Best Hard Rock Bands of the 90s

The Top TenXW

1Nirvana

One of the most influential and gifted frontman of all time. Kurt Cobain one of the greatest. Spawning another great band, Foo Fighters. Nirvana will be remembered generations upon gernerations.

Nirvana was truly an idol in the world of rock for a lot of reasons. There songs had meaning. They experimented with what you could do with music period. Kurt was a legend and will be remember for years to come. His music was truly inspirational to many people and bands

Best band I love it! A legend. A magnificent band. The band that changed rock and kurt cobain was a legend too bad he killed himself. Long live Nirvana! Nirvana will be remembered generations upon generations!

Nirvana is my favourite band, and I honestly think they're the best. They've changed my life since I started listening to them and now I'm addicted :/

V36 Comments
2Red Hot Chili Peppers

The only huge rock band to retain its popularity all decade, the Chili Peppers sold about 7 million copies of 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik in the U.S. and about 5.5 million copies of 1999's Californication. This is amazing when contrasted with all their multi-platinum peers. Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day... all those bands' record sales leveled off severely by the end of the decade, to the point where they sold a tiny fraction of their biggest albums. We'll never know how Nirvana would have fared, unfortunately.

Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band that evolved beautifully throughout the 1990's. They had two gigantic hits in the decade with Blood Sugar Sex Majick and Californication. Even the "dud" album One Hot Minute contains 4 or 5 alt rock classics. It's no mistake they were just inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame... They are legends and their music will continue to be popular for a long long time!

The Chili Peppers are rock legends in my books. Flea, John, Chad and Anthony are incredible musicians and when you put them together they make the most funky rock music ever. Frusicante has also inspired my guitar playing and I know all the songs from the chili peppers on guitar! They should be #1 on this list

Very good band

V17 Comments
3Metallica

Metallica is one of the greatest rock bands that even experts say helped pave the way and helped mold hard rock.

Hands down, started my love affair with metal. My friends and I could sit for hours in the car and rock out.

Metallica are the true gods of metal! These guys defined and perfected what metal is. They are true inspiration to all things rock and are the best that ever was. m/ They are not only the best metal band of the 90's, but the 80's, 2000's, and now! The best album ever, the "Black Album" is the #1 album ever sold in the rock industry. My personal favorite is "Re-Load"!

Good band, but their 90s albums sucked in comparison to their 80s work.

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4Alice In Chains

Best Rock Band of the 90s? Alice in Chains #8, stunning. The music this band put out was great, and withstands the test of time. I still listen to these CD's a lot. There are a lot of good bands on this list. Nirvana at #1 for "hard rock" is questionable. Alice was definitely harder, darker and amazingly talented. It goes without saying that this band had the most powerful, soulful, incredible singer on this planet. RIP Layne Staley

AIC should be ranked higher! I don't even consider RHCP hard rock. I'd also wipe my ass with a Bon Jovi ticket just for the chance to hear AIC! With Layne of course.

Absolutely most influential band of the grunge era. Jerry Cantrell had hard hitting riffs and more technical guitar playing than anything Nirvana ever thought of. His tone was legendary on the Facelift album and the band really hit song writing heights with Dirt. I always see Nirvana above these guys, but it's false. Alice was a rock band that had a sound of their own. Something metal heads could take in as their own yet still keeping the sludge factory of grunge going. Not getting into the rock hall of fame would be an absolute mistake for the ages.

Number one... Period

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5Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is the 2nd most influential hard rock band of the 1990s right behind Nirvana. (3rd if you want to make an argument for Alice in Chains. They were the biggest band in the world for at least half of the decade, (The first three albums were mega-huge, selling in the range of 25 million copies). Pearl Jam's last album released in 2009 went to #1 on the charts. They are excellent live and still continue to sell out arenas world wide.

P.S. this is supposed to be a list of the top hard rock bands of the 1990s?!? Get Bon Jovi the hell off of here! They are an 80s band all the way! I would rather see Seven Mary Three make the list because at least they were a 90's band!

Starting with the grunge archetype, they blossomed into so much more. Pearl Jam as broken many boundaries of modern rock to remain relevant and sounding great 20 years later. They're live shows only amplify this as they can draw more emotion from a crowd than any band I've ever seen live.

Aside from Nirvana, Pearl Jam was the most influential band of the Grunge movement. They have many more hits than Nirvana and their popularity has not faltered over the years. - JazzSpaz

Pearl Jam was second to Nirvana

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6Guns N' Roses

WHAT! This band SUCKS! I love all things metal and everything that rocks! m/m/ I love the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion too, which is why I'm stating mine. I think that this is one of the only bands from the(80's) "90's" that I can't stand to listen to. Axle Rose is the worst singer I have ever heard in my life. His voice sounds like nails on a chalk board to me, plus the guy is strange(not in a good way either). I hate what Axle did to Metallica too! What an ASS! (Rock on Metallica! ). But I understand that there are people out there that love this band, and that's cool. Whatever floats your boat. But I think these guys shouldn't even be in the top 100, much less the top 10.

Welcome to the jungle remix- " Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games! The bands above suck and honey we don't know their names! " these bands above are no names. Guns and roses weren't in their prime in the 90 s and ac dc were and amazingly not on the list but for the top ten this band wins.

Guns N' Roses is the best. Axle Rose perfect singer in the world.

Guns N Roses should be number 1 Axl Rose has a vocal range like no other

V22 Comments
7Soundgarden

WAY underrated! When I think of my childhood and reflect on the 90's, I think of Soundgarden. What a band. In my opinion the most diversity of any band of the 90's, from the more mellow "Blow up the Outside World" or "The Day I Tried to Live" to the harder "Fell on Black Days" or "Pretty Noose", this band did it all. Greatest band ever...

The 90's produced some of the most original new sounds that forever changed the Rock and Metal scene. Among the most original is Soundgarden. There is no mistaking Chris Cornell's vocals. Vocalists alone, he is the best with no comparison. Anyone that has an ear for music would have to agree. Added to the rough and raw sound of the band, Chris' vocals are a perfect match. Soundgarden really should be the #1 rock band of the 90's. The world of music truly would not be the same without Soundgarden, and without Chris Cornell. Oh... And lets not forget Temple of the Dog and "Hunger Strike". Thank God for Soundgarden and Chris Cornell! m/m/

Easily number 1. Chris Cornell has no peer in 90s rock. Period. No even comes close. Nirvana is underdeveloped and pitiful next to Soundgarden. Pearl Jam is arguable, they are phenomenal as well. RHCP are amazing... I can't really argue with their spot, since this is 90s rock, not just grunge. Alice in Chains is solid, but not at Soundgardens level. Metallica doesn't even belong on this list. The black album doesn't warrant admission to best rock band of the decade, Especially considering they were much better in a different decade (See Thrash Metal). Bottom line: fantastic song writing, great musicianship, THE BEST HARD ROCK VOCALIST OF HIS TIME, and an expansive body of work. If they were 2nd to RHCPs, I could live with that, but no one above them on this list comes close, ESPECIALLY Nirvana - VisionsOfSight

Great Band. Chris has a very distinct sound weather in soundgarden, Audio Slave or on his own. Lyrics are some of the best.

V5 Comments
8The Smashing Pumpkins

I CANNOT believe SP are this low. understanding that there music can be a bit dark and I generally like music that isn't coming from depression this band is absolutely the best band since the 70s (except possible Guns N Roses although I personally prefer the pumpkins but I can see how that argument could be made). Understanding that I am comparing them to a time when bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Aerosmith were what you got when you turned on your radio (today we get some ass taking garbage into a microphone while a machine plays a beat in the background... because that's music). Nothing against Pearl Jam, Mettallica, Nirvana or even the Chili Peppers (love John Frusciante) but Billy Corgan is truly amazing and everything just worked. Whether it was Billy's creepy voice and complete talent on guitar (my favorite guitar player who's band started in my lifetime with Frusciante a close second), the strangeness of a female bassist in what could easily be considered a male rock band ...more

One of the most innovative bands of the 90's. Billy Corgan is a lyrical poet in every sense of the word! I love how the Smashing Pumpkins took a risk on each album they released and each has a different sound. Not to mention is there a better thematic concept album than melon collie and the infinite sadness? I think not!

