Welcome to the year 1997!
Below you will find the list I compiled of major events, trends, world leaders, cost of living, and popular culture for the year 1997. I hope this helps you with the baby book, time capsule, or commemorative project you’re working on. If you don’t feel like writing down all this information, take a look at the printable options available.
Affiliate links have been incorporated into this post to provide you with further information about trends and popular items during this period of time.
Printables for 1997:
Newspaper / The Year I Was Born / World Around Me / Full Post PDF
Research Contributor: Pat Ruppel
1997 Cost of things (U.S. Averages):
Minimum Wage ~ Highest: $5.75 in District of Columbia & Lowest: $1.60 in Wyoming (dol.gov)
Gallon of Milk~ $2.61/yr avg (bls.gov)
Dozen Eggs (Large, Grade A) ~ $1.06/yr avg (bls.gov)
Loaf of bread (1-lb white) ~ $.87/yr avg (bls.gov)
U.S. Postage Stamp ~ $.32 (Wikipedia)
New Car Price ~ $16,900 (thepeoplehistory.com)
Regular Unleaded Gallon of Gas ~ $1.23/yr avg (bls.gov)
Movie Ticket ~ $4.59 (Boxofficemojo.com)
Median Sales Price of New House ~ $146,000 (Census.gov)
Median Household Income ~ $37,005 (± 281) (Census.gov)
1997 World Leaders:
Bill Clinton, President of the United States
Madeleine Albright, United States Secretary of State
Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
Jiang Zemin, People’s Republic of China
Akihito, Emperor of Japan
Roman Herzog, President of Germany
Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia
Sir John Major (until May ’97) then Tony Blair became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Pope John Paul II of Vatican City
Jacques Chirac, President of France
Shankar Dayal Sharma (until July ‘97) then K. R. Narayanan became President of India
Ezer Weizman, President of Israel
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
1997 Top Technology:
1997 Top Televisions:
Phillips introduced a 42-inch (107 cm) display, with 852×480 resolution – only plasma to be displayed to retail public in four Sears locations in the U.S.
Pioneer introduces the world’s first high definition 50-inch plasma display for consumer use.
1997 Mobile phones:
1997 Top Wearable Technology:
1997 Computer Desktops, Laptops, Tablets & Readers:
IBM IntelliStation, originally a work-station personal computer, announced in March 1997 as a follow-on to the IBM PC Series 360 and 365
Intel releases NLK Motherboard in March 1997
Intel Pentium II introduced May 7, 1997
AMD releases K6 processor line in April 1997 running at speeds of 166 and 200 MHz.
Apple’s first Power Macintosh G3 desktop introduced in Nov 1997
Apple’s Mac OS 8 released July 26, 1997
Winamp Version 1, a media player, was released in 1997
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 released in October 1997
CD-RW discs were introduced in 1997
Yahoo Mail – an e-mail service was launched in 1997
Adobe Dreamweaver, a proprietary web development tool, was created by Macromedia in 1997
Virtual PC by Connectix — was originally developed as a Macintosh application for System 7.5 and released by Connectix in June 1997
1997 Top Online Social Communities:
(1990’s to 2000’s)
SixDegrees.com – Social networking website is created in 1997, which is said to be the first ever social media website
AsianAvenue – launched July 21, 1997, a social networking website targeted to the Asian American community.
CaringBridge – Sona Mehring creates the original CaringBridge website
AOL Instant Messenger
Windows Live Messenger
March 1 – DVD launched in the United States
March 26 – The first DVDs were released
May – The “DVD Consortium” is replaced by the DVD Forum, open to all other companies.
August 29 – DVD launched in the United States
1997 Top Gaming systems:
Pippin (Apple Bandai Pippin) – a multimedia technology console designed by Apple Computer
Mac (Classic Mac OS/Mac OS 8) – The Macintosh operating system is credited with having popularized the graphical user interface concept
Nintendo 64 – third video game console named for its 64-bit central processing unit released in Europe and Asia
New-Style Super NES – a compact redesign of the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console
Dual Analog Controller – Sony’s first handheld analog controller for the PlayStation
November – First Grand Theft Auto video game launched.
1997 Top Tech Gadgets:
Beanie Babies – Garcia the Bear retired in May ’97 and Beanie Baby Princess introduced Oct ’97 in honor of Princess Diana who died in August ’97.
Tamagotchi – a keychain-sized virtual pet simulation game released in May ‘97.
