George Floyd Memorial EDM

Before virtually everyone had access to computers, a DAW, and the internet, electronic music was strictly hardware synthesizers. It took a lot of time and money to create the sounds one needed for the next hit.

Since then the music industry has gone through numerous advances in society, economy, and technology. From house to hands up to dubstep, these major changes have allowed for sonic fluidity for many artists like Avicii, Skrillex, Village People, Eiffel 65, and Tiësto. These artists were given an outlet for their immense creativity to speak a language everyone around the globe can understand: music.

Music has been heavily influenced by the past, present, and future political, societal, and economic climates. Some of the most profound and boundary-pushing tracks have highlighted a dark or bright spot in the artist’s life; their music was released during a time of uncertainty in the world, and those changes allowed for intense societal relatability.

Here is a comprehensive list of 13 EDM songs that were released during historic moments from the 1970s to present day.

Table Of Contents
  1. Village People – Y.M.C.A (1978)
  2. Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove (1981)
  3. Real McCoy – Run Away (1994)
  4. Robert Miles – Children (1996)
  5. Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee) [1998]
  6. Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone (1999)
  7. Darude – Sandstorm (2000)
  8. Cascada – Everytime We Touch (2006)
  9. Skrillex – Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites (2010)
  10. Avicii – Levels (2011)
  11. Baauer – Harlem Shake (2012)
  12. PSY – Gangnam Style (2013)
  13. SAINt JHN – Roses (Imanbek Remix) [2020]

Village People – Y.M.C.A (1978)

The Village People’s “Y.M.C.A” is one of the most recognizable disco songs of all time. Paving the way for a vision of love, acceptance, and unity, this tune rocketed into the charts. The track was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2020, and the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

“Y.M.C.A” reached No. 2 in the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 in the UK at about the same time. It became the Village People’s biggest hit and is one of fewer than 40 tracks to have sold more than 10 million physical copies worldwide.

Sony released the first ever portable stereo, the TPS-L2

After being frustrated from lugging around a bulky and inconvenient audio player on transcontinental flights, Sony co-chairman Masaru Ibuka brought an attractive portable stereo to market.

Sony produced 30,000 units of the Walkman and was priced at $150 ($631 in 2021). The TPS-L2 took two AA batteries and did not have any external speakers, so it required headphones to be used properly.

The Walkman set a standard for portable audio devices until Apple’s iPod launched in 2001.

Sony Walkman
JAPAN – FEBRUARY 02: The original ‘Walkman’, model TCS 300, made by Sony of Japan. The TCS 300 was the first personal stereo cassette recorder manufactured by Sony. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Jim Jones and Peoples Temple followers commit mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana

Jim Jones was an American preacher who led the Peoples Temple, a religious organization that existed between 1955 and 1978. 10 years after Jones founded the Peoples Temple, he moved it to San Francisco, California. The Peoples Temple remained in California through the 70s.

By 1978, the media reported on numerous human rights issues at Jonestown. US Representative Leo Ryan led a delegation to the Peoples Temple’s location in Port Kaituma, Guyana. While leaving Jonestown with members who wished to leave, Ryan and four others were gunned down by gunmen directed by Jones himself.

On November 18, 1978, Jones coerced his followers to drink a concoction that was laced with cyanide, leading to 918 deaths at the property.

‘Framework for Peace’ signed by Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat and Israeli premier Menachem Begin

Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat and Israel’s premier Menachem Begin met with president Jimmy Carter from September 5 to September 17, 1978 at Camp David to discuss peace in the Middle East. This was the first peace treaty between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries.

“After four wars during 30 years, despite intensive human efforts, the Middle East, which is the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of three great religions, does not enjoy the blessings of peace,” reads the Jimmy Carter Library site. “The people of the Middle East yearn for peace so that the vast human and natural resources of the region can be turned to the pursuits of peace and so that this area can become a model for coexistence and cooperation among nations.”

