In late 1991, an unknown band from Seattle released their first album, “Nevermind“. The first track on that album was, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
which became the anthem for a whole new musical and cultural movement, ‘Grunge’.
Many bands from the Seattle area came along with the movement, with names like, ‘Collective Soul’, ‘Stone Temple Pilots‘, and ‘Soundgarden’. But the two bands that stood out at the top of the totem-pole were, of course, Nirvana and ‘Pearl Jam’. Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten, was released in August of 1991.
The song, ‘Plush’, became a chart hitter for the ‘Stone Temple Pilots’. The band, ‘Blind Melon‘, with their melodic, offbeat, but very like-able tune, “No Rain”, became the group’s one and only hit. On the flip-side, there was ‘
Sound garden’s’ dark and foreboding, “Black Hole Sun“. The song-title says it all, but still entertaining. Even the established and successful, R.E.M., jumped on the grunge bandwagon with their haunting and almost hypnotic song, “Drive”.
Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. The band was one of the most successful music acts of the 1990s, selling over 35 million albums worldwide and over 14 million in the US alone. In 1992 the band released their album Dirt which was critically acclaimed and has been certified quadruple platinum. The band also achieved two No.1 Billboard 200 albums (Jar of Flies and Alice in Chains), 14 top ten songs on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and eight Grammy Award nominations.
But then a tragedy that arguably considered as a death-nail for Grunge, on April 8, 1994, the body of Kurt Cobain was found at his Seattle home, Cobain was discovered in a spare room above the garage of his home. With a shotgun lying across his body, a gunshot wound to his face, and a suicide note just a few feet away, the final ruling from authorities was indeed suicide.
Thousands of devoted fans saw Kurt Cobain as an iconic figure who had ushered in the Grunge movement. Sadly and inevitably, when he died, Grunge died with him. Bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots, carried on, but by mid 1996, it was evident that Grunge had peaked and was now spiralling towards the history books. Like the rain-drenched city of it’s birth, Grunge was kind of that way. The clouds of Grunge came and brought the rain with it. Then, it rained that day, the next day, and the day after that. Then the rain stopped. The music will live on.