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This Is What The World Was Like In 1997

It was one hell of a crazy year.

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1. Titanic, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Men in Black were the three biggest films of the year.

Paramount
Universal
Sony

Titanic would go on to be not only the biggest film of the year, but also the biggest film of all time — well, till 2009, when Avatar surpassed it.

2. George Clooney was the star of ER and also People's Sexiest Man Alive...

People Magazine

3. ...and he also starred in the critically panned Batman & Robin.

But it had a pretty good soundtrack!
Warner Bros.

But it had a pretty good soundtrack!

4. Tyra Banks was the first black model to have a solo Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover.

The previous year she had become the first black model to appear on the cover, but she shared it with Valeria Mazza.
Time Inc.

The previous year she had become the first black model to appear on the cover, but she shared it with Valeria Mazza.

5. Princess Diana died in car crash in Paris. An estimated 2.5 billion people watched her funeral on television.

Johnny Eggit / AFP / Getty Images

6. Elton John rewrote his 1973 single "Candle in the Wind" in tribute to his friend Princess Diana. The rewritten version went on to become the second best-selling single of all time.

The single is second only to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."
UMG

The single is second only to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."

7. Daria, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and King of the Hill all premiered.

MTV
Sony Television
Fox Television

8. South Park also premiered and was arguably the most controversial show on television.

Viacom

9. The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in a drive-by shooting in LA.

Vibe / Via rapzines.com

10. The Spice Girls were the biggest pop group in the world.

Their debut album, Spice, was also the biggest-selling album that year.
Brenda Chase / Getty Images

Their debut album, Spice, was also the biggest-selling album that year.

11. Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out.

Time Inc.

12. Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow announced that they were calling off their engagement.

They had been together for two and a half years and had gotten engaged the previous year.
Kim Kulish / AFP / Getty Images

They had been together for two and a half years and had gotten engaged the previous year.

13. Mulder and Scully (aka David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) were still TV’s most shipped couple.

Us Weekly

14. LeAnn Rimes, who was then 14 years old, became the youngest person to ever win a Grammy.

LeAnn Rimes won two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Jon Levy / AFP / Getty Images

LeAnn Rimes won two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

15. Madonna took home a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for her performance in Evita.

NBC

16. Aqua released their ubiquitous (earworm) single "Barbie Girl."

UMG

17. Hanson released "MMMBop" and became instant tween/teen heartthrobs.

UMG

18. TGIF's most popular shows were Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Boy Meets World.

ABC
ABC

19. Legendary Swedish icon Robyn made her US debut with her smash hits “Do You Know (What It Takes)” and “Show Me Love.”

Sony Music

20. The Backstreet Boys made their debut in the States with their breakout hit "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)."

Sony Music

21. Gianni Versace was murdered outside his Miami home by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

Stringer / AFP / Getty Images
ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP / Getty Images

22. Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life,” En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go,” Erykah Badu’s “On & On,” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” all topped the charts in 1997.

WMG
WMG
UMG

23. Radiohead released what is widely considered one of the greatest albums of all time, OK Computer.

Capitol

24. Virtual pets were among the most popular toys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiiPr_2sUG4
http://kidscreen.com/1997/12/01/20099-19971201/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamagotchi#/media/File:Tamagotchi_0124_ubt.jpeg

And of course, everyone wanted either a Nano Pet, Giga Pet, or a Tamagotchi.

25. Teletubbies made its debut — much to the annoyance of parents everywhere.

BBC

26. Steve Jobs returned to Apple as its CEO after quitting 12 years earlier.

John Mottern / AFP / Getty Images

27. The final season of Seinfeld began to air.

The last episode would air in 1998.
NBC

The last episode would air in 1998.

28. Aaliyah was the face of Tommy Hilfiger.

Tommy Hilfiger

29. A 15-year-old Ivanka Trump graced the cover of Seventeen magazine.

Hearst Corporation

30. Jimmy Kimmel began his TV career as the co-host of Win Ben Stein's Money.

Viacom

31. Jennifer Lopez had her big breakout role when she portrayed slain Tejano singer Selena.

Warner Bros.

32. Johnny Bravo and Cow and Chicken both premiered on Cartoon Network.

33. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published in the UK.

Bloomsbury

34. And finally, for better or for worse, George Lucas released the Star Wars special editions.

LucasFilm
LucasFilm
LucasFilm

The movies were updated and re-released in theaters to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope. The reworked ending of Return of the Jedi also gave everyone a peek at what the prequels would look like, as it featured a small glimpse of the city of Coruscant.

CORRECTION

The Lost World: Jurassic Park was one of the biggest films of 1997. An earlier version of this post misstated the name of the film.

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