A look at the best grunge music of the 1990s and how it influenced popular culture and fashion.
Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It was released as the lead single from their second album, Nevermind (1991), on September 10, 1991. The surprise success of the single propelled Nevermind to the top of several international charts, including the Billboard 200 in the United States. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became Nirvana’s breakthrough hit, establishing them as one of the most popular and influential rock bands of the 1990s.
Pearl Jam- Even Flow
“Even Flow” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. It is the second single from the band’s debut album, Ten (1991). The music video features concert footage of the band performing in Seattle, Washington. “Even Flow” peaked at number three on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was included on Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (greatest hits 1991–2003).
In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked “Even Flow” at number 488 in their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2009, it was voted ninth by readers of Guitar World in a poll of the greatest guitar solos of all time. In 2017, NME placed it at number 28 in their list of 150 Best Tracks of the Nineties.
Alice in Chains- Man in the Box
“Man in the Box” is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains. It was released as the second single from their debut studio album, Facelift (1990). The song includes a quote from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Lead singer Layne Staley said the band released the song as a single because it was “easy to sing along with”. The song peaked at No. 18 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1992, the song won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Soundgarden- Black Hole Sun
One of the most iconic songs of the 90s grunge era, “Black Hole Sun” was released by Soundgarden in 1994. The song was included on the band’s fourth studio album, Superunknown, which was a critical and commercial success. “Black Hole Sun” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Stone Temple Pilots- Interstate Love Song
Stone Temple Pilots was an American rock band from San Diego, California, that originally comprised Scott Weiland, brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo (both of whom play guitar), and Eric Kretz (drums). They first gained prominence with their debut album, Core, which became a commercial success. The band went on to become one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1990s, selling more than 40 million records worldwide.
The band’s fifth album, Purple, released in 1994, was their last album with Weiland. In 2016, the band reached a new milestone when their self-titled album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart.