Five Biggest Rock Bands of the 1990s

by on November 17th, 2010
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The 1990s were an interesting time in music. They thankfully ushered out the “Hair Band” craze and replaced it, at the outset of the decade, with Grunge where number of bands emerged from that Northwestern music movement. Los Angeles, always the heart of the music industry contributed bands that really hit their stride in the final decade of the second millennium.

Here are the five biggest rock bands of the 1990s:


There was no bigger band in the early 90s than Nirvana. Led by front man Kurt Cobain, with Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, the Seattle based trio hit the big time with their album “Nevermind.” The 1991 album was certified Diamond with over 10 million copies sold in the US while internationally the album sold more than 30 million copies. “Nevermind” catapulted Nirvana to the peak of the rock music world. Their songs reached the teenagers of Generation X and were immensely popular with the youth culture. Sadly, the fame was too much for Cobain to handle and he took his own life in 1994.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Peppers began in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s but failed to find success until their epic 1991 release “Blood, Sugar, Sex Magik.” That album pushed the band into the forefront of modern rock. A few personnel changes caused missteps, but they regained their momentum with 1999’s “Californication.” It sold five million copies domestically and more than 15 million worldwide. The Chili Peppers had two phenomenal albums that bookmarked the beginning and end of the 1990s.

The Smashing Pumpkins

Arguably the most prolific alternative rock band of the 1990s, the Smashing Pumpkins, was led by guitarist and lead singer Billy Corgan. The band’s first mainstream success came with the release of their 1993 album “Siamese Dream” which sold more than four million copies in the US alone. Their follow up was one of the finest albums of the decade; the double album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” The 1995 double album featured 28 songs, cut down from an initial 56 written by Corgan. The Smashing Pumpkins remained at the front of alternative rock until their breakup in 2000.

Rage Against the Machine

The rap funk alternative metal band began in Los Angeles in 1991 led by lead singer Zach De La Rocha and guitarist Tom Morello. Certainly the most politically active of all mainstream bands of the decade, Rage Against the Machine used their music to make a number of powerful social statements while also attracting a large following across the country. The genius of their music grew too great as the band broke up in 2000, but they did reconnect in 2007.

Foo Fighters

After the unfortunate demise of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl decided to switch instruments and begin anew. Grohl recorded all of the musical tracks on the band’s self-titled debut “Foo Fighters.” After its initial success, Grohl added three band mates and launched another world famous music group. The releases of their next two albums “The Colour and the Shape” and “There is Nothing Left to Lose” catapulted the band into the mainstream and music stardom. More than 17 years later the Foo Fighters are going strong.

Source: Rob O’Connor, The 25 Best Alternative Rock Bands Of The 1990s, Yahoo

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