Automobiles (Electric, hybrid, and self-driving cars)
Chevrolet S-10 EV – an American electric-powered vehicle introduced in 1997
Honda EV Plus – first battery electric vehicle from a major automaker with non-lead acid batteries
Toyota RAV4 EV – all electric version of the popular RAV4 SUV produced by Toyota
General Motors EV1 – an electric car produced and leased by General Motors
Toyota Coaster Hybrid EV – first Japanese series hybrid bus
1997 Top Celebrities:
George Clooney – starred in ER, Batman & Robin and dubbed as People’s Sexiest Man Alive
Tyra Banks – first black model to have a solo Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover
Lee Ann Rimes ~ then 14, was youngest person ever to win a Grammy
Madonna ~ won Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical in Evita
The Notorious B.I.G. ~ murdered in a drive-by shooting in L.A.
Ten Highest Paid Movie Stars . . . (Wikipedia.org)
Tommy Lee Jones
1997 Top Musicians (thepeoplehistory.com)
Nine Inch Nails
1997 Top Athletes:
(Google.com) (topendsports.com) (Wikipedia)
Michael Jordan – Basketball USA
Evander Holyfield – Boxing USA
Oscar De La Hoya – Boxing USA
Michael Schumacker – F1 Motorsports Germany
Mike Tyson – Boxing USA (infamous rematch ended when disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear)
Tiger Woods – Golf USA
Shaquille O’Neal – Basketball USA
Dale Earnhardt – NASCAR USA
Joe Sakic – Hockey Canada
Grant Hill – Basketball USA
1997 Top Sporting Events:
Super Bowl: The Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35–21, earning their third overall Super Bowl victory,
Daytona 500: Jeff Gordon, driving the #24 Chevrolet, won the race.
The Kentucky Derby: 123rd running was won by Silver Charm and ridden by Gary Stevens
The Masters: Tiger Woods won his first major championship 12 strokes ahead of Tom Kite
Stanley Cup: Detroit Red Wings won over the Philadelphia Flyers
NBA Championship: Chicago Bulls beating the Utah Jazz 4 games to 2
Wimbledon: Men’s singles: Pete Sampras
Wimbledon: Women’s singles: Martina Hingis
FIFA World Cup: no cup final in 1997 – in 1998 France won over Brazil 3-0
Women’s World Cup: no FIFA women’s world cup in 1997 – in 1999 US won over China 0-0 with a penalty shootout
World Series: Florida Marlins won first World Series over Cleveland Indians 4 games to 3
Olympics: next in 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan
1997 Top Songs:
Something About the Way You Look Tonight – Elton John and rewrote his 1973 single Candle in the Wind 1997 as a tribute to Princess Diana
Foolish Games/You Were Meant for Me – Jewel
I’ll Be Missing You – Puff Daddy and American singer Faith Evans, featuring R&B Group 112
Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton
Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down – Puff Daddy featuring Mase
I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
Don’t Let Go (Love) – En Vogue
Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison
How Do I Live – LeAnn Rimes
Wannabe – Spice Girls
Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) – Backstreet Boys
MMMBop – Hanson
For You I Will – Monica
You Make Me Wanna. . . – Usher
Bitch – Meredith Brooks
Other Popular Songs in 1997:
Nobody – Keith Sweat featuring Athena Cage
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik
Hard to Say I’m Sorry – Az Yet featuring Peter Cetera
Mo Money – Mo Problems – The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase
The Freshmen – The Verve Pipe
I Want You – Savage Garden
I Belong to You (Every Time I See Your Face) – Rome
Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G.
Every Time I Close My Eyes – Babyface
In My Bed – Dru Hill
Say You’ll Be There – Spice Girls
Do You Know (What It Takes) – Robyn
4 Seasons of Loneliness – Boyz II Men
1997 Top Television Shows:
ER – 21.2 rating
Seinfeld – 20.5
Suddenly Susan – 17.0
Friends – 16.8
The Naked Truth – 16.8
Fired Up – 16.5
Monday Night Football – 16.0
The Single Guy – 14.1
Home Improvement – 14.0
Touched By An Angel – 13.6
1997 Top Movies:
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Men in Black
Tomorrow Never Dies
Air Force One
As Good As It Gets
My Best Friend’s Wedding
The Fifth Element
The Full Monty
Other popular movies…
1997 Top Books:
(NY Times Fiction Best Seller) (Goodreads.com)
Airframe ~ Michael Crichton
Hornet’s Nest ~ Patricia Cornwell
Sole Survivor ~ Dean Koontz
The Partner ~ John Grisham
Pretend You Don’t See Her ~ Mary Higgins Clark
Plum Island ~ Nelson DeMille
Special Delivery ~ Danielle Steel
Unnatural Exposure ~ Patricia Cornwell
Flood Tide ~ Clive Cussler
The Ghost ~ Danielle Steel
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Alborn
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster – Jon Krakauer
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
Gun, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki
Naked – David Sedaris
Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1) – Lee Child
Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle
1997 Top Children’s Books:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ~ J.K. Rolling
Ella Enchanted ~ Gail Carson Levine
Out of the Dust ~ Karen Hesse
Seedfolks ~ Paul Fleischman
The Subtle Knife ~ Andrew Pullman
Harry the Poisonous Centipede: A Story to Make You Squirm (first in the Harry the Poisonous Centipede trilogy) ~ Lynn Reid Banks
