A musical trip down memory lane...
Guns N'Roses (debut 1987)
THE ENDURANCE TEST
Guns N'Roses was already established by the time they released their hit single, "November Rain." But it was this rock ballad that put them on the map and propelled them towards their eventual rock star demise. Drugs, more drugs, sex, and drug-induced criminal acts caused the band to crash and burn like a glorious pile of manure. But back to "November Rain" for a moment (which is probably one of the longest, but most loved, rock ballads out there) - the video placed fifth in VH1's "Greatest Videos of All Time," and went on to inspire my future wedding dress. Guns N'Roses defined the music of its time and brought a whole new meaning to the words "rock 'n' roll" - as well as "aging rock star" (yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Axl Rose).
Paula Abdul (debut 1988)
It's hard to believe that someone who released six #1 singles would end up on "American Idol" ten years later, the subject of Simon Cowell's mean (but highly enjoyable) remarks. It just goes to show you, the bills don't pay themselves, and investing in RRSP's really helps. Paula Adbul started in choreography and financed her own highly successful debut album, Forever Your Girl. After a string of failed relationships with Emilio Estevez, Arsenio Hall, and Keanu Reeves, she disappeared into oblivion, and re-emerged to air out her early-90's wardrobe when she was invited to judge on "American Idol." Take note, Jennifer Lopez: This is your life.
The Grunge Movement (debut early 90's)
Remember when plaid shirts and greasy hair were in? It seemed like every other person wanted to look like Kurt Cobain or claimed to be from Seattle. The Grunge Movement began, for most, with Nirvana's reluctant plunge into the spotlight. Some Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots later, it went into full tilt. But as pop culture decrees, it slowly dissolved as the decade progressed. And so the Movement, much like Woodstock revisited, was dragged through the mud several times before lying in a defeated heap of history. People retired the plaid and went out to buy some shampoo, leaving the memory of angst-ridden guitar riffs and livid lyrics behind. Still, it shouldn't be discounted as a passing trend. It was an integral part of our culture and shaped the better part of the decade.
En Vogue (debut 1990)
You have your Spice Girls, your Dixie Chicks, even your homegrown Sugar Jones. But no girl group could ever compare to En Vogue - four women that, when united, formed one of the most powerful voices on the planet. Their debut single, "Hold On," established Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Terry Ellis and Dawn Robinson as forces to be reckoned with in the music industry. Unlike the standard fare of today, each woman had a unique voice that could stand alone as well as in harmony. (By the way, my all-time favourite song is "Don't Let Go (Love).") After almost a decade together, Dawn Robinson split to purse her own interests, which included a solo project, a tryst with Lucy Pearl, and most recently, a duet with Choclair. May their music live on forever, or at least on WinMX.
New Kids on the Block (debut 1991)
Just looking at the cover of their first album, Hanging Tough, is enough to give me creepy flashbacks of the idolization awarded to these five guys. They came at the perfect time - the market for poppy boy bands was wide open - and captured the hearts of millions of teens and pre-teens everywhere. Countless music videos, dolls, backpacks and collectible stickers later, the phenomenon rolled over and passed out, much like me after Thanksgiving dinner. Luckily, The New Kids on the Block disbanded without any rehab or statutory rape fiascos. To this day, I still remember performing "Step by Step" in the school yard with my "friends" (and I use that term loosely because if they were real friends, they never would have made me do such a thing) and drooling over their pictures in Big Bop. What can I say? In retrospect, Donnie and Jordan's mullets weren't that attractive, but they sure beat Color Me Badd or Hi-Five.
Wilson Phillips (debut 1991)
If Wilson Phillips had emerged a decade later, they probably wouldn't have enjoyed the same success as they did when they released their self-titled debut in 1991. Their music would be categorized somewhere between pop and adult contemporary - standard fare for the early 90's. Even though they only released two albums (and two Best Of compilations, like that's really warranted), Wilson Phillips enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame with hits like "Hold On," "Release Me," and "Impulsive." Eventually, one of them married a Baldwin while the other guest-starred on her own talk show. As for the third member, she's probably locked in an attic somewhere preparing for their E! True Hollywood Story.
The Fugees (debut 1993)
The year was 1995, and The Fugees' "Fu-Gee-La" had just topped the Billboard Charts. Lauryn Hill, Pras Michel, and Wyclef Jean injected some much-needed life into the ailing hip hop industry. With their cover of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," the Fugees became instant millionaires. The song dominated the charts for weeks, and you couldn't turn around without hearing someone sing their own version. Undeniably, part of their success came from the blending of three distinct personalities in the studio - three raw talents that honed their skills as their fame grew. After a while, The Fugees packed up their bags and went their separate ways, but not before leaving a piece of musical history behind. ¤ C.Ho.
[ Find out what Michelle thought of music back in the day. ]