Greatest '90s Rock Songs


The Top Ten

1 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

This is the greatest song of all time, changed the decade, ruled the generation, and never will be forgotten.

Thank you Nirvana for creating this song. Personally, I go through different musical cravings. At first it was pop punk (Green Day, Sum 41, Social Distortion), then gothic (My Chem. Romance, Evanescence, Black Veil Brides), and then classic (Pink Floyd mostly, also Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who), but now I can lose myself in music like this. Songs like this are so hard and thrashy on the outside, but the lyrics incorporated are so incredibly emotional. Other songs that fit into this category: One by Metallica, Chop Suey by System Of A Down, Come As You Are by Nirvana, In Bloom by Nirvana, and Back In Black by AC/DC.

It's the most honest song written and sung by a rock artist. That's all.

Honest? It's not even about anything! Kurt was drunk one night with a friend, spray painting on the walls when she wrote "Kurt smells like teen spirit" which is a deodorant. It means jack. - Bboymakinwitthefrekfreak

Best song ever

2 November Rain - Guns N' Roses

This is a joke, right?
Smells like Teen Spirit on Number 1?
with these lyrics, they are number one?

"With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido
Yeah, hey"

What kind of world do I live in?

One of the best

Common man, this is the 6th best Guitar Solo of all time, Best from 90's, Song is so mesmerising that even if it is about 9 minutes, it cannot get out of your head even once during whole time of its playing, with the best rock voice of Axl & best guitar Soloist Slash in the world this is absolutely a perfect beauty, please vote it!

This is better than Smells Like Teen Spirit. Deal with it! - Userguy44

3 Enter Sandman - Metallica

Best riff from the 90"s

Is it just me or does this sound like the perfect background music for some FNAF 4 gameplay?

This is the best known Metallica Song, off their best selling album. Hammett's Solo is another work of art. It is still played at every sporting event to this day.

This is a great Metal song. People like to say this is where Metallica went downhill, I strongly disagree! By the way, what the hell is Bon Jovi doing on this list? - michaelhughes

4 Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

Why is this forth. I know Smells Like Teen Spirit is the best 90's song, but it is not. Cultural it was more important. But as a song the melodies and emotion drawn from Black Hole Sun beat any cultural effects a song has. As a purely musical standpoint, it is the best 90's song.

This should be way higher.

The video is weird but what a great song! - Userguy44

Wow this song has one of the trippiest videos ive ever seen, and has one of the most unique sounds ever. LOVE IT

5 The Show Must Go On - Queen

Better than Nirvanna. - GehennaTheSecond

Should be 2nd or 3rd. - Userguy44

This song is SUPERB!

This is a masterpiece!
This powerful music, this anthem of a man who dies, but does not give up...
The best song ever is so powerful you feel and understand the suffering he have but then he try to calm you but is hard to lose someone so talented.

6 Everlong - Foo Fighters

This is a great song, and it should be at least 4 or 5.

Emotional, and a song that many people can feel!

This song should be at the top. Best song in the world, great guitar, great drumming, great singing and that was all done by dave grohl

Best song ever

7 Man in the Box - Alice in Chains

Still hearing this song on the radio in 2012. Obviously as good today as it was in the 90's. Can't help but crank the volume whenever I hear it.

One of my very favorite Alice songs, great guitar riffs and what can you say about Layne's in your face vocals on this song - everything about this song rocks. LOVE LOVE LOVE this song.

One of the best songs every.

Most underrated rock band in the 90s! Overshadowed by other Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana causing them to not share the same spotlight

8 Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Great song

The first song I learnt on guitar and still my favourite to play. I started singing it at lunch time at my school and my friends heard it. They asked me what song it was and I told them, they went home and looked it up. The hole of year 7 loved it. My band is still trying to learn it even though I learnt it in grade 6, everyone thinks I'm a genius because I can play it. My favourite song, My favourite band Forever!

This is how you win revolutionary funk-rock album with very honest and beautiful ballad. 90's got owned.