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove (1981)

“Let’s Groove” was released in 1981 as the lead single from Earth, Wind & Fire’s 11th studio album, Raise!. Written by Maurice White and Wayne Vaughn, “Let’s Groove” was set to change and revitalize disco music. It peaked in the top 20s in countries around the world, including the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The song was modernized by being brought into the TikTok world via a meme/dance, shedding light on the infectious disco track to the younger generation.

Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th president of the United States

On January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president of the United States.

He promised to “curb the size and influence of the federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the federal government and those reserved to the states or to the people.”

Ronald Regan Inaguration
President Ronald Reagan delivering his inaugural address on the west front of the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1981

MTV goes live and debuts popular ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’

On August 1, 1981, MTV debuted the hugely successful “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles alongside other music videos. With MTV’s launch, they had music videos playing around the clock for 24-hours and featured artists like Squeeze, Roxy Music, ABC, Culture Club, and more.

MTV became a staple in pop culture over the next few decades. The station continued to be a binge-worthy station for GenX’ers until it transitioned away from strictly music TV and got into more drama-inducing shows like Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, and True Life.

AIDS is first identified

On June 5, 1981, the CDC published an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and describes a lung infection in five previously healthy young gay men. The report goes on to state that the men have unusual infections and indicates that their immune systems aren’t working. By the time the report is published, two of the men have already died, and the others will die shortly after.

This publication of the MMWR marks the first official reporting of AIDS.

Real McCoy – Run Away (1994)

Real McCoy is a German eurodance group consisting of Juergen Wind and Frank Hassas.

“Run Away” was the first single from their second album Another Night. It gained serious amounts of traction in the United States and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six in the UK. BuzzFeed ranked “Run Away” as number 56 in their list of The 101 Greatest Dance Songs of the ’90s back in 2018.

The lyrics of “Run Away” were influenced by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four novel.

Nirvana lead singer and frontman Kurt Cobain commits suicide

On April 5, 1994, Nirvana’s lead singer and rock music icon Kurt Cobain dies by suicide at his home in Seattle, Washington. Cobain struggled with mental health and drug problems for awhile, but he began to spiral out of control about a month prior to his death. According to History.com, “He went into a coma and nearly died after mixing champagne and the drug Rohypnol.”

Cobain disappeared on March 30 and didn’t notify any friends or family. His wife, Courtney Love, could not find him and hired a private detective on April 3. The detective did locate Cobain in Seattle the following day, but he refused to return to Los Angeles.

He convinced a friend to purchase a gun for him, citing that he needed it for protection. He returned home and had taken enough Valium and heroin that nearly killed him. His suicide note was in the apartment above the garage, which quoted Neil Young’s lyric that it is “better to burn out than to fade away.”

Kurt Cobain 1991
By Julie Kramer – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81219782

Hundreds of thousands killed in genocide in Rwanda

On April 6, 1994, Hayarimana and Burundi’s president Cyprien Ntaryamira were shot down in a rocket attack in their plane over Kigali, Rwanda. Presidential guards killed Hutu Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana after she tried to ease the tensions.

After Habyarimana’s death, 100 days of violence in Rwanda ensued. This was mostly by Hutus against Tutsis. 800,000 people were murdered by militia known as the Interahamwe.

O.J. Simpson arrested for killing his wife and friend

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, OJ’s wife, went to a Los Angeles restaurant with her family. Their waiter was Ron Goldman. Later that evening, Goldman went to Brown Simpson’s home to return a pair of glasses that her mother left at the restaurant. Brown Simpson and Goldman were found stabbed to death at Brown Simpson’s home around midnight.

Simpson was in Los Angeles at the time of the killing and jumped on a flight to Chicago that night. Upon his return to Los Angeles the following day, the police interviewed him but he was not arrested immediately.

Robert Miles – Children (1996)

Robert Miles was an Italian record producer, composer, musician, and DJ who gained recognition from his 1995 track “Children.” He died of pancreatic cancer in Ibiza, Spain in 2017.

Throughout his career he worked as a DJ around Italian clubs and private radio networks. He used his savings from his work to launch a recording studio and pirate radio station.

