Best Alternative Bands of the '90s

Here is a list of bands that I am putting in my files. I want to collect their songs, the songs, that became a hit during the boom of alternative rock up until the time when hybrid hardcore flourished. If there's something that's missing from this list you are welcome to add them.

The Top Ten

1 Nirvana Nirvana Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana disbanded after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. The drummer of the band, David Grohl, went on to start the Foo-Fighters, an alternative rock band. more.

Nirvana is the band responsible for making grunge music popular. A great band.

The best grunge band, and one of the best bands.

Nirvana didn't make grunge, they just made it popular and better. Too bad kurt cobains dead...

2 Smashing Pumpkins Smashing Pumpkins The Smashing Pumpkins is an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1988. Formed by frontman Billy Corgan and James Iha, the band included D'arcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlin in its original incarnation.

One of the best alternative band in the 90's - firstplace

The only bands that really mattered in the 90s, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana.

A classic great alternative rock band.

THE best 90s band. No competition.

3 Radiohead Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwoood (bass guitar), Phil Selway (drums), and Ed O'Brien (guitar).

Thank god these guys are above Green Day and The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Radiohead>Nirvana... It's not even close

This band are truly amazing. Ok Computer is one of the best albums of all time. Amazing band.


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4 Red Hot Chili Peppers Red Hot Chili Peppers The Red Hot Chili Peppers is an American funk-rock and alternative rock band, that was founded in 1983. more.

Even though every 90's alternative list seems to put Nirvana on top with good reason, but there is no reason Red Hot Chile Peppers should be any worse than 2. Give Californication, Otherside, Dani California, Under the Bridge, and Scar Tissue a listen. (There are many other good RHCP songs but I only listed the most popular ones.) The guitarist precision is astounding (Californication) and the bassist is purely amazing (Listen to Can't Stop for the best bass line of any alternative song) I can't see why Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins are above RHCP.

I love this band!

RHCP should be no. 2 or 3, not 9! Damn people..

They are great Anthony Keidis and Co. rule.

5 Oasis Oasis Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band originally consisted of Liam Gallagher (vocals and tambourine), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, and Tony McCarroll.

Champagne Supernova is probably the best song from the 90's. Noel Gallagher is one of the best song writers of all time, especially during this time.

Noel Gallagher is an unbelievable song writer. Still remains so today with his solo stuff.

People say they ripped off The Beatles. But they are a great talented band.

Listen to "Slide Away", then vote.

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6 Green Day Green Day Green Day are an American pop punk and alternative rock band formed in East Bay, California in 1987. The members include Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals and guitar), Mike Dirnt (bass), Tré Cool (drums) and Jason White (guitar) . Green Day are associated with punk rock, pop punk and alternative rock. Some more.

Just one of the oldest bands. They started back in mid 90s but they're still around and still producing hits - firstplace

They were the only band at the time keeping punk rock alive. Say what you want, they're still punk.

There early Music is much better than there American Idiot album.

Fake punk band still has some good albums though. If you want real punk listen to bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise, Rancid, Suicidal Tendencies,etc.

7 Pearl Jam Pearl Jam Pearl Jam is a Grunge Rock Band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. The band had comprised of Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. more.

Eddie Vedder had amazing vocals, Mike McCready had fantastic solos, and Jeff Ament wrote the best music. Love Jeremy and Alive.

Only Nirvana's impact was greater and easily outclasses everyone on this list! ( Just one man's humble opinion )

8 Soundgarden Soundgarden Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto.

With tracks like "Rusty Cage" and "Jesus Christ Pose" (and a less known but incredible track "Room a Thousand Years Wide", I can't see how Soundgarden could be left off this list, and be below Pearl Jam for that matter... Just saying!

9 Alice In Chains Alice In Chains Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley.

Foo fighter is a term used by World War II pilots to identify UFOs.

For sure should be higher up. Just listen to Rooster, Would? And Man In The Box.

AIC should be Number 1 on this list certainly ahead of Chili Peppers.

rip layne

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10 Weezer Weezer Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1992, currently consisting of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar), Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner.

I still think this should be way higher as the made the face of alternative you would never hear them in the radio as they were alternative like the meaning

They have a great debut album they also have some good later music.

Should be at #2 right below nirvana a great band

Should be higher! Should be Number ONE!

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The Contenders

11 Nine Inch Nails Nine Inch Nails Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock/metal band and, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio.

Best of all time - michaeltre

12 Foo Fighters Foo Fighters Foo Fighters are an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. The band was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl after the death of Kurt Cobain and the dissolution of his previous band. The band consists of Dave Grohl (lead vocalist, rhythm guitar, main songwriter), Pat Smear (rhythm guitar), Nate more.

Foo fighter is a term used by World War II pilots to identify UFOs. And the name of the band is Foo Fighters, it's plural. They are definitely one of my Favorite bands. Founded in 1994 by Dave Grohl, they're not one of the oldest.

One of the oldest, I still wonder about the meaning of their name. I guess it was taken from one of the controversial files I think from area 51. I am not sure. - firstplace

One of the few 90s alternative rock bands that still make great music today.

13 Third Eye Blind

One of the best bands of the 90' and still one of the greatest vocals I have ever heard. Plus Stephen Jenkins was amazing, I wonder where he is now. - firstplace

14 Stone Temple Pilots Stone Temple Pilots
15 U2 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group's musical pursuits, they have more.

One of the oldest still rocking band - firstplace

16 The Offspring The Offspring The Offspring is an American punk rock band from Huntington Beach, California, formed in 1984. Formed under the name Manic Subsidal, the band consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dexter Holland, bassist Greg K., lead guitarist Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman and drummer Pete Parada.

