Grunge Music Trivia: How Much Do You Know?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Take our quiz to see how much you know about grunge music! This quiz includes questions about some of the most popular grunge bands, songs, and albums.

What is Grunge Music?

Grunge music is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged in the mid-1980s. Musically, grunge is generally characterized by heavy guitar riffs, distorted sound, and a thick, often impenetrable wall of guitar noise. Lyrically, grunge songs often deal with disaffected youth and social alienation.

The History of Grunge

Grunge music developed in the Pacific Northwest United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was a fusion of heavy metal and punk rock, and was popularized by bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Grunge music was characterized by its raw sound, distorted guitars, and soft/loud dynamics.

Grunge music became mainstream in the early 1990s with the help of Nirvana’s album Nevermind, which was released in 1991. This album featured the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which became a huge hit and catapulted Nirvana into the spotlight. Grunge music continued to be popular throughout the early 1990s with bands such as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden releasing successful albums. However, grunge music’s popularity began to decline in the mid-1990s due to the deaths of some of its key figures (Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell), as well as a shift in public taste.

Despite its decline in popularity, grunge music continues to influence many modern rock bands. Many current rock bands have cited grunge bands as an influence, and some even emulate the grunge sound.

The Sound of Grunge

Grunge music is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged in the mid-1980s. grunge music is characterized by its dirty, distorted sound and its heavy use of feedback. Grunge music is also known for its DIY (do it yourself) ethic and for its anti-establishment lyrics.

Grunge music was popularized by Nirvana, a Seattle-based band who broke into the mainstream with their 1991 album Nevermind. Other important grunge bands include Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Grunge music was popularized by Nirvana, a Seattle-based band who broke into the mainstream with their 1991 album Nevermind. Other important grunge bands include Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.

Grunge music faded from the mainstream in the late 1990s, but its influence can still be heard in modern rock music.

Grunge Bands

Grunge music emerged in the early 1990s and became a dominant style in the Seattle music scene. Bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden were some of the most popular grunge bands. Grunge music was marked by its heavy guitar sound and angsty lyrics. If you’re a fan of grunge music, how much do you really know about it? Let’s find out!


Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and final drummer being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990. Though less reported than other regions, the Pacific Northwest was an especially fertile ground for alternative music in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with Seattle being a particularly significant center for grunge bands.

The band’s “unplugged” performance on MTV in 1993 became a defining moment for generation X and Nirvana quickly became one of the most popular rock bands of all time. With their fusion of pop melodies with fuzz guitar distortion and feedback, Nirvana brought punk rock into the mainstream for the first time. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility in 2014.

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. The band’s lineup consists of founder Eddie Vedder (lead vocals, guitar), Jeff Ament (bass guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar), Mike McCready (lead guitar), and Matt Cameron (drums). Since its inception, the band’s line-up has remained unchanged—with the exception of the departure of drummer Dave Krusen in 1991 after the recording of the band’s debut album, Ten—and has often been cited as one of the key groups in the grunge movement of the early 1990s.

Pearl Jam rose to prominence with their debut album Ten, which peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in 1992 and was certified diamond by the RIAA in 2013 for shipping more than ten million copies in the United States. Their popularity fitted into grunge music’s overall success on alternative rock radio stations. “Even Flow” and “Alive” from Ten were some of reportedly more than 500 songs written by Vedder during 1991–1992; Vedder chose “Jeremy” as one of just five to record. They followed this release with Vs., which entered at number one on Billboard 200, spending five weeks there and eventually selling over 950,000 copies in just a month. Vitalogy was also very successful; it debuted at number one on Billboard 200 and went platinum within two months.


Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band’s full-time drummer in 1986, while bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990.

Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The initial lineup was rounded out by drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr, who was replaced in 1993 by Mike Inez. While the band’s primary genre is generally considered to be heavy metal, they are also often identified as grunge pioneers.

The band’s debut album, Facelift (1990), was a commercial success and received critical acclaim. It became the first grunge album to achieve diamond status in the United States for sales of over ten million copies. The success of the singles “Man in the Box”, “Sea of Sorrow”, and “Would?” helped bring mainstream attention to the band. Their second album, Dirt (1992), was equally successful and achieved five times platinum status. It includes the singles “Them Bones”, “Angry Chair”, and “Rooster”.

Bob Rock produced their third album, Alice in Chains (1995), which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album included the singles “Grind”, “Heaven Beside You”, and “Again”. It has been cited as one of their darkest and heaviest albums; Staley’s heroin addiction had begun to affect his behavior during its making. During its promotion he sometimes appeared incoherent or drowsy onstage; he would later be diagnosed with bipolar disorder coupled with severe depression.

Their fourth studio album, Black Gives Way to Blue (2009), received gold certification by the RIAA within its first week of release[8] and eventually attained platinum status.[9] The single “Check My Brain” became Alice in Chains’ second song to enter the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number ninety-three[10] and eventually reaching number thirty-six.[11] In 2013, they released The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, their fifth studio album. It debuted at number two on Billboard 200.[12][13]

Grunge Songs

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It was released as the lead single from the band’s second album, Nevermind (1991), in September 1991. The song became a surprise success, reaching number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and charting highly around the world.