Maybe a few spots too high. Smashing pumpkins had some great tunes, but as unique as they were they were always just behind in about every aspect of a band. Vocals? Staley, Cobain, and Cornell were all better. Guitar? Cantrell, Morello, and Slash were more talented and their tones shine through. The songwriting is just a touch behind the likes of other bands. But take nothing away. Smashing Pumpkins is a part of American rock history and rightfully so.. they were a very good band.

I have so much love for this band. There is no other band that can even come close to have a sound like The Smashing Pumpkins. When I think back to the 90's I think about bands like this one and songs like "Today", "1979", "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", "Tonight, Tonight", "Landslide", "Cherub Rock", and on and on. I could talk about this band all day. But those of use that know and love this band, know that this band should be at least in the top 5!

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9Stone Temple Pilots

STP is #1 in my heart because they had diversity in their musical styles throughout each album. You never knew exactly what you were going to get from a new STP album -- all you knew was that it was going to sound amazing. Most of these other bands can be boiled down to three or four general sounds that repeat through their entire discographies (if you're lucky). That is not the case with STP -- they were so talented that they could allow themselves to explore a wide range of styles and sound damn good doing it.

Among so-called alt-rock bands, only Pearl Jam and Nirvana sold more albums in the 1990s than Stone Temple Pilots, but STP was the dominant singles band of the era. Plush, Vasoline, Interstate Love Song, Big Bang Baby, Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart, Lady Picture Show... all those songs reached No. 1. Creep, Big Empty and Sour Girl all made the top four, and the indelible quality of those songs make this band an easy top 10 for the 1990s.

STP were outstanding. They fit near perfectly into an era dominated by Seattle's grunge movement. But did so in their own way. Great vocals and songwriting. Plush and Creep are still waved all over this country.

I love this band and there is no other like it! I hate the fact Scott left (or got kicked out), but Chester Bennington is kick ass too! Rock on STP! m/m/

V8 Comments
10Green Day

Green had a lot of great songs in the 90s: Basket Case, When I Come Around, Brain Stew, Geek Stink Breath, Hitchin a Ride, Scattered, Redundant not to mention songs from 1039 and Kerplunk. They revitalized punk and brought it back to the world. Number 15 is way too low!

Dude... All I have to say is Dookie. Basket Case, When I Come Around, Longview, She, Welcome to Paradise. And not to mention all the stuff after that. Time of Your Life... Hello... More hits than *cough* Nirvana.

Why is Green Day not in the top 10? They should be up in the top 10 somewhere. They revolutionized music in the 90s. This is my favorite band from the 90s. Truly great band.

Green Day are the best! I listen to them all the time. Basket case is the best song

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The Newcomers

?Whitesnake
?Our Lady PeaceV1 Comment

The Contenders

11Nine Inch Nails

One of the most innovative and underrated mainstream acts of the 90s. "The Downward Spiral" and "The Fragile" are way ahead of their time. I would argue that Trent Reznor's contributions to music are as important as Nirvana's. Plus, he's the reason anyone gives a damn about Marilyn Manson, which is a huge contribution in-and-of itself.

The most creative hard rock band of the 90s... Hands down

And still making great music. Spin magazine labeled Trent Reznor the most vital artist in music.

Downward Spiral is amazing

V2 Comments
12Foo Fighters

But they were definitely better in the 2000's. Aurora, Generator, Breakout, For all the cows: all quality songs from the 90's!

They were honestly a joke in the 90s. Not to even be mentioned with Alice, Soundgarden, and Nirvana. The 00s were much better and if I were a member of the band I wouldn't even want mentioned as a 90s act.

All I can say is "facepalm". Monkey Wrench, Everlong, My Hero etc. - FROMYESTERDAY

Better than Nirvana. The best thing about Nirvana is that they ended and Foo Fighters began.

V3 Comments
13Tool

Helped keep Metal on the surface without out selling out, the sheer genius of Adam Jones, Maynard James Keenan, Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor ( Paul D'Amour) is collectively explosive. Best band alive.

