January 19 – Bryan Adams becomes the first Western music star to perform in Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.
January 25 – Alice in Chains release their Jar of Flies album which makes its US chart début at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming the first ever EP to do so.
January 29 – The Supremes’ Mary Wilson is injured when her Jeep hits a freeway median and flips over just outside of Los Angeles, USA. Wilson’s 14-year old son is killed in the accident.
February 1 – Green Day release their breakthrough album Dookie, ushering in the mid-1990s punk revival. Dookie eventually achieves diamond certification.
February 7 – Blind Melon’s lead singer Shannon Hoon is forced to leave the American Music Awards ceremony because of his loud and disruptive behavior. Hoon is later charged with battery, assault, resisting arrest, and destroying a police station phone.
February 11 – The three surviving members of The Beatles secretly reunite to begin recording additional music for a few of John Lennon’s old unfinished demos, presented to Paul McCartney by Yoko Ono, with Jeff Lynne producing. The track, “Free As A Bird”, is released as a single in late 1995 as part of the exhaustive Beatles Anthology project, reaching #2 in the UK and #6 in the United States.
February 14 – The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia marries Deborah Koons.
February 23 – Eddie Van Halen, Chris Isaak, and B.B. King attend the ground breaking ceremony for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino takes place in Paradise, Nevada, USA.
March 1 – Nirvana play their final concert in Munich. Frank Sinatra receives the Grammy Awards Lifetime Achievement award. Sinatra’s acceptance speech is cut short and other artists, upset by this action, criticize the producer’s decision during the show, including Billy Joel who takes extra time to perform his song, The River of Dreams, noting that he is wasting valuable air time.
March 3 – In Rome, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain lapses into a coma after overdosing on Rohypnol and champagne.
March 5 – Grace Slick is arrested for pointing a shotgun at police in her Tiburon, California home.
March 7 – The United States Supreme Court decision Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. rules that parody can qualify as fair use. The case was spurred by 2 Live Crew releasing a parody of the Roy Orbison hit “Oh, Pretty Woman” without a license from the publishing firm Acuff-Rose Music.
March 13 – Selena releases her final Spanish album Amor Prohibido.
March 18 – Courtney Love calls the police, fearing that her husband, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, is suicidal. Police confiscate four guns and twenty-five boxes of ammo from Cobain’s home.
Bassist Darryl Jones replaces Bill Wyman in The Rolling Stones,
March 30 – Pink Floyd embark on what would be their last world tour before their breakup. The record-breaking tour supports their Division Bell album, with the band playing to 5,500,000 people in 68 cities and grossing over £150,000,000.
March 31 – Madonna appears on the Late Show with David Letterman, making headlines with her foul-mouthed, profanity-laced interview. Robin Williams later describes the segment as a “battle of wits with an unarmed woman.”
April 8 – The body of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, is found. Cobain’s death three days before, is legally declared to be suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot.
April 25 – Blur releases Parklife, its first album reaching #1 in UK, where it was certified “quadruple platinum”. Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys is sentenced to 200 hours of community service for attacking a television cameraman during funeral services for actor River Phoenix in November 1993.
April 26 – Grace Slick pleads guilty to having pointed a shotgun at police officers on March 5.
April 27 – The legendary Fillmore club reopens in San Francisco with a concert headlined by The Smashing Pumpkins.
May 2 – A Los Angeles jury finds Michael Bolton, along with co-writer Andy Goldmark and Sony Music Entertainment, guilty of copyright infringement over the song “Love Is a Wonderful Thing”. The song is ruled to be too similar to a song of the same name by The Isley Brothers.
May 3 – The Rolling Stones arrive by yacht to a press conference in New York City to announce the Voodoo Lounge Tour kicking off in the summer.
May 6 – Pearl Jam files a complaint against Ticketmaster with the U.S. Justice Department charging that the company has a monopoly on the concert ticket business.
To help promote his new album, Alice Cooper releases a three-part comic book that followed the album The Last Temptation.
May 9 – 13 – 1994 International Rostrum of Composers
May 10 – Tupac Shakur begins serving a 15-day sentence in a county jail for attacking director Allen Hughes on the set of a video shoot.
Weezer are introduced to the world with their self-titled debut, often referred to as the Blue Album. It would go on to become one of the most influential records of the 1990s spanning hits “Undone – The Sweater Song”, “Buddy Holly” and “Say It Ain’t So”.
May 26 – Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley are married in the Dominican Republic.
May 27 – The Eagles launch the Hell Freezes Over tour in Burbank, California. The reunion tour is the group’s first since breaking up in 1980, but much is also made of the band becoming the first to charge over $100 per ticket for arena shows.
