If you’ve ever worn a pair of Doc Martens and a flannel shirt, you’re probably familiar with the ten best grunge bands. Developed in Seattle in the late 1980's, grunge music was a gritty, honest, and usually depressing offshoot of modern rock. Grunge culture became a phenomenon that swept across the country, and shortly thereafter the radio was clogged with the unflinching sounds of grunge bands.
- Green River. Featuring members that would go on to help form groundbreaking grunge bands Pearl Jam and Mudhoney, Green River founded the genre. Their album “Rehab Doll” is a grunge classic.
- Mother Love Bone. This talented grunge band was on the brink of success in 1990 when their singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose. Their song “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” hinted at the potential this band would never fully realize.
- Mudhoney. Out of the ashes of Green River came this pioneering grunge band. With an all-star cast of contributing grunge musicians, this band enjoyed mild commercial success and appeared on the soundtrack to the movie “Singles.”
- Nirvana. This band is credited with bringing grunge music into the mainstream, and is regarded by many as the best grunge band of all time. As soon as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit the radio airwaves, millions of American teenagers found a new role model in Kurt Cobain.
- Hole. Co-founded by Courtney Love, this grunge band hit its stride with the 1994 album “Live Through This.” Hole found critical and commercial acclaim, but success came with a price. Love’s husband, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide in April 1994. The band’s bassist, Kristen Pfaff, was found dead of a heroin overdose two months later.
- Bush. Riding grunge’s mainstream popularity, Bush rose to prominence in 1994 with the album “Sixteen Stone.” Featuring catchy melodies, gritty guitar work and an impeccably handsome lead singer, this grunge band has enjoyed success for nearly two decades.
- Alice in Chains. A perennial grunge favorite, this band stormed onto the scene with 1990’s “Facelift.” After several successful albums, tragedy struck in 2002 when lead singer Layne Staley died of a drug overdose. After years of speculation, the band resurfaced in 2009 with a new album and new singer.
- Pearl Jam. You’ll likely find Pearl Jam sitting atop many fans’ lists of the ten best grunge bands. One of the most influential bands of the 1990's, this grunge band found initial success with their breakthrough album “Ten,” and went on to achieve enduring worldwide acclaim.
- Soundgarden. Formed in Seattle in 1984, this grunge band helped bring the genre into the mainstream with 1991’s “Badmotorfinger.” Their popularity peaked with the album “Superunknown” in 1994, but they’ve maintained their rank as a seminal favorite among grunge music fans.
- Screaming Trees. Probably the most underrated of the ten best grunge bands, Screaming Trees maintained their underground status throughout the grunge explosion in the early 1990's. Their notoriety peaked when their song “Nearly Lost You” was featured on the “Singles” soundtrack.
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