Wolf: The Journey Home ~ Asta Bowen
The Grass House ~ Cao Wenxuan
Budgie the Little Helicopter ~ Sarah Ferguson
A Ring of Tricksters: Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa ~ Virginia Hamilton (with Barry Moser)
The Veil of Snows ~ Mark Helprin (with Chris Van Allsburg)
Lady Muck (illustrated by Jonathan Heale) ~ William Mayne
The Moorchild ~ Eloise Jarvis McGraw
The Two Bullies ~ Junko Morimoto
Dippers ~ Barbara Nichol (with Barry Moser)
The Adventures of Captain Underpants ~ Dav Pilkey
Big Red Tequila ~ Rick Riordan
1997 Top Fashion and Trends:
Block heeled shoes
Incorporated ethnic chic cloth (khadi, paisley, silk) into Western inspired clothing patterns for shirts, blouses featuring embroidery
Union jack motifs inspired by the Cool Britannia movement
Flak jackets with camouflage patterns
Bright colors making a comeback
Knee socks associated with the school girl look
Conservative chic, capri pants
Grungy look for men phasing out – more dressy casual look
Gothic look makeup
Rachel Green haircut popular (from Friends)
1997 World Population:
1997 Top News and Major Events:
January 20 – Bill Clinton is sworn in for second term as President of the United States.
January 22 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State, after confirmation by the United States Senate.
February 5 – The so-called “Big Three” banks in Switzerland announce the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.
March 4 – U.S. President Bill Clinton bans federal funding for any research on human cloning.
March 13 – India’s Missionaries of Charity chooses Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader.
March 13 – The Phoenix Lights, a series of UFOs, are seen over Phoenix, Arizona.
March 22 – The Comet Hale–Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth.
April 18 – The Red River of the North breaks through dikes and floods Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, causing US $2 billion in damage.
April 21 – A Pegasus rocket carries the remains of 24 people into earth orbit, in the first space burial.
May 2 – The Labour Party of the United Kingdom returns to power for the first time in 18 years, with Tony Blair becoming Prime Minister in a landslide majority in the 1997 general election.
May 11 – IBM’s Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, the first time a computer beats a chess World champion in a match.
May 15 – The United States government acknowledges existence of the “Secret War” in Laos (1953–1975) during the Vietnam War, and dedicates the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other “Secret War” veterans.
May 27 – The second-deadliest tornado of the 1990s hits in Jarrell, Texas, killing 27 people.
June 11 – In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons votes for a total ban on handguns.
June 13 – A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
June 25 – A massive eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat leads to evacuation and eventual abandonment of the capital, Plymouth.
An unmanned Progress spacecraft collides with the Russian space station Mir.
July 4 – NASA’s Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
July 8 – Mayo Clinic researchers warn that the dieting drug “fen-phen” can cause severe heart and lung damage.
NATO invites the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999.
July 17 – The F. W. Woolworth Company closes after 117 years in business.
July 21 – On her 200th birthday, the fully restored USS Constitution (aka “Old Ironsides”) sets sail for the first time in 116 years.
The first genetically modified 3 parent baby is born.
August 4 – 185,000 Teamsters Union United Parcel Service drivers walk off the job.
August 6 – Microsoft buys a $150 million share of financially troubled Apple Computer.
August 31 – Death of Diana, Princess of Wales: Diana, Princess of Wales is taken to a hospital after a car accident shortly after midnight, in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris. She is pronounced dead at 3:00 am.
September 6 – The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, takes place at Westminster Abbey, watched by over 2 billion people worldwide.
September 7 – The F-22 Raptor makes its first test flight.
September 11 – Scotland votes to create its own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.
September 26 – An earthquake strikes the Italian regions of Umbria and Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse.
October 15 – NASA launches the Cassini–Huygens probe to Saturn.
October 16 – The first color photograph appears on the front page of The New York Times.
October 29 – Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq says it will begin shooting down Lockheed U-2 surveillance planes being used by UNSCOM inspectors.
November 11 – Telecom companies WorldCom and MCI Communications announce a US$37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom (the largest merger in U.S. history).
November 19 – In Des Moines, Iowa, Bobbi McCaughey gives birth to septuplets in the second known case where all 7 babies are born alive, and the first in which all survive infancy.
November 24 – Stock markets around the world crash because of a global economic crisis scare and in response to a 554.26 point free fall on November 24th , New York Stock Exchange officials invoked the “circuit breaker” rule and put a halt to trading.