“Children” was first released in January of 1995 as part of the Soundtracks EP on Joe Vannelli’s DBX label; however, it didn’t chart. It was then played out at a nightclub in Miami where Simon Berry of Platipus Records heard it. Berry worked with Vannelli and James Barton of Liverpool’s Cream nightclub to release the composition in November of 1995 as the lead single from Miles’s Dreamland album.

South Africa receives a new constitution

On December 4, 1996, the Constitutional Court of South Africa approved a new constitution. It took effect on February 4, 1997.

The adoption of the new constitution was a turning point in the country’s history. It is considered to be one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. It was drafted by representatives from all major political parties and liberation organizations. It was constructed for non-racialism and human rights.

Janet Jackson cashes in with $80 million Virgin Records deal, making her the highest paid musician

Global superstar and pop/dance music legend Janet Jackson inked a record-breaking record deal with Virgin Records after a label bidding war since her previous contract ended. Jackson is Virgin Records’ best-selling artist.

The deal surpassed the industry previous record of $60 million, which was claimed by her brother Michael Jackson and Madonna.

The deal with Virgin Records called for Jackson to make four albums, receive $35 million signing advance, and a guaranteed advance of $5 million for each album. It also called for Jackson to receive a 24 percent royalty on the retail price of each copy sold.

Janet Jackson
By J Vettorino from USA – 1792, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49704005

Jazz music legend Ella Fitzgerald dies

Jazz music icon and the “First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald dies at her home in Beverly Hills, California. The “Dream a Little Dream of Me” singer had struggled with diabetes for years and lost her lower legs to the disease in 1993.

According to the Washington Post, “She made her first appearance in the big-band era and went on to embrace bebop, show tunes, bossa nova and rock-and-roll. In all, she recorded more than 250 albums, backed by Oscar Peterson, Clark Terry and other jazz luminaries. She won 13 Grammy awards, more than any other female jazz performer.”

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald at Paul Masson Winery, Saratoga CA 6/5/86 © Brian McMillen www.brianmcmillenphotography.com

Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee) [1998]

“Blue (Da Ba Dee)” was the masterful creation of Italian dance group Eiffel 65, which consists of Gianfranco Randone, Maurizio Lobina, and Gabriele Ponte. The track is the group’s most successful track and dominated the charts in countries like Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, and more. It was only the third track in the United Kingdom to enter the top 40 chart based purely on import sales.

President Bill Clinton denies allegations from Monica Lewinsky and impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice later that year

President Bill Clinton denied the allegations of an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In December of 1998, the House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky
Clinton White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Titanic becomes highest grossing film

The movie Titanic, directed by James Cameron and starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, becomes the highest grossing film of all time. It raked in a jaw-dropping $580 million ($952 million in 2021) domestically. Additionally, it tied the record for 11 Academy Awards.

Matthew Shepard’s murder

On October 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered by Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney for being gay. Shepard’s murder shocked the world and sparked a nationwide discussion on hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ people. The Matthew Shepard Foundation stood with former President Barack Obama in the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 into law.

Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone (1999)

The release of Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” arrived months before the turn of a century. The track was released on July 19, 1999 and was later included in Alice Deejay’s debut and only album, Who Needs Guitars Anyway?. The project was founded by Danski, Delmundo, and Pronti.

“Better Off Alone” has oftentimes been referenced as a turning point in the sound of techno. Jeffrey Sutorious, co-founder of Dash Berlin, stated, “It became such a huge chart hit around the world that many people categorized it as eurodance, when in fact it started out as vocal trance.”

The former lead singer, Judith Pronk, is now a makeup and visual artist in the Netherlands. Pronk did share a video hinting at an Alice Deejay return after 20 years.

Judith Pronk Alice Deejay
Alice Deejay’s Judith Pronk, https://www.discogs.com/artist/774345-Judith-Pronk

Nelson Mandela steps down as first black president of South Africa

On June 16, 1999, Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, stepped down and was succeeded by Mbeki. Shortly after Mandela steps down from the presidency he retires from politics and becomes very active in various philanthropic activities.

