and colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. When her birth was announced seven months later the world was stunned.

Her premature death in 2003 created just as many headlines. Dolly attracted millions of column inches throughout her life and led to long running debates about the ethics of cloning, which became louder with news of her death. Sheep can live to twice her age and she suffered from a type of lung disease usually seen in much older animals.

To some critics this was all too predictable as cloning is a relatively new and difficult technology to get right. In fact Dolly was the end result of more than 250 attempts at cloning a sheep. Dolly's birth stunned the scientific community for two main reasons. The first was that she existeda at all. The creation of a viable clone of a complex mammal was unexpected.

To create Dolly, scientists took an adult mammary cell from the udder of another sheep (she was called Dolly after the singer Dolly Parton, something to do with mammary cells!) They stripped away all the cellular machinery to leave the nucleus containing DNA and all the genetic material needed to create life. Then they introduced this into an oocyte (an unfertilised egg) that had had its nucleus removed.

The process is known as somatic cell transfer and fertilisation was kick-started with a jolt of electricity. When the hybrid cell began to divide and develop into a blastocyst it was implanted into a surrogate mother.

The second incredible fact about the technology was that it showed that an adult differentiated cell, that is a mature cell that has reached the end of its developmental stages, could in effect be wiped back to its original state. So the mammary cell reverted back to its embryonic stage.

The fascinating part about this is that a blank cell has the potential to grow into any other cell and could therefore be used to mend ageing tissues and organs. For most of her life Dolly had excellent health and became a mum in her own right , when she was bred with a Welsh Mountain Ram. The first lamb, called Bonny, was born in 1998. A year later she gave birth to a set of twins and then another year later she had triplets.


President Gorbachev's


Soviet leaders agree to surrender the Communist Party's 72-year monopoly on power. The party's governing Central Committee ends a stormy 3-day meeting with a strong endorsement of President Gorbachev's proposal for political pluralism.

Gorbachev critic Boris Yeltsin is elected president of the Russian Republic in May; he quits the party in July, followed by the mayors of Moscow and Leningrad. Gorbachev asks for special powers November 17 as the Soviet economy collapses, he is granted the powers despite fears of a new dictatorship, the liberal minister of the interior is succeeded by a KGB officer, and Foreign Minister Eduard A.

Shevardnadze announces his resignation December 20, warning the Congress of the People's Deputies against "reactionaries."

The Parliament shrugs off Shevardnadze's warning and votes December 25 to give Gorbachev almost dictatorial powers, including powers over the 15 republics.


Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus


Some have labeled the music of the 90s the worse in history. But others think it some of the best music due to its originality and variety. Which is it? The 90s was a time of new subgenres, old bands coming back to life and an era of one-hit-wonders. It was a time when hip-hop was displacing metal as the top-selling genre. Subgenres that were being created included things such as rap-rock.

And then there were bands like Creed and Nickelback who were labeled as creating what was called butt-rock, music which focused less on complexity and musical talent and more on radio-friendliness as well as emotional impact on its listeners.

And yet, the 90s was the era of pop hits that you either found annoying or loved such as Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus, Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice, Macarena by Los Del Rio, and Candle In The Wind by Elton John.? The early years of the 1990s began with a surge in popularity for music genres like techno (often called dance or house music). Groups like Technotronic entered the Billboard charts with big hits like “Pump Up the Jam” and “Get Up (Before the Night is Over)”.

Similarly, the hip-hop music scene achieved popularity with artists like MC Hammer and Tone Loc. Between 1992 and 1993, with the popularity of sexual lyrics dominating the airwaves, alternative music began making mainstream radio. Bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden became common names. Their lyrics were new and words that people who felt outside of society connected to.

Songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” marked the beginning of the grunge and alternative rock phase that remained popular throughout the mid-1990s. ??The hopelessness that grunge bands sang about started wearing thin by late 1995. And people were looking for something fresh and new, something that felt happy. To fill the niche were bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, Sister Hazel, and The Bodeans.

Melodies were upbeat and lyrics were positive. These bands also created a resurgence in songs that dealt with love and relationships through ballads and happier-sounding songs. “All For You” by Sister Hazel was a popular song about the things a person does for another in a relationship while, contrastingly, “Let Her Cry” by Hootie and the Blowfish dealt with a tearful breakup that deeply hurt both people. ??"Happy rock" paved the way for the “bubblegum pop” that followed in the waning years of the decade.


Artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera quickly dominated the mainstream pop music scene well into the late 1990s and beyond. Surprisingly enough, the sexual lyrics and innuendos also came back in the songs of this era that was one popular in the early years of the decade, but they were more blatant than before. Videos were more sexual in nature as well.

Then there were the boy bands. The Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, and N’Sync found a resurgence that older boy bands such as the New Kids on the Block from the late 1980s may have seen. ??Was the 90s a time of great music or confusion? Such a decision may be too subjective to make. Professionals say one can't judge pop music until another generation of kids are born - will they be drawn to it and recreate it or think it is the worse thing they ever heard. Seems like only time can tell.


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