Top 10 Best Grunge Bands

Grunge was one of the most influential music genres of its time. Let's see which band turned it into a legend.
The Top Ten
1 Alice In Chains Alice in Chains is an American grunge/alternative metal band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley.

AIC has finally gotten the credit they deserve. Somehow this band was always overshadowed by Nirvana, despite having a literal demigod as their frontman and the best album of the 1990s (Dirt). So happy to see them at number one.

Nirvana will always be voted number one by this generation, and it's not like that's bad - Nirvana kicked ass. However, Alice in Chains was insane, I mean, come on. Have you heard the song Man in the Box? Alice in Chains is so beautifully dark. They just embody grunge.

Layne Staley's voice was perfect for what you would want in grunge, but also so beautiful, not to mention his harmonies with guitarist Jerry Cantrell. The power of Layne's voice just blows your mind, and his sincerity and ability to turn his feelings into sick imagery is unmatched.

2 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... read more

The definitive grunge band. If you're from the State of Washington, I'm simply saying that Nirvana made the biggest impact on music on a worldwide scale. With their song Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana was the first to bring the grunge sound to the forefront. Check your dates and Billboard's Top 100 lists if you have any doubt. There may have been bands that shared a similar sound, but that was the song that changed everything worldwide. If you disagree with this fact, then you're denying the truth.

Google can kiss my butt. Ask Rolling Stone magazine. They have been the authority for a lot longer, and they only print FACTS. I am a fan and I was there. I can only tell the truth. I'll give time to anything that is worthy of it.

Do I think that AIC is a better band? They make bigger, deeper music. I prefer their music right now. But I have to consider that Nirvana's widely appealing, simplistic sound didn't just start the grunge revolution. People don't realize that they started another significant movement as well. They reignited a huge Unplugged revolution. Kurt Cobain's acoustic performance on MTV's Unplugged series was groundbreaking. It was so beautiful that it started a wave that swept through the entire industry. Pretty much every band around, from pop to rock - including AIC, by the way - released an Unplugged album thereafter. It's one of the only albums that I've enjoyed from beginning to end.

3 Soundgarden Soundgarden was an American grunge/alternative metal band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Chris Cornell died on May 17th, 2017.

By comparing what grunge really is, I think it's arguable to put Soundgarden at the top of the list. Pearl Jam makes a compelling argument to be at the top, and Ten is, without a doubt, one of the best albums of all time. However, when you consider what Soundgarden produced from album to album, and how they evolved and still presented their very own sound while Pearl Jam evolved away from Ten, they deserve the top spot.

As a collective, they have the chemistry that every band from the time coveted and has rarely been duplicated. When you really stop and define grunge and work from that definition, it's a no-brainer to place Soundgarden at the top of the list.

4 Pearl Jam Pearl Jam is a grunge/alternative rock Band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. The band had comprised of Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament... read more

Pearl Jam is music I like to call Eargasm or ear orgasm. They are amazing, and the best thing is, they're the only grunge band to have never broken up or faded into obscurity. Instead, they have evolved, whether the new direction is good or bad, and they have stuck with it.

And although their early grunge records, like Ten and Vs., are still their best, I also appreciate how they tried new things instead of sticking with their grunge sound because it's more comfortable. Forget the best grunge band. Pearl Jam is perhaps the greatest band in the history of music.

5 Stone Temple Pilots Stone Temple Pilots is an alternative rock band formed in San Diego, CA in 1989.

The band currently consists of brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo (guitarist and bassist, respectively), and Eric Kretz (drummer). Their main vocalist from their formation up to 2013 was Scott Weiland. He was fired in... read more

Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Alice In Chains all had their own unique sounds, but Stone Temple Pilots takes this to a whole new level. They're not just a blend of those four bands, but they've dabbled in so many different sounds and styles and perfected them. Once Core was released in 1992, grunge had effectively reached its peak. All of those amazing albums from 1991 (Ten, Nevermind, and Badmotorfinger) were building up to STP's debut.

This band had amazing versatility, mixing grunge with multiple genres. I consider their grunge tone to have softened on the third album, but they still made great music afterward. Scott's voice wasn't as unique as Cobain's, but he used many different styles throughout STP's discography.

6 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.

The Smashing Pumpkins are one of my favorite bands, considering I'm into metal. Now, Nirvana is probably the best grunge band on this list, but I think the Smashing Pumpkins deserve more credit for songs like:

- Bullet with Butterfly Wings
- Today
- 1979
- Perfect
- Zero

Just a great band, truly underrated.

