Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1994: The year everything came to a crashing end for Seattle

By Kshell

There was once a time when the city of Seattle ruled the nation. In the early 1990's the city had it all. The city ruled the music scene as the grunge scene busted out with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. The city was also experiencing some good sports with the Washington Huskies winning the national championship in 1991, the Seattle Mariners with rising star Ken Griffey Jr and the Seattle Supersonics with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. The time to live in Seattle was great in the early 1990's then 1994 happened and everything changed. I felt like writing this post today because I was listening to some Nirvana which featured Kurt Cobain as the lead singer. Cobain was a big part of the growth of Seattle and unfortunately was part of the downfall as well. So people please put down the bong today as I know it's 4/20 and give me five minutes of your time to read this following post. I'll talk about how 1994 was the year everything came to a crashing end for Seattle.

In the early 1990's the city of Seattle was buzzing. The Washington Huskies football program was at their peak going to three straight Rose Bowls including winning a national championship in 1991. Some consider that defense to be the greatest defense in Pac-10 history led by Steve Emtman and Dave Hoffmann. The sports scene has a whole was pretty good in Seattle. The Seattle Mariners had their first superstar with Ken Griffey Jr. who started his first All-star game in just his second season in the majors while winning a gold glove. The Seattle Supersonics were enjoying the alley-oops of Gary Payton to Shawn Kemp as the Sonics upset the Golden State Warriors in 1992. The music scene in Seattle was taking off in the early 1990's when this grunge band who is actually from Aberdeen Nirvana busted out on the scene. Nirvana crashed the scene with their album "Nevermind" in 1991 which featured the hit song that is still popular to this day "Smells like teen spirit". The lead singer was Kurt Cobain who wore flannel, jeans and had long blonde hair. Nirvana wasn't the only group from the Seattle area to bust onto the scene as Pearl Jam came out with the "ten" album also in 1991 which featured the song "Jeremy". Then Soundgarden who started off in 1988 had a huge album in 1994 which featured "spoonman". Another Seattle group Alice in Chains came out with "Man in the Box" in 1991 as well. Seattle was a city who had great sports and their music was the most listen to music in the entire nation. Then in one day everything changed for the music scene and the city of Seattle. What happened next started the ball rolling towards one of the worst years Seattle has ever seen.

The day was April 5th, 1994 when everything came to a crashing end. That was the day when news was broke that Kurt Cobain the lead singer and song writer of Nirvana had killed himself. The news was shocking that a guy who seemed to have had it all would feel the need to take his own life. This was shocking as Nirvana had just produced back to back top selling albums with "Nevermind" in 1991 then "In Utero" in 1993 was a huge hit as well. The whole city of Seattle as well as the rest of the country was just in shock. The grunge music which was mostly Seattle artists had killed the hair bands of the 1980's was about to come to an end. Without Nirvana the grunge scene was pretty much dead. The city of Seattle continued to mourn the loss of Cobain as he represented hope to all the kids who weren't "popular" in high school. With Cobain's death the city would be shaken forever. For the sports fans there was still hope as the Seattle Supersonics had the best record in the NBA for the first time in franchise history.

The Seattle Supersonics in the 1993-94 season had enjoyed their best season in franchise history. The Sonics were coming off a year in 1992-93 where they had the second best record in the Western Conference and lost game seven of the Western Conference Finals to the Phoenix Suns. The Sonics who had a young roster also aquired Kendall Gill and Detlef Schrempf to bolster an already stacked roster. The Sonics were 22-3 to start the year. The Sonics finished the season winning their first division title since the 1978-79 season which saw them win the NBA championship. The Sonics had a 63-19 record with 38 blowout victories on the year and were 37-4 at home which was also the best record in the NBA. The city was excited for the Sonics as Michael Jordan had retired the playoffs appeared open for the Sonics. The Sonics would draw a tough matchup with the Denver Nuggets who they split the season series with at two game a piece. The Sonics would destroy the Nuggets in game one 106-82 then win game two 97-87 to take a two games to zero lead. The Sonics after getting destroyed in game three would lose in overtime in game four 94-85 forcing the series back to Seattle. Then the Sonics who were 39-4 at home lost game five in overtime 98-94 becoming the first #1 seed to ever lose in the first round. Later that offseason the Sonics almost traded Shawn Kemp to the Chicago Bulls for Scottie Pippen but the trade fell through. It had appeared the sky was falling for the city of Seattle.

Just when you though the sky was falling in Seattle baseball season happened to the city. The Seattle Mariners were having yet another losing season but saw Ken Griffey Jr. have a big season hitting 40 home runs by August 11th. Then on July 19th, 1994 the Kingdome tile fell which made the Kingdome not a suitable place to play games. The Mariners would then have to play the remainder of the season on the road. The Mariners would play 20 consecutive games on the road until the baseball strike ended the season on August 12th. The Mariners were riding a six game winning streak and had cut a 7.5 game lead down to two games in the standings. So the Mariners were denied their first chance at a possible playoff berth due to the strike. Ken Griffey Jr had hit 40 home runs in just 112 games. Griffey had 51 games to hit 21 home runs to tie Roger Maris home run record. The Kingdome damage also affected the Seattle Seahawks who had to begin their season playing home games at Husky stadium. The year was just a total disaster for the city of Seattle. Then to end the year as the Sonics stadium was being remodeled they were playing their home games in Tacoma in the 1994-95 season. This year was a rough year for the city of Seattle.

In conclusion as you can see Seattle once had it all and then crashed. The city of Seattle is perhaps cursed from ever experiencing success on any level due to the Cobain death who knows. All I know is the city had a rough year in 1994 from sports and music. The city went through a ton of pain back then and it was hard to recover from. Just remember though at least the city of Seattle had their prime moment which is more than most cities can ever say. Seattle at one time had great sports that were on the rise and controlled the music world. It was a fun time to live in Seattle in the early 1990's when the grunge scene came alive. Then it all came crashing down on April 5th, 1994. Seattle survived 1994 which makes us a stronger city today. Seattle will always have the memories of that great time period. So do yourselves a favor and listen to some Nirvana right now. Pretend this is the early 1990's when Seattle ruled the nation. Just don't forget that all great things must come to an end. I can't wait until Seattle has their next great run.

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