June 7 – Grace Slick is sentenced to 200 hours of community service and three month’s worth of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after a March 5 incident with police officers.
June 9 – Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC, in a domestic dispute with partner Andre Rison, sets fire to his shoes which ultimately spreads to the mansion they share and destroys it.
June 21 – George Michael loses his legal bid to be released from his contract with Sony Records in a London court.
June 27 – Aerosmith becomes the first major band to premiere a new song on the Internet. Over 10,000 CompuServe subscribers download the free track “Head First” within its first eight days of availability.
July – The Verbier Festival is launched.
July 30 – Suede announce that guitarist Bernard Butler has left the band following fractious recording sessions for their album Dog Man Star
August – Rich Mullins and “Leave a Legacy” contest winner, 76-year-old Miguel Garcia Massiate, travel to Bogotá, Colombia with Compassion International. The two men visit the Ciudad Sucre Center where Mullins presented them with over $40,000 that was raised on his summer ’94 Ragamuffin Band tour. Decca releases a recording of the 1949 première of Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony for the first time.
August 9 – Machine Head release their first album Burn My Eyes, which was a big success and becomes Roadrunner Records’ best selling debut album.
August 12 – Woodstock ’94 is held in Saugerties, New York. As with the original 1969 festival, attendance is swelled by a high number of gatecrashers, while heavy rains turn the festival grounds into a sea of mud. Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Peter Gabriel and Green Day are among the many performers.
August 23 – Jeff Buckley releases his single, critically acclaimed, full-length studio album Grace.
August 30 – Oasis release their debut album Definitely Maybe, it becomes the fastest selling debut album in the United Kingdom at the time until 2006 when it was beaten by the Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Luis Miguel release Segundo Romance, the best-selling Latin album of the 1990s by a male artist. Four singles from the album were released; two of which reached #1 on the Top Latin Songs. It received a Grammy Award and a Billboard Latin Music Award.
September – José Cura wins the Operalia – International Plácido Domingo Opera Singer Competition.
September 6 – Bad Religion release their eighth studio album (and proper major-label debut) Stranger than Fiction. This proved to be the last to feature founding guitarist/songwriter Brett Gurewitz for seven years, until his return. Gurewitz would be replaced by former Minor Threat / Dag Nasty / Junkyard guitarist Brian Baker, who turned down a touring job for R.E.M. at this time, and eventually becomes a permanent member of Bad Religion.
September 8 – Richard A. Morse, lead male vocalist of RAM, narrowly escapes a kidnapping by armed men during the band’s live performance at the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; the attempted kidnapping was provoked by the performance of “Fèy”, a RAM single banned nationwide by the military authorities.
September 15 – A 1957 audio tape of John Lennon performing with The Quarrymen on the same night he met Paul McCartney fetches £78,500 at a Sotheby’s auction in London.
October 11 – Korn, a nu metal band from Bakersfield, California, launches its self-titled debut album Korn, peaking at number 72 on the Billboard 200 and launching the nu metal sound.
October 12 – Jimmy Page and Robert Plant: No Quarter (Unledded) premieres on MTV. The “unplugged” concert special featuring the two former Led Zeppelin bandmates was filmed to accompany the release of the album of the same name.
November 20 – David Crosby undergoes a seven-hour liver transplant operation in Los Angeles.
November 30 – The Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal is arrested at her Ohio home after accepting a private-courier package containing four grams of heroin.
December 2 – Warner Music Group acquires a 49 percent share of Seattle record label Sub Pop in a deal believed to be worth over $30 million.
December 18 – Paul Oakenfold’s legendary Goa Mix is first broadcast in the early hours of this day as a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix.
December 19 – Aerosmith opens the 250-seat Mama Kin Music Hall in Boston, co-owned by the group, with a performance.
December 31 – The twenty-third annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special airs on ABC, with appearances by Melissa Etheridge, The O’Jays, Salt-n-Pepa, Hootie & the Blowfish and Jon Secada.
Also in 1994
Christian Olde Wolbers replaces Andrew Shives in Fear Factory. Jeff Burrows signs a Cymbal deal with Sabian. ALL part ways with their original home Cruz Records, and sign a recording contract with Interscope (though they shortly leave that label after releasing an album in the following year). The Offspring frontman Dexter Holland and bassist Greg Kriesel form the label Nitro Records, an incubator for successful punk artists such as AFI. The label later releases albums from classic punk bands, including The Damned and T.S.O.L., and also reissues the first Offspring album. Social Distortion manager Jim Guerinot forms the label Time Bomb Recordings in joint-venture agreement with Arista. The label actually exists mostly as an imprint for current releases from Social Distortion and solo albums by Mike Ness, along with the administration of the label’s back catalog. Moldova adopts Limba noastră as its new national anthem.