According to Wilson Center, “He was an incorruptible leader who championed a government of national unity, and one that embraced all South Africans irrespective of their social standing.”

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela / Getty Images

Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado

On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris stormed Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and engaged in a shooting spree. Klebold and Harris killed 13 people and wounded more than 20 others before they committed suicide. At this time, this was the worst high school shooting in US history.

The Columbine High School shooting shocked the world and sparked numerous conversations and debates about gun control. Since then, the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida shootings have occurred and continue to stir discussions with gun control and mental health.

Investigators have speculated that Klebold and Harris purposely chose athletes, minorities, and Christians as their victims.

Columbine High School Shooting
Photo credit: AP/File

Star Wars Episode I–The Phantom Menace is released

Star Wars Episode I–The Phantom Menace opens and breaks a number of box office records. It also grosses $102.7 million in its debut five-day weekend.

Darude – Sandstorm (2000)

Fitting for the time after the Y2K bug, Darude’s “Sandstorm” continues to stir up sonic storms around the world after its release on October 26, 2000. The track has dominated DJ sets, festivals, sport stadiums, and clubs around the globe since its release. The track will go down in history as one of the most recognizable dance music tracks to ever be released.

The track turned 20-years-old back in 2019.

North and South Korea sign a peace treaty

North and South Korea sign a treaty for peace to take a step towards their decades-long fight. The agreement was purposely left vague. If the two countries went through with the accord, it would reduce North Korea’s isolation and would address numerous points of the countries’ cold war.

The two countries’ leaders discussed setting up offices in each other’s capitals.

“At this very hour, the attention of the 70 million Korean people is drawn to Pyongyang, and the eyes of the entire world are riveted to this place,” the South Korean president said in a banquet prior to the signing. “For the first time, the Korean people can see a bright future as a dawn of hope for reconciliation, cooperation and unification is breaking.”

Vicente Fox Quesada becomes president of Mexico, ending 71-year one-party rule

Vicente Fox Quesada, a former executive of Coca-Cola Co., becomes president of Mexico and pledges to “halt corruption, jump-start the economy with foreign investment and jobs programs, and nearly double spending for public education,” states Wall Street Journal.

The election of Fox was the fairest elections in Mexico’s history at the time.

“For the first time, Mexican voters had to present photographic credentials to cast their ballots, while opposition parties stationed observers at all of the country’s 113,424 ballot boxes–joining 450,000 civilian poll watchers,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “Also for the first time, the vote was overseen by an independent electoral commission.”

Vicente Fox
By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55594288

Mad Cow disease shakes Europe

Mad Cow disease first occurred in 1984 in West Sussex, England–two years before it was officially identified. It changed the way the UK handled farming, performs surgery, collects blood, and prepares food.

Mad Cow disease resulted in millions of animals being eliminated so countries could prevent it from spreading to humans. As of 2019, the linked disease, Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob, has killed 292 people, according to the FDA.

The FDA’s definition of Mad Cow disease: “Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a progressive neurologic disease of cows. Progressive means that it gets worse over time. Neurologic means that it damages a cow’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).”

Cascada – Everytime We Touch (2006)

Cascada is a German eurodance group consisting of lead vocalist Natalie Horler, Manian, and Yann Peifer.

Hands up music shaped dance music and allowed for growth within a diehard community of fans. Artists like The Hitmen, Empyre One, Rob Mayth, Groove Coverage, and others emerged and built an incredibly loyal, dedicated, and niche fanbase. The list of artists, producers, and songs within this genre are endless and it is slowly becoming a more mainstream genre.

A similar genre is hardstyle, which has also grown in popularity over the years.

“Everytime We Touch” was released as the lead single in 2006 ahead of Cascada’s debut album of the same name. It skyrocketed the trio to international success and continues to be a staple within the dance music community.

New Horizons spacecraft is launched and will travel to Pluto over next nine years

On January 19, 2006, NASA launched the New Horizons space craft from Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At the time of launch, it was the fastest spacecraft ever launched, reaching lunar orbit distance in just nine hours and passing Jupiter 13 months later, according to Space Center Houston.

