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Where Are They Now? 1994’s Biggest Pop Acts

Catch up with the Cranberries, Coolio, Ace of Base, Lisa Loeb and All-4-One

lisa loeb; coolio; live; the cranberries

Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies

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Nobody realized it at the time, but 1994 was a real transitionary year for popular music. Kurt Cobain‘s suicide in April effectively put an end to the grunge revolution, and new acts like Green Day and Weezer were breaking very big. A massive gig celebrating Woodstock’s 25th anniversary was held that summer, introducing artists like Sheryl Crow and Nine Inch Nails to a mass commercial audience for the first time. Some of these acts went on to have long careers, while others crapped out with stunning speed. Here’s a look at some of the artists that broke in 1994 but didn’t quite make it out of the Nineties in one piece. 

All 4 One

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All-4-One

Then: Anybody that attended a school dance in 1994 is well aware of the pop quartet All-4-One. That was they year they released their cover of John Michael Montgomery's "I Swear." The song went absolutely nuclear. America was between boy bands at that moment: The New Kids On The Block had crapped out, and meeting the Backstreet Boys was a few years away. There was only Boyz II Men, and All-4-One were like a cheap knock-off. That's not meant to take anything away from All-4-One; it's just that Boyz II Men ruled the world at the time, and All-4-One just couldn't compete. In 1995 they scored again with "I Can Love You Like That," but soon enough Hanson and the Spice Girls entered our world. It was the beginning of a new teen-pop era, and All-4-One seemed like dinosaurs.

Now: You've got to give it up to All-4-One. They never broke up. They never even lost any of their original members. They have fewer than 1,500 Twitter followers, but they still tell their fanbase things like "Election night in America is looking like a tight race!" Who knew they were political? You can catch them November 1st in Yonsei University Amphitheater in Seoul, South Korea. 

Lisa Loeb

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Lisa Loeb

Then: With the possible exception of Singles, no movie is more 1990s than Reality Bites. The soundtrack featured the song "(Stay) I Missed You" by then-unsigned act Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories. Loeb lived near Ethan Hawke in New York, and they become friends around the time he was filming Reality Bites. He put the song on the soundtrack and it shot to Number One on the Hot 100, a first for an unsigned artist in the history of the chart. Hawke filmed a video for the song in a single take. Vh1 showed it more than a few times, turning Loeb's cat eye glasses into a huge fashion statement. 

Now: Contrary to popular belief, Loeb isn't a One-Hit Wonder. She had a Top 20 hit in 1995 with "Do You Sleep," and two years later "I Do" reached Number 17. Her career hit a slump after that, but Loeb remained in the spotlight. She dated Dweezil Zappa, and even starred with him in the Food Network reality show Dweezil and Lisa. When the two split up, Lisa got her own reality show Number One Single in which she looked for love on her own. She released a new album earlier this year, and she continues to stay busy with voice-over work. She also had a hysterical cameo on the series finale of Gossip Girl where she wound up marrying (fictional) Nineties rocker Rufus Humphrey. 

Ace of Base

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Ace Of Base

Then: There was a time when Ace of Base seemed poised to become the next Abba. The parallels were striking: Both were Swedish foursomes made up of two guys and two women (a blonde and a brunette). They both made instantly catchy pop songs that seemed to transcend all cultural boundaries. Near the height of grunge in America, Ace of Base's songs "The Sign," "All That She Wants," "Don't Turn Around" and "Living In Danger" were absolutely everywhere. When Full House's Stephanie Tanner formed a band with her friend Gia it was a no-brainer they'd cover "The Sign" during their set at the Smash Club. Ace of Base's debut LP The Sign sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

Now: Ace of Base never lived up to the huge success of The Sign, but later in the Nineties they returned to the charts with "Beautiful Life" and a cover of Bananarama's "Cruel Summer." Linn Berggren left the band in 2002, and her sister Jenny left about seven years later. Original members Jonas Berggren and Ulf Ekberg have recruited two new female singers in an effort to carry on. Their website currently lists a series of 2011 gigs as "upcoming," so things don't seem to be going so well at the moment.