If you could wear a cd out, I would have with this one. Simply a classic 90's song that is both unique and powerful. As much as I like many of the other songs on this list, this one is for me the best.

9 Painkiller - Judas Priest

What this is from the 90s

Grunge tried to kill the Metal, but then Uncle Rob made this badass album - SoldierOfFortune

I've lost faith in humanity seeing painkiller so low

Should be much higher

1 Comment
10 High Hopes - Pink Floyd

It’s Pink Floyd. Enough said... - Userguy44

Pure brilliance! It should be much higher on this list

Although Pink Floyd's greatest albums were from the 70's, Pink Floyd have come out with the one of the most beautiful things (things, not songs in particular) that came across my life. Ever wondered what Heaven looks like? Listen to that slide guitar solo at the end.
High Hopes is amazing. High Hopes is a classic!

I never heard any other song near that quality in the 90's.


The Newcomers

? 96 Quite Bitter Beings - Cky
? All You Good Good People - Embrace

The Contenders

11 Black - Pearl Jam

This is the best song ever. So emotional and powerful. All of the other songs are classics in their own right but Black is incredible.

One of the most emotional songs of all time. Incredible hook to tie it all together. This band could rock!

Pearl Jam sure knows how to plant their emotion into a song. Both sadness and anger just basically mixed into this song. Gotta tell you all, this song is a masterpiece.

This song should be in a higher spot. Pearl Jam is one of the greatest things that happened in the 90s in my opinion. Also "Oceans" and "Porch" are the best songs in the album

12 Far Behind - Candlebox

love this song! whatever happened to them.

The best ever cry every time I hear it

In my opinion this is one of the greatest rock songs ever

My all time favorite!

13 Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine

Simply one of the greatest songs ever recorded

How would rage NOT be a top 10 band of the 90's?

If this songs isn't in the top 10 and Bon Jovi is, we're not talking about Rock Anthems here...

This is the best song ever! Tom Morello's guitar surpass all. Zack De la rocha lyrics are awesome? This should be #1

14 Would? - Alice in Chains

One of alice in chains best songs and its a tribute to Andrew Wood one of the best frontmen of the 90s who died before he could get the fame Nirvana would get later on. RIP Layne, Andrew, and Kurt the best frontmen of the 90s!

One of my favorite bass lines of all time..the band showed incredible chemistry in this song, with Layne and Jerry's vocal harmonies being the cherry on top that makes this the greatest hard rock song of the 90's.

This song is just truly amazing. This was the first Alice in Chains song I ever heard and still love it. This songs kills the new songs! No music made today will beat Alice in Chains! Ever!

Incredible song, should be number one. So much emotion in lyrics especially at the end, and an amazing voice

15 Don't Cry - Guns N' Roses

Greatest song I've ever heard at all times, fantastic.

It should be on every list of greatest songs of all time. Not just 90's.

Should be top 10. up Guns N' Roses

One of the best songs of all time. I love all the guitar parts and Axl sung it with so much soul. This should be in top five!
"There's a heaven above you baby don't you cry tonight..."

16 Holy Wars...The Punishment Due - Megadeth

Rock band classic

Unbelievable Album...

I hate Megadeth and their fanbase but this song is unique - Sabbath

Seeing this at no.46 is a disgrace - Tylerlangford1234

17 Plush - Stone Temple Pilots

It's 2013 and this song still is awesome Scott Weiland vocally amazing! STP amazing

Oh yeah, this song rocks. Why do I love it so much? Because it's good. That's music for you: unexplainable. I couldn't tell you why I love this song so much, but I do.

Also: good for the person who put DT on here! I have no clue why they are so high, as I don't actually know any "real live" DT fans besides me, but whatever, cause they're good. But Metropolis doesn't beat Plush, I've got to say.