It's so hard to choose. There are so many fantastic grunge bands. Smashing Pumpkins has to be my favorite for one reason: they evolved over time. Now, maybe that's blasphemous since they ventured into techno-ish music and lighter music, and kind of left grunge behind after Mellon Collie, but they stayed relevant (for the most part) and continued to put out fantastic music regardless of the musical genre. The only album I would say was "bad" was Zeitgeist. Even that one deserves a listen from time to time.

7 Mudhoney Mudhoney is an American grunge band. Formed in Seattle, Washington in 1988 following the demise of Green River, Mudhoney's members are singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Arm, lead guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison and drummer Dan Peters.

Mudhoney is so underrated. This band should have gotten a lot more attention. I'll never understand why they didn't make it into the mainstream. Shaking my head.

Mudhoney should be number 2 or 3. How could you even put Bush or Foo Fighters on this list?

Almost every grunge band owes Mudhoney credit. This band transcends the whole grunge scene, and the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP was extremely influential on the grunge scene.

8 The Melvins The Melvins are an American band that formed in 1983. They usually perform as a trio, but in recent years have performed as a four piece with two drummers.

Bush should not be in the top ten. They are a cheap post-grunge band. Foo Fighters are a good band but shouldn't be there either.

Grunge probably wouldn't exist without them. Plus, they invented sludge metal, which is an awesome genre too.

The Melvins are great. The guitar-drum synergy is really cool, and the lyrics make no sense but are cool also.

9 Temple Of The Dog Temple of the Dog is an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. It was conceived by vocalist Chris Cornell of Soundgarden as a tribute to his friend, the late Andrew Wood, lead singer of the bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. The line-up included Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar,... read more

Temple Of The Dog consists of two of the best grunge bands of all time, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Absolutely every song on their self-titled album, their only album, is a work of art! In my opinion, Temple Of The Dog is the best grunge band of all time.

This is amazing simply because it combines three great bands - Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and even Mother Love Bone to an extent.

How come there are no comments here? Chris Cornell's collaboration with Eddie Vedder is more than great!

10 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.

So many unique songs and albums. I definitely think more people should give them a listen. If you like Nirvana, I'm almost certain you'd like them. I'd recommend their albums Dirty, Daydream Nation, and The Eternal.

The most musically interesting band around. Thurston Moore is a noise rock legend. Not many can compare.

Quite a different band, but they make some decent tunes.

The Contenders
11 Foo Fighters Foo Fighters are an American alternative 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... read more

Great band. Monkey Wrench, Hero, and Everlong are great songs. By the way, how are U2, Linkin Park, Green Day, and Thirty Seconds to Mars not in the top 20? The person who made this list should listen to the songs of the bands and not just rank them because of their popularity.

Amazing band, but it has a lot of Nirvana in it because their drummer, Dave Grohl, is Foo Fighters' vocalist.

I love Dave Grohl, and I loved this band's earlier stuff, but I just find this band too commercial.

12 Screaming Trees Screaming Trees was an American rock band formed in Ellensburg, Washington in 1985 by vocalist Mark Lanegan, guitarist Gary Lee Conner, bass player Van Conner and drummer Mark Pickerel.

Have you ever had the chance to listen to their album Sweet Oblivion? It's a masterpiece, on the same level as Dirt, Ten, Vs., Superunknown, or Nevermind. They were not conventionally appealing: quite a quirky band name, the Conner brothers were not typical rock-star material, and Mark Lanegan was challenging to deal with, even compared to other singers. So the media didn't like them, but forget everything and just listen.

Lanegan's voice is recognizable right off the bat. The songs are well-written, with a bluesy undertone.

Screaming Trees is a very good band. Very successful. Mark's voice is very good, compatible with grunge music. Witness, Traveler, Black Sun Morning, Who Lies in Darkness... The songs are very good. If you like the grunge style, you should listen to this band. If you like Mark too much, you can listen to Mark Lanegan's music. This music is alternative.

13 Mother Love Bone Mother Love Bone was an American alternative rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1987. The band was active from 1987 to 1990. Frontman Andrew Wood's personality and lyrics helped to catapult the group to the top of the burgeoning late 1980s/early 1990s Seattle music scene.

Mother Love Bone was a great band, and they were around when grunge was first getting started. They greatly influenced the sound of grunge, even though they never really sounded like other grunge bands. Pearl Jam and Temple of the Dog would never have existed without Mother Love Bone.

Tragically, Mother Love Bone never got to be a part of the golden age of the music they helped to create. Their lead singer, Andrew Wood, died in 1990. Wood was the David Lee Roth of grunge. He was a great frontman and had tremendous talent and charisma. His voice suited Mother Love Bone's funky sound perfectly. If he had not died, MLB would probably have gone on to be as great and famous as Nirvana or Pearl Jam.

