A Grunge Music Biography You Need to Read

If you’re a fan of grunge music, then you need to read this biography of the genre. It covers the history of grunge music and the bands that defined it.

Kurt Cobain

Born on February 20, 1967, Kurt Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is considered one of the most iconic and influential figures of the grunge music genre. He rose to fame as the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Nirvana, which released its groundbreaking album Nevermind in 1991. Cobain’s highly emotional and angsty lyrics resonated with a Generation X that was disaffected by the Reagan-Thatcher years, and he became a reluctant spokesperson for a generation that rejected mainstream values. He was found dead at his home in Seattle on April 8, 1994, at the age of 27, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Early life

Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20, 1967, at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington, the son of waitress Wendy Elizabeth (née Fradenburg) and automotive mechanic Donald Leland Cobain. His parents were married on July 31, 1965, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. His ancestry included Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish. Cobain’s Irish ancestors migrated from county Tyrone in 1875. Researchers found that they had gone through much hard labor and by 1890 most of them had disappeared as a result of disease and poverty.

Cobain commonly referred to his family as “trailer trash”. He began playing music at an early age and first started playing classical piano until he received his first guitar at the age of 14 which led him to form his first band Fecal Matter. In early 1988 he recorded a demo tape with Fecal Matter which included thefuture Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic who later joined the band full time after hearing the demo. Cobain rarely spoke about his childhood in interviews saying that while details of it were “total hell,” he told biographer Michael Azerrad that he “doesn’t really remember them all that well.”

Rise to fame

In the late 1980s, Nirvana established itself as part of the Seattle grunge scene, releasing its first album, Bleach, on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989. Nirvana found unexpected success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the first single from its second album Nevermind (1991). Released on DGC Records, Nevermind became a surprise success in 1991, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 chart and establishing Nirvana as one of the most popular rock bands of the 1990s.

Nirvana’s sudden success widely popularized alternative rock and grunge music, and Cobain found himself referred to in the media as the “spokesman of a generation”, with Nirvana hailed as the ” flagship band” of Generation X. Cobain reluctantly found himself newly famous and successful, something that bothered him greatly given his claims that he wanted to be famous only because he wanted his music to reach as many people as possible.


Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994, at his home in Seattle, Washington. The official cause of death was suicide by gunshot wound to the head. Cobain was 27 years old at the time of his death.

Cobain’s suicide came as a shock to many fans and music industry insiders. He was considered one of the most talented and influential musicians of his generation. In the years since his death, Cobain has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and articles. His life and legacy continue to be commemorated by fans around the world.

Layne Staley

Layne Staley was an American musician who is best known as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains. Staley was also a member of the glam metal band Sleze, which he co-founded in 1986. He died in 2002 of a drug overdose.

Early life

Layne Thomas Staley was born on August 22, 1967, in Kirkland, Washington. His parents divorced when he was seven, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather. He began playing drums at an early age, and by his teens, he was playing in bands. When he was 17, he dropped out of high school and moved to Seattle to pursue a music career.

In 1987, Staley joined a band called Alice N’ Chains, which released its first EP the following year. The band’s debut album, Facelift (1990), was a commercial success, thanks in part to the popularity of the single “Man in the Box.” The band’s second album, Dirt (1992), was even more successful, and it cemented Alice in Chains’ place as one of the leading bands of the Seattle grunge scene.

In 1993, Staley began using heroin. His drug use would cause problems for him over the next few years, both professionally and personally. He would enter rehab several times but was never able to kick his addiction. In 1996, Alice in Chains released its third album, self-titled Alice in Chains (commonly referred to as “the dog album” because of the band’s iconic logo featuring a dog’s head). The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and went on to be certified quadruple platinum.

The following year, Staley appeared as a guest vocalist on Mad Season’s only album, Above (1995). The project was conceived by Pearl Jam singer Mike McCready as a way to deal with his own heroin addiction. Alice in Chains also recorded a song for the soundtrack of the 1993 film Last Action Hero. The song, “A Little Bitter,” would be the last new song released by Alice in Chains until their comeback album more than 10 years later.

In April 2002, Layne Staley was found dead in his home from a heroin overdose. He was 34 years old.

Rise to fame

Layne Staley rose to fame as the frontman of Alice in Chains, a pioneering grunge band from Seattle. Formed in 1987, the band found success with their debut album Facelift in 1990. The album’s dark and atmospheric sound was a departure from theother grunge bands of the time, and it earned Alice in Chains a devoted following. The band went on to release the even more successful Dirt in 1992, which further established them as one of the leading forces in rock music.

Staley’s performances with Alice in Chains were characterized by his deep, guttural voice and his dark, brooding stage presence. He was widely considered to be one of the best singers in rock music, and his songwriting helped to make Alice in Chains one of the most influential bands of their generation. Tragically, Staley’s battle with addiction would lead to his untimely death in 2002. He was just 34 years old.


Layne Thomas Staley (born in Kirkland, Washington, on August 22, 1967 – died in Seattle, Washington, on April 5, 2002) was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains from 1987 until 1998. He died of a drug overdose at the age of 34.

Staley was born to Nancy Elizabeth (née Layne) and Phillip Blair Staley. His parents divorced when he was seven years old and he was raised by his mother and stepfather, Jim Elmer. He took his stepfather’s name while enrolled in Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, Washington. During his senior year at Meadowdale, Staley joined a local band called Sleze. In 1984, Sleze morphed into Alice N’Chains, which eventually became Alice in Chains.

Staley was nominated for four Grammy Awards for his work with Alice in Chains. The band found success with their second album, Dirt (1992), which was released on Columbia Records. The album has since been certified quadruple-platinum by the RIAA and isAlice in Chains’ most successful release. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 chart and was fueled by the success of its first two singles,”Would?” and “Them Bones”. “Would?” peaked at number 30 on theMainstream Rock Tracks chart while “Them Bones” reached number 20. The third single,”Angry Chair”, reached number 18 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart andnumber 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

AfterAlice in Chainssigned to Capitol Records in 1996, Staley appeared clean and sober onstage for much of their show supporting their self-titled third album; however, during subsequent tours he relapsed into drug addiction. On April 19, 1997, Staley died of a heroin overdose at his home in Seattle at the age of 30; his death was not discovered until two weeks later because he had been locked inside his room by drug paraphernalia.

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was an American musician, singer and songwriter, who was best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the rock band Soundgarden. He also formed the supergroup Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine and had a solo career. Cornell is considered one of the pioneers of the grunge music genre and was one of the architects of the Seattle sound. He died in 2017 at the age of 52.

Early life

Christopher John Boyle, known professionally as Chris Cornell, was an American musician and singer-songwriter. He was best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also a solo artist and had released four solo albums, Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), and Higher Truth (2015). Cornell committed suicide in Detroit, Michigan, on May 18, 2017, at the age of 52.

Cornell was born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in nearby Shirley around 96th Avenue SE and 140th Place SE. His parents are Ether Boyce and Karen Cornell. His maternal grandfather is Canadian-born actor Tommy Douglas. As a teenager he played drums in various local garage bands before forming Soundgarden with Hiro Yamamoto and Kim Thayil in 1984. The band released its first album Ultramega OKup in 1988 on SST Records. In 1991, the band’s breakthrough album Badmotorfinger was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Rise to fame

Chris Cornell was an American rock musician best known as the lead singer and songwriter for Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also a solo artist, and released four studio albums, Euphoria Morning, Carry On, Scream and Higher Truth. Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room on May 18th, 2017 at the age of 52.

Born Christopher John Boyle in Seattle, Washington on July 20th, 1964, Cornell was the youngest of six children. His parents divorced when he was just a child and his mother remarried when he was seven. His stepfather was abusive, both physically and emotionally, which led to Cornell running away from home several times as a teenager. He eventually dropped out of high school and began using drugs.

In the early 1980s, Cornell began playing in various bands around Seattle before co-forming Soundgarden with Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto in 1984. The band released their debut album Ultramega OK in 1988 to critical acclaim, but it wasn’t until their second album, Louder Than Love (1989), that they achieved mainstream success. The album featured the hit single “Loud Love”, which won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1990.

Soundgarden’s next two albums, Badmotorfinger (1991) and Superunknown (1994), were commercial and critical successes, earning them two more Grammy Awards each. Superunknown debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and went on to sell over nine million copies in the United States. It featured the singles “Spoonman”, “Black Hole Sun” and “Fell on Black Days”.

In 1996, Cornell began working with producer Rick Rubin on what would become his solo debut album Euphoria Morning. The album was released in September 1999 to mixed reviews but nevertheless sold well, reaching platinum status in the United States.

After a brief hiatus, Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and released their sixth studio album King Animal in 2012. The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.

Cornell also found success outside of Soundgarden with Audioslave, a supergroup formed with members of Rage Against the Machine in 2001. The group released three albums between 2002 and 2006 before going their separate ways.

Cornell also collaborated with Temple of the Dog – a one-off project featuring members of Pearl Jam – in 1991 to pay tribute to Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood who had died of a heroin overdose months earlier. The group’s self-titled album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release in April 1992.”


On May 18, 2017, Cornell was found unresponsive in his Detroit hotel room after performing at a show with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre. He was 52 years old. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that he had hanged himself.

Cornell’s suicide stunned the music world and prompted an outpouring of grief from fans, peers, and admirers. Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder dedicated his band’s headlining set at the Download Festival to Cornell the following day, and played an emotional version of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” with Chris Stapleton.

Eddie Vedder

Vedder was born Edward Louis Severson III on December 23, 1964, in Evanston, Illinois, to Karen Lee Vedder and Edward Louis Severson, Jr. His parents divorced in 1965, when Vedder was an infant. His mother soon remarried, to Peter Mueller. Vedder was raised believing that Mueller was his biological father, and he went by the name Edward Mueller for a time.

Early life

Eddie Vedder was born Edward Louis Severson III on December 23, 1964, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois. His mother, Karen Lee Vedder (née Lougheed), is a waitress, and his father, Edward Louis Severson II, was a musician who played drums in Desmond & the Tutus, one of Chicago’s first punk bands. Vedder’s parents divorced in 1965; when he was around the age of four or five he and his brothers Peter and Jeff went to live with their maternal grandparents; they subsequently moved to San Diego count to live with their mother’s older sister. His mother remarried another man named Peter Mueller; Vedder was raised believing that Mueller was his biological father.

Vedder’s ancestry includes Dutch and Irish. While attending San Dieguito High School (class of 1982), Vedder fronted a short-lived punk band named Bad Radio. In 1980, at the age of 16, Vedder gained his first musical experience above ground as a roadie for the San Diego punk band Bad Brains

Rise to fame

In 1990, Vedder got his big break when he was recruited to be the lead singer of Pearl Jam, one of the most successful grunge bands of all time. Although Vedder was not the band’s primary songwriter, he played a major role in shaping their sound with his powerful and emotive vocals.

Vedder’s lyrics are often dark and introspective, dealing with topics such as suicide, depression, and addiction. He is also known for his outspoken political views, which have resulted in him being labelled a “left-wing radical.”

In 1993, Pearl Jam released their second album, “Vs.,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. The album was nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

Pearl Jam went on to release several more highly successful albums, including “Vitalogy” (1994) and “Yield” (1998). However, tensions within the band began to surface in the early 2000s, and Vedder took a hiatus from Pearl Jam in 2006 to focus on his solo career.

Vedder returned to Pearl Jam in 2008, and the band has since released two more albums: “Backspacer” (2009) and “Lightning Bolt” (2013). In 2016, Vedder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pearl Jam.

Post-Grunge career

After the dissolution of Pearl Jam in 1998, Vedder released the solo album Into the Wild (2007) soundtrack album, which was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2008 Grammy Awards. He has been ranked as one of the greatest singers of all time by publications such as Rolling Stone and NME. American Songwriter noted that “he has an air about him that screams legends only”. In March 2012, Vedder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Pearl Jam.

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