I'm glad there's a STP song in the top 20! - Juniorxtrm

Hands down the song I think of the 90's

18 Heart-Shaped Box - Nirvana

For me no band can compare to Nirvana, Kurt was the spokesperson of my generation, for the bullied,the misfits, the teens that felt like they didn't belong, R.I.P my friend, thank you for the music.

Great song. A bit depressing but depressing seamed to work for nirvana ha ha.

This is a great song, even better than smells like teen spirit to me. - Singer4Freedom

How is this not up here?

1 Comment
19 The Unforgiven - Metallica

The unforgiven at 31 is travesty...

One of the the best by the heavy metal god-Metallica.

Too bad this song was ripped off from Iron Maiden's Children Of The Damned, released more than a decade earlier. I love Metallica but credit where it is vote for this one. - LiveOrdnance

I love all 3 parts of this song more and more. sadly the unforgiven iii doesn't get as much attention as it should.

1 Comment
20 Basket Case - Green Day

Well this is a real classic, it's a real 90s song..

Top 5 90's Tune

Wait. What this song is doing down here? Let's vote this awesome song up! - GreenDay95

Fresh new sound defined the 90's and inspired the future of music

21 Nutshell - Alice in Chains

Best Alice in Chains song! "We chase misprinted lies, we face the path of time! "

Amazing song! Can listen to it over and over again

One of my all time favorites!

Layne's voice is uncomparable & amazing. every time I hear Nutshell, I literally get the chills. So raw & emotional. "If I can't be my own, I'd feel better dead" RIP Layne

22 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

This should be in the top 10s

Thunderstruck one of the greatest AC/DC songs
This should be number 1
Amazing riff - shatti

Amazing song.

It's not first? Are you kidding me? - ParasN2000

23 Dante's Inferno - Iced Earth

Great metal band in the 90s. Today, not so much, but right up there with the others at the time. Go litsen.

24 Cemetery Gates - Pantera

How is this so low. Pantera is by far my favorite band and I am for sure not alone. This song was an instant classic. Maybe the reason it is so low is because I THINK it was from 1989 since it was off of the Cowboys From Hell album. I also haven't seen ANY of the songs off of Vulgar Display of Power or Far Beyond Driven. Not sure about you guys but I am gonna say this is the ultimate 90s song, and DEFINITELY beats ALL if the Nirvana stuff on here (I do like Nirvana, but Pantera, Alice in Chains, System of a Down, and Tool should all have their songs MUCH higher than 34)

Riff + vocals + class = eligible for number 1 - devanshukhurma

Great song, great music, fantastic

This is how songs should be made now, instead of the crap that's on the radio now a days! Everything now is gay rap w/songs about drugs, drinking and sex. I liked rap in the 90's but now its wrecked w/all the new gay rappers. WHY IS THERE ONLY NEW RAPPER? COME ON ROCK BANDS... WE NEED YOU!

25 Rooster - Alice in Chains

How is this song not in the top 5? I'm a disabled army veteran who did 5 tours of duty between Iraq and Afghanistan. I know this was about Vietnam but even now when I hear this song after being retired for almost 6 years I still get chills when I hear it come on!

I love this song it is the greatest alice in chains song

Why this song is not in the top ten is beyond me. I could get lost in this song.

Just Beautiful

1 Comment
26 Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is a good song

Gets me pumped up every time.. Just listen to that crowd roar when they start playing it.. I think it's a lot more popular than scar tissue red hot chili peppers wise

This should honestly be number 12 on the list. This song is one of my favorite rock and roll songs from the 1990s

Awesome song... just the flow of it makes you want to dance wherever you are. There isn't anyway this song is down the list... it deserves a top ten listing at the very least.

27 Nothing Else Matters - Metallica

Great for having sex with your mom

This should be number one for most meaningful


28 Alive - Pearl Jam

THE BEST SONG OF ALL TIME RIGHT HERE! Mike McCready's guitar work in this song is amazing and he is one of the best guitarists of all time, you will understand once you see them live.

Amazing song. How is black by pearl jam in top ten but not this...

McCready's solo is the best of the 90's.