According to Alice in Chains' lead singer, the song "Would" is about Andrew Wood. "So I made a big mistake, try to see it once my way" is a reference to Wood's death by overdose. If anyone is interested in getting into Mother Love Bone, I recommend "This is Shangri-La" and "Thru Fade Away." Those are my favorites.

14 Bush Bush are a British post-grunge/alternative 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.

Get this higher! Really underrated band. The only reason why they're this low is that they're often labeled as post-grunge. But to be honest, I disagree. They mirror Nirvana a lot in plenty of their songs, including some of their biggest hits like "Glycerine" and "Swallowed."

Post-grunge, in my opinion, started with the Foo Fighters and transformed into bands like 3 Doors Down, Puddle of Mudd, Creed, and (gulp), Nickelback. The riffs of Bush are much harder than all those bands except maybe Foo Fighters, but Gavin Rossdale's vocals are delivered in a more "lazy" tone than Dave Grohl, which gives them the classic grunge sound.

15 Pixies The Pixies are an American alternative rock band formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. The group disbanded in 1993 in acrimonious circumstances, but reunited in 2004. The group currently consists of founders Black Francis, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering.

Listen to Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight" and any of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged. Okay, now listen to "Gouge Away," "Gigantic," or "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies. Grunge, despite being a genre, is still a relatively broad term to describe music, and the Pixies are a part of it.

They don't sound like grunge that much, but they're very influential to many grunge bands!

I have never listened to anything better than their song "Where Is My Mind." Every single time, I get goosebumps! Love them.

16 Candlebox

Candlebox was by far my favorite of the grunge era. Kevin's voice is amazing, and their lyrics so empathized with the struggles of that generation.

17 Hole Hole was an American alternative rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1989 by singer and guitarist Courtney Love and lead guitarist Eric Erlandson.

Nirvana is the obvious pick for this list and for good reason, but we have to mention Kurt's wife's band. Hole is one of the most underrated bands I have ever seen! Courtney Love is an amazing singer as well!

18 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).

They were grunge. After the first two albums, they just kind of dropped the sound.

Radiohead's first and second albums have strong grunge elements.

19 Silverchair Silverchair were an Australian rock band, which formed in 1992 as Innocent Criminals in Merewether, Newcastle with the line-up of Ben Gillies on drums, Daniel Johns on vocals and guitars, and Chris Joannou on bass guitar.

Nirvana is the best, of course, but these guys! I really believe Silverchair was an amazing band in the grunge scene. The first three albums are great.

If you like Nirvana or grunge and don't know these guys, listen to their albums.

P.S.: You won't regret it.

Just because they were late on the scene doesn't mean you can overlook them. Frogstomp and Freak Show are the best grunge albums of all time.

So underrated. Freak Show was the heaviest grunge album, in my opinion.

20 Green River

Since Nirvana is already number one, I'll help out another great, lesser-known band. Green River created the heavy sound that would inspire the rest of the Seattle bands to start going down that road. When they broke up, their members would go on to found Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, and Pearl Jam.

I think they deserve to be on top. Nirvana is an amazing band, but Green River pioneered the genre and gave it great meaning.

They created the genre for God's sake!

21 Mad Season

Like it's been said, Layne Staley on vocals (from Alice in Chains), and there are two songs in which Mark Lanegan (from Screaming Trees) sings too. Mike McCready (guitarist from Pearl Jam) is also part of the lineup. You can't go wrong.

Christ, seeing this so far down is like a sharp knife cutting into my heart. It's Layne Staley, people! This deserves so much more...

I think it should be close to first place, but because it's a one-album/one-season band, I'd be happy seeing Mad Season in the 15th-ish place. Layne Staley, Mark Lanegan, etc.

22 Three Days Grace Three Days Grace is a Canadian post-grunge/alternative rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1992 with a line-up consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, and bassist Brad Walst. Their original name was Groundswell until they changed it to... read more

They are a good grunge band. They deserve a higher position in the top 10 bands. Very good lyrics, and their singer is good enough. I believe they are better than others.

Should have been in the top 5 at least. This band is fantastic, and even though Adam left, their music will always be better than half the bands on here.

Surely, they need to be higher than this?

23 Jane's Addiction Jane's Addiction is an American alternative rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1985. The band consists of vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Chris Chaney.

Sweet Staley, Jane's Addiction isn't on this list, but Three Days Grace and Nickelback are? Peasants, man.

Great band, but not the greatest.

24 Collective Soul Collective Soul is an American rock band originally from Stockbridge, Georgia. Now based in Atlanta, the group consists of lead vocalist Ed Roland, rhythm guitarist Dean Roland, bassist Will Turpin, drummer Johnny Rabb and lead guitarist Jesse Triplett.
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