New Horizons used Jupiter to slingshot itself towards Pluto, shaving off years of the trip. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland designed, built, and operates the spacecraft and manages its mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

On April 17, 2021, New Horizons reached a distance of 50 astronomical units from the Sun, or 50 times farther from the Sun than Earth is.

New Horizons spacecraft
Credit: NASA

Animal conservationist Steve Irwin, the ‘crocodile hunter,’ dies in tragic diving accident

Steve Irwin was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist, TV personality, wildlife expert, and environmentalist. Irwin’s bubbling personality, positive attitude, and love for animals infatuated the world with The Crocodile Hunter, a TV series that ran from 1996 to 2007. He was married to Terri Raines, and they had two children, Bindi and Robert.

While killing time and waiting out a rain delay, Irwin and his cameraman Justin Lyons came across an eight-foot-wide stingray that they thought would be perfect footage for their project. Lyons and a witness stated that the stingray most likely became surprised and thought Irwin was a tiger shark, a common predator for stingrays. It swung its barbed tail and pierced through Irwin’s chest, puncturing his heart and killing him in minutes.

Steve Irwin
Steve Irwin, By Richard Giles, aka User rich115 on Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/richardgiles/78439513/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1136663

Saddam Hussein is convicted of crimes against humanity and executed

Saddam Hussein is the former leader of Iraq. He led the country from 1979 to 2003.

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and two of his co-defendants are convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Another defendant was acquitted. They are sentenced to death. Hussein and the co-defendants were on trial for the massacre of 148 villagers from Dujail.

Skrillex – Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites (2010)

With a release date of October 22, 2010, Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites” set a high standard for the next decade of dubstep music. At the time, not many people had heard this level of heavy dubstep before. Skrillex’s hardcore sound and prestigious sound design paved the way for artists like Zomboy, Excision, and Virtual Riot to continue this sonic revolution within dubstep music.

Elena Kagan is confirmed to Supreme Court

Two months prior to “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” on August 5, 2010, the United States Senate confirmed former president Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Justice Kagan replaced Justice John Paul Stevens and was only the fourth woman to ever hold this position on the Supreme Court.

Elena Kagan Constitutional Oath
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., administers the Constitutional Oath to Elena Kagan in the Justices’ Conference Room on Saturday, August 7, 2010. Jeffrey P. Minear, Counselor to the Chief Justice, holds the Bible. Witnesses included Marc and Irving Kagan (brothers) and Justices John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor (not pictured).

United States midterm elections

At the time of “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites” release, the United States was just days away from the midterm elections. This election had significant impact in United States history. Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. Republicans gained seven seats in the Senate.

Maybe the song title was a hint at something greater than the music?

Massive earthquake shakes Chile and does significant damage

On February 27, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake shook the country of Chile. Deaths remained low, but the communication, power, electricity were significantly damaged and 1.5 million people were displaced. The epicenter of the earthquake was about 70 miles northeast of Concepcion, and waves continued to wreck havoc as the country began its rescue efforts.

Avicii – Levels (2011)

Perhaps one of the most recognizable and successful dance music tracks of all time, Avicii’s “Levels,” which was released on October 28, 2011, dominated clubs, festivals, shows, movies, and fans’ playlists around the globe. The release of “Levels” came at the beginning of a huge transitional time for dance music. Artists like Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Knife Party, and David Guetta were smashing music charts in multiple countries.

This transition in dance and pop music was aided in a societal changes like the LGBTQIA+ movement. Same-sex marriage was a hot topic of discussion and only a few years away from being federally legalized by the United States Supreme Court.

EDM festivals gave people within these movements and minorities places to free themselves and connect with other like-minded free spirits. A number of dance music critics claim that this is around the time EDM was at an all-time high.

After Avicii’s tragic suicide in April of 2018, fans of the Swedish DJ and producer gathered to send a message of love, acceptance, and highlight the importance of mental health awareness. Avicii’s streams skyrocketed 12,000% after his death.