“Alive” is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Alive was released as the second single from the band’s debut album, Ten on August 11, 1992. Alive peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song ranked at number two on Guitar World’s list of greatest Pearl Jam songs of all time.

“Black Hole Sun”

“Black Hole Sun” is a song by American rock band Soundgarden. It was released on May 18, 1994 as the third single from the band’s fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994). Despite receiving little radio airplay upon its release, the song became a worldwide success, reaching number one in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Spain. In the United States, the song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Internationally, it topped the charts in mainland Europe and New Zealand and reached the top ten in Canada and Ireland.


Would? is a song by the American rock band Alice in Chains. It was released as a single in May 1992, and is the third track on the band’s second studio album, Dirt (1992). The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999), Music Bank (1999), Greatest Hits (2001), and The Essential Alice in Chains (2006). It peaked at number 31 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The song was written by guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell for his friend Andrew Wood, the former frontman of Mother Love Bone. Wood died of a heroin overdose in 1990. “Would?” is a tribute to him. The music video for “Would?” was directed by Noble Jones, who also directed the videos for Alice in Chains’ previous singles, “Man in the Box” and “Them Bones”. The video features live performance footage of the band intercut with footage of young people engaging in risky activities.

Grunge Fashion

Grunge fashion is a style of fashion that emerged in the early 1990s. It was characterized by plaid shirts, ripped jeans, and flannel shirts. Grunge fashion was popularized by grunge musicians such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

The Origins of Grunge Fashion

The origins of grunge fashion can be traced back to Seattle in the early 1990s. The city was home to a number of underground music scenes, and the style that would come to be known as grunge was worn by bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

Grunge fashion is characterized by its DIY aesthetic and thrift store chic. Clothes are often oversized and layers are key. Grunge fashion is also sometimes described as “anti-fashion” because it rejects traditional ideas about what is considered to be stylish.

Grunge fashion became popular in the mainstream after Kurt Cobain, the frontman of Nirvana, was photographed wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. This iconic image helped to make grunge fashion acceptable to a wider audience.

While grunge fashion is no longer as popular as it once was, it continues to influence modern fashion trends. Many designers have been inspired by grunge style, and elements of the look can often be seen on the runways.

The Grunge Look

Characterized by thrift store finds, ripped jeans, and flannel shirts, the grunge look was made famous by Seattle-based bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden in the early ’90s. While the music scene has changed a lot since then, grunge fashion is still going strong — just take a look at the latest collections from Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent.

If you’re thinking about trying out the grunge look for yourself, start by shopping your own closet (or your local thrift store) for pieces that fit the following criteria:

· Oversized or boxy silhouettes
· Casual fabrics like flannel, denim, or corduroy
· Neutral colors like black, white, gray, or brown
· Exposed seams or raw edges
· Layer upon layer of clothes

Once you’ve assembled a few key pieces, getting the rest of your outfit together is all about mixing and matching — think ripped jeans with an oversized sweater or corduroy overalls with a plaid shirt. And don’t forget the accessories! A pair of Doc Martens or Converse sneakers will complete your look perfectly.

Grunge Culture

Grunge music is a genre of rock music that emerged in the late 1980s. Grunge bands were characterized by their heavy, distorted guitars, dark subject matter, and apathy towards the music industry. If you’re a fan of grunge music, see how much you know about the genre with this quiz.

The Seattle Scene

Grunge music became popular in the early 1990s, with bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam leading the way. The genre was born in Seattle, Washington, where a group of musicians created a new sound that blended elements of punk rock and heavy metal. Grunge music was marked by its raw, distorted sound and dark, often anguished lyrics.

Grunge culture was also characterized by a DIY (do-it-yourself) aesthetic, as bands often created their own album art and promoted their own concerts. Grunge fashion was similarly unpretentious, with flannel shirts and ripped jeans becoming popular among both sexes.

In the early 1990s, grunge culture broke into the mainstream, as Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” topped the charts and Pearl Jam’s “Ten” became one of the best-selling albums of all time. But by the end of the decade, grunge had lost some of its momentum, as many of its leading figures died tragically (Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994) or retired from the music business (Pearl Jam went on hiatus in 1998).

The Slacker Lifestyle

Grunge was a subgenre of alternative rock music that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle. It was known for its DIY ethic, as well as its sound, which incorporated elements of punk rock and heavy metal.

The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle’s independent record label Sub Pop and the region’s underground music scene. Filthy, dirty and scuzzy, with an emphasis on authentic presentation, grunge fashion was anti-fashion; a reaction against the overblown hair-metal scene of the 1980s characterized by ripped jeans, flannel shirts and long hair.

The grunge look was born out of necessity and function; it offered warmth in the form of layers during Seattle’s notoriously rainy winters. Flannel shirts were often worn backwards so that the collar would stand up and provide added warmth to the wearer’s face. Thermals, wool socks, Doc Martens or other sturdy boots were also popular footwear choices.

A sense of apathy or disengagement from society at large was also a key element of grunge culture; “I don’t care” attitude became a ubiquitous slogan associated with the movement. Drug use was common among grunge musicians and fans; marijuana was particularly prevalent given its associations with relaxations and lethargy.

Similar Posts