With new drummer Dave Grohl in tow, Nirvana released Nevermind and went from being young upstarts in an underground scene to being the biggest band in the world. With songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Come As You Are” and “Lithium”, the band was at their most inviting and radio friendly. This is the album that made Kurt Cobain a larger-than-life figure and the voice of a generation.
Pearl Jam were the most commercial and mainstream band in Grunge, but the duelling guitar interplay between Mike McCready and Stone Gossard and Eddie Vedder’s deep powerful voice silenced any doubt that they were the real deal. Their debut album Ten has remained their most loved and successful album, featuring the hit tracks “Alive”, “Black”, “Jeremy” and “Even Flow”.
It’s a miracle that Dirt was even made what with all the drugs. Unsurprisingly the band’s music had become darker, focussing on depression, addiction and death. The hit songs “Would?”, “Rooster” and “Down In A Hole” showcase the band at their very best. Tragically frontman Layne Staley would later die from a heroin overdose, but he left a lasting impression with this incredible album.
Following the success of their previous album Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden sought to experiment and explore a wider range of influences. Superunknown features alternate tunings, odd time signatures and Eastern tinges that took Grunge to new places. It’s perhaps most evident in their biggest hit, the surreal “Black Hole Sun”.