New York passes law allowing same-sex marriage

New York become one of the first and only states at the time to legalize marriage between same-sex couples. All but one Democrat and four Republicans supported the bill.

Senator Mark J. Grisanti stated, “I apologize for those who feel offended. I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

This legislation furthered the gay rights movement across the United States. While there is still a lot of work to be done in this space, LGBTQIA+ people are beginning to see some progress.

New York Gay Pride
Sasha Kargaltsev from New York, US, CC BY 2.0

South Sudan declares independence and becomes Africa’s 54th state

On July 9, 2011, after nearly 50 years of struggle, South Sudan declares its independence and becomes Africa’s 54th state and the world’s youngest country. Salva Kiir is sworn in as the country’s president, and Riek Machar as Kiir’s deputy.

South Sudan’s decades of fight didn’t go out smoothly, however. After the country’s separation from Sudan, South Sudan found itself in a war that killed nearly 400,000 citizens and became entrenched in a severe humanitarian crisis. The country took three-quarters of the oil reserves, while the Sudanese government retains control of the pipeline and export facilities.

Kate Middleton marries Prince William in London

Kate Middleton and Prince William tied the knot on Friday, April 29, 2011 in London.

Kate Middleton Prince William Wedding
By Magnus D – Flickr: The royal family on the balcony, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15063758

Baauer – Harlem Shake (2012)

Baauer is a music producer, DJ, and songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since the age of 13, he has produced a number of dance tracks and previously produced a track under Captain Harry. Baauer is most recognized from his double-platinum tune the “Harlem Shake.”

The track took the world by storm after schools, companies, and families posted their videos of the challenge on social media. In fact, at its peak, the song was receiving 4,000 video uploads per day.

President Obama wins re-election in the US, defeating Republican counterpart Mitt Romney

President Barack Obama was re-elected after a nail-biting campaign and election cycle. Obama won 332 electoral votes and 51.1% of the popular vote.

“We picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come,” Obama says in his “One Nation” speech.

Barack Obama
With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington’s 1789 inauguration. (DoD photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Vladimir Putin wins re-election in Russia for third time

Vladimir Putin becomes the president of Russia for the third time after Dmitry Medvedev held the office for the previous four years. Putin hand-selected Medvedev before stepping down after his second term.

The Russian Constitution prohibits a third consecutive term, so this re-election was a rather slick move. In his re-election speech, Putin, with his hand on the Russian Constitution, committed to democracy and constitutional rights.

“We have passed a long and difficult road together,” Putin said in his speech. “We now feel confident. We have made our country even stronger. We restored our dignity as a great nation. The world now sees a restored Russia.”

The Curiosity Rover lands on Mars

The Curiosity Rover’s mission was to explore the Gale crater on Mars. The goals of the rover include investigating Mars’s climate and geology, assess the site to see if it had the proper environmental conditions for microbial life, and planetary habitability for human exploration.

The rover’s two-year mission was extended to be indefinite in December of 2012. It is still operational and has been active since its landing on Mars on August 6, 2012.

Mars Curiosity Rover
By Kevin Gill from Los Angeles, CA, United States – MSL Sol 3070 – MAHLI (Version 2), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=105129398

PSY – Gangnam Style (2013)

Released on July 15, 2012, South Korean artist PSY released his globally successful hit, “Gangnam Style.” The track shattered records and even broke YouTube’s view counter. “Gangnam Style” was the lead single from PSY’s sixth studio album Psy 6 (Six Rules, Part 1). The track refers to the lifestyle within the Gangnam District of Seoul.

By the end of 2012, “Gangnam Style” was surfing the charts in more than 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The music video made it into the Guinness World Records as the most ‘liked’ video on YouTube at the time.

It continued to be played out on the radio and danced to by numerous celebrities and fans around the world. It was dethroned on July 10, 2017 by the music video for “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, which gained traction after Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker’s death.

Xi Jinping becomes president of China

Xi Jinping is a Chinese politician who has served as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since 2012. He has also served as the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since 2013. Jinping has been the most prominent leader of China since 2012.