November 27 – NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission is launched, the start of the satellite component of the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System.
December 3 – In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign a treaty prohibiting the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel land mines. However, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, South Korea and 32 other nations do not sign and/or ratify the treaty.
December 10 – The capital of Kazakhstan is moved from Almaty to Astana.
December 29 – Hong Kong begins to kill all the chickens within its territory (1.25 million) to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.
1997 Pop Culture:
(Wikipedia.com) (www.thepeoplehistory.com/1997) (Pop Culture Trivia)
March 9 – Notorious B.I.G. Shot and killed in drive-by shooting.
March 22 – Tara Lipinski, 14, becomes the youngest women’s world figure skating champion.
March 31 – The popular children’s television show Teletubbies debuts on BBC 2.
April – Tiger Woods at 21 years old became the youngest ever golfer to win the Masters
May 8 – Playhouse Disney launches.
June 26 – Bloomsbury Publishing publishes J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in London.
June 27 – Walt Disney Feature Animation’s thirty-fifth animated feature Hercules is released.
June 28 – Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match and is suspended from boxing.
August 4 – Jeanne Calment, the oldest person ever, dies at age 122 years 164 days in Arles, France.
August 13 – The controversial animated sitcom South Park debuts on Comedy Central.
October 12 – Singer/songwriter/environmental activist, John Denver, died at the age of 53 flying his personal experimental canard aircraft in a single-fatality crash.
November – The Lion King Musical on Broadway debuts.
December 19 – James Cameron’s Titanic, the then highest-grossing film of all time, premieres in the U.S.
(more Pop Culture news in 1997)
-The 60’s TV show Lost in Space, as written, took place in 1997.
-Julia “Butterfly” Hill, on December 10, 1997, ascended 180 feet up the redwood tree Luna to stave off Pacific Lumber Co. loggers who were clear-cutting. Hill lived on two 6-by-6-foot platforms for 738 days until a resolution was reached with the logging company.
-Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak swapped places on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune as an April Fool’s Day joke.
-LeAnn Rimes was the youngest person ever to win the ‘Best New Artist” Grammy.
(Wikipedia.com) (livescience.com) (iflscience.com)
January 17 – Explosion of a Delta II rocket carrying a military GPS payload shortly after liftoff from Cape Canaveral.
February 13 – Tune-up and repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope is started by astronauts from the Space Shuttle Discovery.
February 22 – In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly has been successfully cloned and was born in July 1996.
February 27 – GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, strikes the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way.
March 4 – United States President Bill Clinton bars federal funding for any research on human cloning.
March 8 – Complete solar eclipse
March 24 – Partial lunar eclipse.
April 25 – Scientists announce that Human artificial chromosomes have been created.
May – High Resolution Fly’s Eye Cosmic Ray Detector (HiRes) is built and operated on the Dugway Proving Grounds in the western Utah desert.
May 10 – The 7.3 Mw Qayen earthquake shakes eastern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). At least 1,567 were killed and 2,300 were injured.
July 4 – Mars Pathfinder lands on the surface of Mars.
July 10 – In London, scientists report their DNA analysis findings from a Neanderthal skeleton, which support the out of Africa theory of human evolution, placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
August 25 – Launch of Explorer 71 of the Explorer program of spacecraft.
September – Partial solar eclipse.
Total lunar eclipse.
September 7 – First test flight of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fifth-generation jet fighter.
September 15 – The domain name for the web search engine Google is registered.
October 15 – Launch of 10-year Cassini–Huygens spacecraft to Saturn.
October 15 – The first supersonic land speed record is set by the ThrustSSC team from the United Kingdom.
October 30 – First successful test flight of the ESA’s Ariane 5 expendable launch system.
November 6 – The discovery of KLOTHO is reported, a gene involved in human aging
(more Science in 1997)
-14 year old Nathan Zohner was able to get 43 out of 50 of his classmates to vote to ban “Dihydrogen Monoxide” for his science fair project. His project aimed to prove that the use of true facts can lead the ignorant public to false conclusions. He won first prize. Dihydrogen Monoxide is another description for ‘water’.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking), was often considered too expensive to realistically pursue until an engineer discovered more efficient methods in 1997. Although Nicholas Steinsberger saved his company and changed the industry, he did not receive a bonus from the company, Mitchell Energy.
Steve Jobs returns to Apple Computer, Inc at Macworld in Boston as a consultant after the company purchases his software startup NeXT.
Food and Drug Administration approval of daclizumab, the first humanized antibody therapeutic
Megalosaurus and Cetiosaurus footprints are identified at Ardley, Oxfordshire, by Christopher Jackson.