Top 10 Alternative Rock Bands of the 90’s


During the 1990s there were a lot of new groups emerging from the Alternative Rock scene. This is still really Rock music, but it is considered to be unconventional or outside of the general Rock box so to speak. It encompasses sub-genres like Grunge, Punk, New Wave, and others. Although alternative rock began in the ’70s and moved through the ’80s, it really took off during the ’90s. Listed below are some of the best Alternative rock bands of that era.


Although as Rock groups go, Nirvana may have had a shorter number of successful years than some. However, they were some really great years. Starting out in 1987, they really hit the mainstream music scene around the early ’90s. The groups founding members, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, met in Washington state while attending high school. They went through a few different names before deciding on Nirvana and had different drummers until Dave Grohl joined the group in 1990. Some of their best hits were “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Heart-Shaped Box”, “About a Girl”, and “All Apologies”. Sadly, Kurt Cobain killed himself in 1994.

The Cranberries

This Irish band was formed in 1989. Niall Quinn, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler made up the group. In 1990, the lead singer of the Cranberries, Niall Quinn was replaced by singer Delores O’Riordan. The band was very successful but took a break from 2003 until 2009. They finally disbanded in 2019 after O’Riordan was drowned in 2018. The group released 8 albums and had a number of hits including “Dreams, I Still Do” and the most memorable was “Zombie” released in 1994.


Although U2 was formed in 1976 in Ireland, they have enjoyed decades of great success. In the 1990s the group went through some creative changes that hurled them to even greater success than they had enjoyed in the 1980s. The band members, Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., got together in high school and four years later signed with Island records. Bono especially has become an activist over the years for causes like AIDS and Africa. The group still performs together to this day. Their most memorable songs are “With or Without You”, “New Year’s Day”, “In the Name of Love”, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Formed in 1983 in Los Angeles, this is an American group that has also survived for a number of decades. Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Flea, and Chad Smith make up the band. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the best selling Alternative rock bands of all time and have won six Grammy awards besides. The band did go through some shakeup in its members over the years. The 1990s were great years for the group. Some of the band’s greatest hits include “Under the Bridge”, “Californication”, and “Give it Away”.

Stone Temple Pilots

The story of how the band actually started in the earliest years is a little sketchy. They also had other band names including Mighty Joe Young before settling on Stone Temple Pilots. The real start that propelled them to recognition was in San Diego in 1989. The group gained its fame in the 1990s. Scott Weiland, Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz made up the band until Weiland was fired in 2013. Weiland died of an overdose in 2015. Jeff Gutt joined the group as lead singer in 2017. Some of their better-known hits are “Vaseline”, “Creep”, and “Sex Type Thing”.

Foo Fighters

The origination of the Foo Fighters is interesting. The band was formed in 1994 by the former drummer of the band Nirvana. David Grohl started the group in Seattle Washington after the death of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana’s lead singer. Although the band has had members come and go over their long career, they are still playing today with great success. The latest members are Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffee. Some of the group’s best music includes “Learn to Fly”, “Monkey Wrench”, “Everlong”, and more recent hits include “The Pretender” and “Walk”.

Pearl Jam

Formed in Seattle in 1990, Pearl Jam has enjoyed a fantastic if not sometimes a rocky ride through the years. Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder are the founding members. Matt Cameron joined in 1998. The group’s first album, Ten, had a slow start when it was released in 1991. It consisted of songs that had dark subject matters such as suicide. Although it finally took off and remained of Billboard charts for five years. The band is still touring today. Their best songs were “Better Man”, “Even Flow”, “Alive”, and “Black”.

The Smashing Pumpkins

Formed in 1988 in Chicago by frontman Billy Corgan and others, this group like many other older bands has had their lineup of members altered from time to time over the years. The current members include Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin, James Iha, and Jeff Schroeder. The band has released many albums during their formation. The group broke up in 2000, but have since reunited in 2018. Some of the best musical hits are “1979”, “Tonight”, “Tonight”, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, and “Zero”.

Green Day

Having been formed in 1987 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and vocalist Mike Dirnt in East Bay of California, Green Day is yet another alternative rock band that has lived on through decades. They’ve won a total of five Grammy Awards although they have been nominated 20 times over the years. Their fist albums Dookie and Insomniac were two of their best works in the ’90s. They enjoyed renewed success in 2004 with the release of American Idiot. The group is still together and has a tour planned for 2020. “Welcome to Paradise”, “Basket Case”, “Holiday”, and “Longview” are some of their more memorable songs.


Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and lead Michael Stipe formed the group out of Athens Georgia in 1980. Bill Berry did leave the band in 1997. The band did eventually stopped working, so to speak, in 2011. However, it appears to have been a mutual thing and not born of drug abuse or any break in friendship. “Losing My Religion”, “It’s the End of The World as We Know It”, and “Everybody Hurts” are three of their best songs from over the years.


Add Comment