The Northridge Earthquake rocked southern California on January 17, 1994, just two days after Harry Nilsson died. Aftershocks rumbled during Harry's funeral where someone joked that the earthquake was the result of Harry getting to heaven and discovering that there is no bar there.


The 1994 Northridge Earthquake was a moment magnitude 6.7 (Mw), blind thrust earthquake that occurred on January 17, 1994, at 4:30:55 a.m. PST in the San Fernando Valley region of the City of Los Angeles. The quake had a duration of approximately 10–20 seconds, and its peak ground acceleration of 1.82 g was the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America. Shaking was felt as far away as San Diego, Turlock, Las Vegas, Richfield, Phoenix, and Ensenada. The peak ground velocity at the Rinaldi Receiving Station was 183 cm/s (4.1 mph; 6.6 km/h), the fastest ever recorded. Two 6.0 Mw  aftershocks followed, the first about one minute after the initial event and the second approximately 11 hours later, the strongest of several thousand aftershocks in all. The death toll was 57, with more than 9,000 injured. In addition, property damage was estimated to be $13–50 billion (equivalent to $24–93 billion in 2021), making it among the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.