Unique intro, iconic sound, best solo of the 90s.

29 Today - Smashing Pumpkins

The best song on the list, but the best 90s song should be Geek USA, also by the Pumpkins.

This song may seem as simple as they come, but it has a heart-wrenching meaning that is very relatable for some people. In the song, Billy expresses how all he ever wanted was to be loved by someone. Anyone. This song means the world to me, and I hope it touches others too.

This song is beautiful and the video is too.

30 Creep - Radiohead

The mixture of emotions this song invokes from me is incredible. It feels almost tranquil at first, yet I'm uneasy. Before long I am rocking out to the chorus and the ending becomes soft and eloquent. It is so perfect.

How the hell is this song not in the top 5?!?!? Deepest lyrics you'll ever hear

Man this song brings back some memories! There is no way this song should be outside of the top 10

I'll kill myself on the live stage, perfect song and lyrics

31 Civil War - Guns N' Roses

Such a great antiwar song. Listen to words, then think about present time. What has changed?

32 Over Now - Alice in Chains

This is the best Alice In chains song - Sabbath

33 Floods - Pantera

Best guitar solo ever along with, trapped in a corner(DEATH) and Domination(Pantera)

Just listen

34 Jeremy - Pearl Jam

My favorite song my I'm about to humming around and want to trash something.

Ten is the best album of all time this is one of the best songs on the album

35 Drain You - Nirvana

Sums up my love life in the 90s

Is very good

36 There She Goes - Sixpence None the Richer

Catchy, sweet, 90's pop-rock - Singer4Freedom

37 Bulls on Parade - Rage Against the Machine

Needs to be higher. One of the best songs by one of the best bands of all time

One of the best riffs of the 90's. Tom Morello absolutely innovated the solo scene with his killswitch scratching solo.

A brilliant song centered around iconic and eargasming riffs. Insightful and aggressive lyrical content involving well constructed metaphors about war and politics make this a must listen. Come to think of it, this song is more of a storm than a song. A storm of consistent and experience enhancing bass, powerful drums, and fantastastic guitar (especially the solo)

38 Buddy Holly - Weezer

What's with these homies, dissing my song?


39 Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots

I loved this song when it first came out and it still makes me smile to this day. Although I love Bon Jovi this has got to be better than "Keep the Faith" right?

40 1979 - The Smashing Pumpkins

Oh yeah, this song brings me back.

Great tune. Why isn't this higher?

Great song that's a lot softer than normal 90s grunge

Best song of the 90's. Period.

41 Live and Let Die - Guns N' Roses
42 I'll Be - Edwin McCain
43 Crystal Mountain - Death
44 Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper - Dream Theater

This is arguably Dream Theater's greatest album - so chock full of gems and the mastery of each member's musicality is beyond anything in music at the time - and most of today, too

Dream Theater was one of the best Rock bands of the 90's... This is a nice song... But try Funeral for a Friend or the Spirit Carries On... Both top ten quality.

Sex to your ears

45 Made in Heaven - Queen

absolutely amazing song from a kick ass band! Love it!

I've said it so many times, but I'll say it again if you don't vote for this your heart is broken. - Queen-aholic

46 Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind

Not every song can make the top 10 but this is one that defined an era, at least top 20.

Loved this super!

I love this song - NightmareIsHere_

47 Fly - Sugar Ray
48 A Change of Seasons - Dream Theater
49 Pepper - Butthole Surfers

I remember hearing this song as a teenager off of 94.5 the edge in dallas. I still really love this song 20 years later.

50 Breakfast at Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something

Great Song I love it makes me happy.

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List Stats

8,000 votes
412 listings
12 years, 148 days old

Top Remixes (33)

1. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
2. Far Behind - Candlebox
3. High Hopes - Pink Floyd
1. Man in the Box - Alice in Chains
2. Everlong - Foo Fighters
3. The Good Life - Weezer
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
2. Enter Sandman - Metallica
3. Alive - Pearl Jam

View All 33

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