Should be top ten, the last of true punk rock and still significant today

17 Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine is a rock band formed in Los Angeles, California. The band consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk.

Should be a little higher on the list

18 Deftones Deftones Deftones are an American alternative metal band from Sacramento, California. The band, which was founded in 1988, consists of Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter, Frank Delgado, Abe Cunningham and Sergio Vega.

One of the most misunderstood bands, I think because their song isn't really the kind which you will get to like when you first hear it, you have to listen to their songs twice or thrice before you get to like it. And the lyrics is very poetic. But I just put them on the 9th because although they are my favorite, they still are young. - firstplace

They aren't alternative. They fall under the category of alternative metal, but that's a subgenre of metal. Not alternative

Deftones are pioneers of alternative metal, they revolutionized the genre.

19 311 311 311 is an American rock band from Omaha, Nebraska. The band was formed in 1988 by vocalist and guitarist Nick Hexum, lead guitarist Jim Watson, bassist Aaron "P-Nut" Wills. V 1 Comment
20 New Radicals

I am putting this band on my list because simply they are good, too bad they disbanded too early, I had their album before and I think all of the songs there was good. - firstplace

21 No Doubt No Doubt No Doubt is an American rock band from Anaheim, California, that formed in 1986. Since 1994, the group has consisted of vocalist Gwen Stefani, bassist and keyboardist Tony Kanal, guitarist and keyboardist Tom Dumont, and drummer Adrian Young.

The old style of No Doubt, when you hear the song spiderweb, and sunday morning, it brings you back to the old days, it has 90's all over it. - firstplace

Great Band, one many acts in the current Pop and Rock scene are badly copying from, Gwen and the Gang did that in the 90�'s.

22 Sublime Sublime Sublime was an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California, formed in 1988. The band's line-up, unchanged until their breakup, consisted of Bradley Nowell, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh.

Should be higher in the single digits.

23 Tool Tool Tool is an American progressive metal/alternative metal band, that was formed in 1990. more.

At first I was upset they were so low but it's Tool, not everyone is ready. Oh well it's their loss. Number 1 for me.

They defined 90s alternative metal.

Should be higher on the list.

Should be in top 6 In this order Nirvana,Tool,Jane's Addiction,Alice In Chains,Radiohead,Red Hot Chili Peppers

24 Sonic Youth Sonic Youth Sonic Youth was an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. Founding members Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo remained together for the entire history of the band, while Steve Shelley followed a series of short-term drummers in 1985, and rounded out the core line-up.

None of the above bands would be together if not or "EVOL", "Sister", and "Daydream Nation".

25 Blur Blur Blur are an English rock band, formed in London in 1988. The group consists of singer/keyboardist/guitarist Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree.

Blurs self titled 5th album and follow up 13 are some of the best alternative albums I own. defiantly underrated, if they are not on this list.

26 Pavement
27 Korn Korn Korn is an American Nu-Metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band's current lineup includes founding members Jonathan Davis, James "Munky" Shaffer, Brian "Head" Welch, and Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, with the addition of Ray Luzier, who replaced the band's original member, David more.
28 Blink 182 Blink 182 Blink-182 are a Pop Punk band formed in 1992. Original lineup were Mark Hoppus (Bass Guitar, Vocals) more.
29 My Bloody Valentine My Bloody Valentine My Bloody Valentine is a shoegazing, alternative rock, Irish band from Dublin, formed in 1983, which consists of guitarist, producer, samplist, and vocalist Kevin Shields, drummer and samplist Colm Ó Cíosóig, bassist Debbie Googe, and later on in their early career vocalist, and guitarist Bilinda more.
30 Bush Bush Bush are a British rock band formed in London, England in 1992. The band found their immediate success with the release of their debut album Sixteen Stone in 1994, which is certified 6× multi-platinum by the RIAA. V 1 Comment
31 Gin Blossoms

They gave us a lot of memorable tunes

32 Smash Mouth Smash Mouth Smash Mouth is an American rock band from San Jose, California. The band was formed in 1994, and was originally composed of Steve Harwell, Kevin Coleman, Greg Camp, and Paul De Lisle.

Combined an alt sound with catchiness and sing ability. Who can forget songs like walkin on the sun and all star

What? They should be at least top 15 all star is a song EVERBODY knows

33 Sponge

They mixed their sounds so wonderfully

34 Stereolab

It has ver good flow and the music is just so nice and keeps me at peace. favorite song is Cybele's reverie

35 Faith No More Faith No More Faith No More is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1979. Before settling on their current moniker in 1983, the band performed under the names Sharp Young Men and later Faith No Man.
36 The Used

Simply because they have the best lead singer and song writer - firstplace

37 Garbage Garbage Garbage is an American-Scottish alternative rock band formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1993. The group consists of Scottish musician Shirley Manson and American musicians Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, and Butch Vig.

Because they truly threw everything into the kitchen sink and it all sounded good. Their debut album is still the pinnacle of greatness for me.

38 Slowdive Slowdive
39 REM

Criminally low. These guys were consistent until about 1998.

40 The Cure The Cure The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member.

They were better in the 80s but continued consistent in the 90s with the album wish and had the song Friday I'm in love

41 Withheld

They mixed a hard rock sound with a alt rock/grunge sound and dominated the 90s

42 Helmet Helmet Helmet is an American alternative metal band from New York City formed in 1989. Founded by vocalist and lead guitarist Page Hamilton, Helmet has had numerous lineup changes, and Hamilton has been the only constant member.
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List Stats

300 votes
42 listings
6 years, 248 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Nirvana
2. U2
3. Green Day
1. Radiohead
2. Oasis
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
1. Nirvana
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. Oasis

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