Jinping replaced Hu Jintao, and leaders in Beijing confirmed him as president in 2012, completing China’s transition of power every 10 years.

New Jersey becomes 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages

A year after New York legalizes same-sex marriage, the state of New Jersey joined in. State Senator Raymond Lesniak worked tirelessly to champion equal marriage rights into law.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker assisted seven couples, two of them heterosexual, after same-sex marriage became legal. Booker refused to conduct any marriage ceremonies until it was legal in the state.

“This is a huge victory for New Jersey’s same-sex couples and their families,” states Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director of gay rights group Lambda Legal and the organization’s lead attorney on the case. “Take out the champagne glasses – wedding bells will soon be ringing in New Jersey!”

New Jersey Same Sex Marriage
Mel Evans, AP

Whistleblower Edward Snowden comes forward and claims responsibility for ‘significant’ NSA leaks

Former technical assistant for the CIA Edward Snowden came forward and claimed responsibility for the NSA leak, one of the “most significant leaks in US political history,” according to the Guardian.

“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” Snowden tells the Guardian.

Snowden turned over highly classified documents to journalists that he trusted and would interpret his intentions in a way that wasn’t hurtful to people. He just wanted transparency–and to call out the US government for the serious invasions of privacy that occurred during the Obama Administration.

According to The New Yorker, “so far, the leaks have revealed that the N.S.A. is collecting records from Verizon Business (and, it emerged, from any number of other companies) for every phone call placed in the United States; that, with a program called PRISM and some degree of cooperation from technology companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple, it is looking at the private data of both foreigners it targeted and—’incidentally’—Americans a degree or even two removed from them; that another program, called Boundless Informant, processed billions of pieces of domestic data each month, and many times that from abroad.”

Edward Snowden
By Laura Poitras / Praxis Films, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27176492

SAINt JHN – Roses (Imanbek Remix) [2020]

SAINt JHN is a Guyanese-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is known for the Imanbek remix of “Roses,” which reached the top five in the US Billboard Hot 100. The track climbed the charts in Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

He released his debut album, While the World Was Burning, in late 2020.

Coronavirus pandemic ravages countries around the world, triggering global recession

At the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 ravaged the global economy and caused a worldwide recession. Millions of people have died, making it one of the 10 deadliest pandemics in history. The first death from COVID-19 was recorded in China on January 11, 2020.

It caused many to lose their jobs, incomes, homes, food, and safety. It shut down the entire entertainment industry and wrecked havoc more than anybody anticipated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others die in helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant was an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is commonly referred to as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were traveling to Gianna’s tournament at his Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks on January 26, 2020. They flew into thick fog in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, causing Bryant’s experienced pilot to climb sharply. Once breaking through the clouds the helicopter took a sharp left turn and spiraled into the hills below, killing everyone on board immediately.

Kobe Bryant
By Keith Allison – Flickr: Kobe Bryant, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37278765

George Floyd murdered by Minneapolis police officer, sparking international uprising against police brutality

George Floyd was an African-American who worked as a security guard. He was arrested after a store clerk suspected him to have used a counterfeit $20 bill.

Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sparked an international outrage against police brutality and riots across the United States. The Black Lives Matter movement become much more forefront and shed light on how much more difficult POCs and non-white Americans have it in America.

George Floyd
Omer Messinger / Sipa / AP

Joe Biden wins US presidency, defeating incumbent Donald Trump

Joe Biden is the former Vice President (2009-2017) under Barack Obama and Senator of Delaware (1973-2009). He is the 46th president of the United States. He defeated incumbent Donald Trump in a nail-biting election that was plagued with election fraud claims and misinformation.

Former president Donald Trump’s last year of presidency was rough. The country was slammed with a global pandemic and he did little to curb the spread, causing hundreds of thousands of Americans to perish.

EDM stars and DJs reacted to Biden’s historic and “relieving” win.

Joe Biden
By Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies – https://www.facebook.com/JCCIC/photos/a.160320590777112/1976386252503861/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99049160

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