Top 5 Grunge Bands Of All Time

It would be impossible to describe the music scene of the 1990’s without mentioning the alternative rock music scene which dominated from the early part of the decade toward its middle part. Furthermore, the rise of grunge music that time defines an important part of what has been the alternative rock phenomenon in that decade. Grunge music is sometimes referred to as “Seattle Sound” because a lot of the bands then were from Seattle.&

In enumerating the best bands of the grunge music scene then, (and justifying the choices in the process,) the following five of the biggest band names of the movement definitely made their mark in half-decade run highlighted by bands’ quick rise to fame and success but marred by problems such as drug abuse and a short period of fame for rock bands.

5. Soundgarden

Soundgarden was actually formed in 1984 in Seattle, Washington but did not actually gain success and recognition until the 1990’s because of Nirvana and Pearl Jam’s eventual success that plunged the entire grunge music scene into mainstream music. Soundgarden’s defining album in 1994, “Superunknown,” became their most successful album. The album itself ranked number 1 in the Billboard Top 200 charts and was nominated for the “Best Rock Album” in the Grammy Awards in 1995. The more renowned Soundgarden singles from the album, “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman,” each won a Grammy award.

4. Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains was another rock band from Seattle, Washington. The group was formed in 1987 and would eventually release three albums and an EP, “Jar of Flies,” responsible for over 10 million copies sold worldwide up to date. The group was known for their guitar-intense and distortion-filled music as exemplified in their album, “Dirt,” and this had a lot to do the group’s signature guitar-driven attack by Jerry Cantrell and vocalist Layne Staley’s singing.

Despite the successful tours, live performances and album releases by Alice in Chains however, Staley’s drug problems would affect the band’s future and his eventual death from substance overdose would cause its inevitable unofficial disbanding.

3. Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots, (STP) is one big grunge rock band name that is from outside of Seattle. With over 17 million album copies of the group’s 5 albums sold in the U.S. alone, 15 singles topping the Billboard charts, a Grammy Award for “Best Hard Rock Performance” and several American Music Awards tucked under the group’s belt, STP remains as one of the more popular names among alternative bands in the early 1990’s.

Something noteworthy about STP is that despite the instantaneous rise in their number of fans because of their equally instantaneous successful debut album, “Core”, so did the harsh criticisms against them. In fact the “Rolling Stone” magazine in January 1994 simultaneously had the group as the “Best New Band” according to its readers and the “Worst New Band” according to its music critics. Nevertheless, Stone Temple Pilots would eventually release four more successful albums to etch a name among the grunge music groups of the generation before eventually disbanding in 2002.

2. Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is another Seattle-based grunge rock band and is responsible for the album, “Ten.” “Ten” together with Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” is generally considered to had catapulted alternative rock in the early 90’s towards the mainstream music spotlight. While “Nevermind” was generally considered to have had a greater role in plunging the whole alternative rock business mainstream, “Ten” still had considerate influence on the runaway success that was the 1990’s alternative rock. Pearl Jam’s album in itself is certified 12x platinum at present and remains the group’s most successful album.

The band has been criticized early in its career as a “corporate cash-in” on the phenomenal rise of alternative rock during that time but would eventually prove to be praiseworthy because of the different causes it stood up for such as going against rock star excess, their much publicized battle against Ticketmaster and their refusal to create music videos of their shows. It is also worth noting that Pearl Jam has outlasted a lot of its contemporaries and its

1. Nirvana

The grunge group that tops the list has to be Nirvana. With the remarkable success of its single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” from its 1991 album, “Nevermind,” Nirvana almost single-handedly brought the whole alternative rock commercial success. The album in itself has already sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. and more than 25 million internationally. Because of its feat, Nirvana is considered to be the “flagship band of Generation X” as aptly worded by Michael Azerrad of Rolling Stone.

Nirvana was so noteworthy in placing so much passion in perfecting its music that it had a lot of other drummers before being satisfied with Dave Grohl and it had to redo some of its songs such as “All Apologies” and “Heart Shaped Box” because it did not sound “perfect.”

Nirvana’s run came to a halt after Kurt Cobain’s death on April 8, 1994. However the support of Nirvana fans whose ranks have swelled by then for Nirvana records released after Cobain's death only serve to highlight the legacy left by the band on the movement that was grunge rock.


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