20 Pop Culture Phenomena That Turn 20 This Year

Some of our most loved pop culture moments feel like they just happened yesterday. Yet this year marks the twentieth birthday of some of our favourite pop culture phenomena from 1999.

Happy twentieth birthday to…

1. American Beauty

American Beautyswept the Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs with its dark message that there’s always beauty and meaning in life – even when it seems hard to find.

2. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Set 32 years before the original, “epic space opera” The Phantom Menacewas the highest grossing film of 1999!

3. 10 Things I Hate About You

Five things we do love? Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, and a teen rom-com set in Seattle. It couldn’t get more ’90s!

4. Fight Club

The first rule of Fight Club – forget it. Everyone talked about Fight Club! It was one of the most controversial flicks of the year and of the decade.

5. American Pie

In 1999, Jim, Oz, Finch, and Kevin were about to graduate, Stifler’s mom was inspiring, and nobody looked at apple pie the same way again.

6. “Baby One More Time”

The ’90s gave us lots of teen sensations, but 1999 was the Year of Spears. Brit-Brit took the world by storm with her debut album.

7. “No Scrubs”

’90s girl group TLC basically invented “scrubs” to remind us not to settle for that guy “hangin’ out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride …”

8. “Livin’ La Vida Loca”

Ricky Martin’s biggest hit ushered in the Latin Pop invasion that helped Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, and Paulina Rubio turn Spanish success into global stardom.

9. “I Want It That Way”

Tell me why-yyy? Because it’s catchy, that’s why! One of the Backstreet Boys’ biggest hits, “I Want It That Way” hit #1 on the RPM Canada Adult Contemporary Chartand #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100in 1999.

10. “If You Had My Love”

In 1999 we first heard Jennifer Lopez sing. But Jenny had been with us all decade long as a Fly Girl in the sketch comedy show In Living Color.

11. Harry Potter Mania

Harry Potter mania hit with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and J. K. Rowling became a critical success.

12. The Sopranos

When the Sopranos made their way into our homes, we got a glimpse into the family life of a mob boss – and all the stress that comes with it.

13. Family Guy 

Right after the Denver Broncos won their second straight Superbowl, Peter, Lois, Stewie, and the rest of the Family Guy gang aired for the very first time.

14. The West Wing

One of the most influential TV shows of all time, The West Wingchanged the face of political dramas by bringing us deep into a fictionalized White House.

15. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

An American version of the British show, Millionairewas the first game show in US history to have a million-dollar top prize! Sometimes we still ask to “call a friend.”

16. Napster

The original peer-to-peer file sharing service arrived in 1999. No one could have predicted the indelible impact it would have on the digital era.

17. Naked News

Oh Canada! This bizarre Internet news concept debuted in December 1999, and with imitators the world over, it continues to produce shows today.

18. Big Mouth Billy Bass 

From 1999 right up to today, Billy, the mounted, animatronic fish has adorned basement walls from your neighbour’s house to dozens of movie and TV sets.

19. Blackberry 850

The very first Blackberry device introduced accessible, phone-based email and HTML browsing capabilities, forever changing the way we work.

20. Y2K

The rush to upgrade computer programs before the calendar flipped to ’00 was on! Nobody knew what disaster could strike at Y2K … until nothing did. PHEW!