Classic Grunge Music: The Samples You Need to Hear

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In this post, we take a look at some of the classic grunge tracks that have been sampled by some of your favourite artists.

Nirvana – “Come as You Are”

Nirvana was one of the most influential grunge bands of all time, and “Come as You Are” is one of their most iconic songs. The song’s opening sample is a loop of the guitar riff from the 1966 pop song “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes. The sample is played backwards and sounds like an eerie echo in the distance. This sets the tone for the rest of the song, which is full of angst and frustration.

Pearl Jam – “Alive”

Pearl Jam’s “Alive” is a classic grunge song that features heavy guitar and drums with lead singer Eddie Vedder’s unique and powerful vocals. The lyrics tell the story of a young man who is struggling to find his place in the world, and the song’s memorable chorus (“So alive, I can’t believe I’ve been so alive”) perfectly captures the feeling of youthful angst and rebellion. “Alive” is one of Pearl Jam’s most popular and iconic songs, and it remains a staple of modern rock radio.

Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”

The opening riff of “Black Hole Sun” is one of the most iconic in rock history, and it’s easy to see why. The distorted, detuned guitars give the song an otherworldly feel, and the wah-wah pedal only adds to the sense of unease. But it’s the verse that really stands out, with Chris Cornell’sunique voice taking on a life of its own. The lyrics are cryptic and strange, but they somehow perfectly capture the feeling of paranoia and dread that pervades the song.

Alice in Chains – “Would?”

Alice in Chains is one of the most iconic grunge bands and “Would?” is one of their most signature tracks. The song is built around a sample of the classic 70s recording “I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Willie Dixon. The sample perfectly captures the dark, brooding atmosphere of the song and complements Layne Staley’s powerful vocals.

Stone Temple Pilots – “Creep”

Grunge music is often associated with themes of despair, disillusionment, and angst, and the Stone Temple Pilots song “Creep” is no different. The song tells the story of a man who is struggling to come to terms with his own self-loathing and isolation.

The opening lines of the song set the stage for the dark themes that will be explored throughout the song: “I feel stupid and contagious/ Here we are now, entertain us.” The speaker is clearly in a state of mental distress, and he says that he feels like he is “living in [his] own skin.” This theme of isolation is repeated throughout the song, as the speaker tries to find a way to connect with other people but feels like he is always on the outside looking in.

The lyrics of “Creep” reflect the feeling of being lost and alone that many people experience at some point in their lives. The speaker is searching for a connection with someone else, but he feels like he will never find it. This feeling of hopelessness is something that many people can relate to, and it is one of the things that makes “Creep” such a classic grunge song.

Smashing Pumpkins – “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”

The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” was one of the most popular grunge songs of the 1990s. The song samples a number of classic grunge tracks, including Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” and Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage.”

Temple of the Dog – “Hunger Strike”

Temple of the Dog was an American rock band that was formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. The band consisted of Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Jeff Ament of Mother Love Bone. The band recorded and released one self-titled album in 1991 as a tribute to the late Andrew Wood, the singer of Mother Love Bone.

“Hunger Strike” is the first single from Temple of the Dog’s self-titled album. The song features vocals from both Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. The song was a huge success, reaching #4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Bush – “Glycerine”

Bush’s “Glycerine” is one of the most iconic grunge songs of all time, and it’s also one of the most heavily sampled. The track features a signature distorted guitar riff that has been used in countless other songs, including hits by P. Diddy, Jay-Z, and Lana Del Rey.

Silverchair – “Tomorrow”

Formed in 1992, silverchair was one of the first grunge bands to achieve widespread success. Their debut album, Frogstomp, went multi-platinum and made them overnight superstars. The lead single from the album, “Tomorrow”, is a perfect example of classic grunge music.

While the song is only three minutes long, it packs a lot of punch. The opening chord is distorted and heavy, setting the tone for the rest of the song. The verses are catchy and melodic, with lead singer Daniel Johns delivering his vocals in an almost whispery voice. But it’s the chorus that really makes “Tomorrow” stand out. The guitars drop out for a moment and Johns belts out the catchy hook: “It’s alright / We’ll be tomorrow’s people / It’s alright / We’ll find a better way”.

If you’re looking for a classic grunge song to add to your collection, “Tomorrow” by silverchair is a great choice.

Foo Fighters – “Everlong”

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that “Everlong” is the quintessential grunge song. The song, which was released in 1997 as part of the Foo Fighters’ second album The Colour and the Shape, perfectly encapsulates the sound and feel of the grunge movement.

Musically, “Everlong” is heavy and distorted, with a driving guitar riff that immediately grabs the listener’s attention. The song is also notable for its use of dynamics, alternately softening and then exploding into a wall of sound. Lyrically, the song is equally powerful, with frontman Dave Grohl singing about the strength of love in the face of adversity.

If you’re looking for a classic grunge song that perfectly captures the sound and feeling of the genre, “Everlong” is an excellent choice.

Similar Posts