Creativity has never been so delicately assembled in a band like this one before. Adam Jones and his hard, haunting, and unique riffs complement Maynard's voice and vocal delivery in a way no other band has achieved. The bass line can hardly be called "rhythm" or "backround" because Danny Carey's ingenius syncopated and dissonant drum lines with bass lines that lead as much as guitar, this band can easily be named one of the greatest masterpieces of music and art on the planet.

I am glad to see Tool so high up on this list. So underrated and so talented. Danny is an awesome drummer and Maynard is brilliant always. My favourite band ever.

The most recently relevant Prog band. A title that Mastodon is quickly taking. Just remember, when they say they only have one song left, they aren't Green Day.

V17 Comments
14Rage Against the Machine

The hard rock sound of Morello and Commerford along with great rapping skills of De La Rocha complete with the simple yet awesome drumming makes Rage the best 90s band ever and, in my opinion, one of the best ever.

Unique sound, very identified so different and always modern

Hands down the Greatest band of the 90s..

Their songs suck

V4 Comments
15Bon Jovi

They just released 3 albums in the 90's - Keep the Faith, Cross Road and These Days and all were absolutely amazing! Songs like Keep the faith, dry county, always, In these arms, This ain't a love song etc were all superhits! The Best Band ever!

MOST POPULAR IN THE WORLD, NUMBER 1 HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES BACK IN THE 90'S

bon jovi is simply the best... listen 2 living on a prayer and you give love a bad name, it's my life, have a nice day, wanted dead or alive..1 word : classic

Bon Jovi became mostly a wuss band in the 90's

V8 Comments
16AC/DC

For me acdc is a top 5 band in the 70s and 80s. The tone of Malcolm and Angus are downright scary good. They have stood the test of time and there isn't a band in the world who's riffs are being played more in commercials, ads, movies, super bowls, etc than acdc. They didn't call it quits after losing a singer or after a few good albums. They produced massively inspiring albums like High Voltage and Highway to Hell with the great Bon Scott and developed themselves even further with the great Byron. Absolutely legends. And they may even be a top 10 in the 90s.. but definitely top 5 in the 70s and 80s.

How can they not be the greatest of all time.. So many great songs - and still playing for us! It's gotta count for something that they are still touring and releasing new stuff 20 PLUS years later...

AC/DC deserves to be #3 or #4! They're at least better than The Red Hot Chilli Peppers... Some of the bands on the Top 17 are just there because they're more famous.. But that doesn't mean that their music/songs are better

This IS hard rock. great songs, excellent guitar rif by Angus, outstanding performance and unique vocalist..

V8 Comments
17Pantera

Dimebag, Vinnie Paul, Rex and Phil. Best band to ever live, definitely most talented metal act to walk the earth. RIP DIME.

Two decades of unrepeated display of power, time shows the real value of this band. Pantera rules, walk!

The best guitarist, best drumer, add in a great singer and a good bassist. You get the best band of all time. The band got me through so many times in my life from anger to having my children. Number 1 for me all the way!

Number 1 over all!

V2 Comments
18Korn

Yea, this is WAY too low for KoRn! Are you kidding me? When MTV played music KoRn beat out the ridiculous Backstreet Boys, NSync, and Britney Spears for #1 song/video, and the Got the Life video had to be retired because it was on top for so long! KoRn put hard music on the mainstream map and kicked Pop in the face! They are easily top ten if not higher.

Freak on a Leash and Blind defined the 1990's! Way underrated band. Should be much higher than this!

Revolutionized... A new genre... Grunge metal... Never been done till KoRn came around

V2 Comments
19Three Days Grace
20White Zombie

They changed the sound of Metal forever... So many bands today owe White Zombie for paving the way with their innovative sound and style

V1 Comment
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List StatsUpdated 12 Feb 2016

4,000 votes
110 listings
8 years, 163 days old

Top Remixes (15)

1. Nirvana
2. Pearl Jam
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
slutzinheaven
1. Metallica
2. Green Day
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
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1. Red Hot Chili Peppers
2. Soundgarden
3. Stone Temple Pilots
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