If you grew up during the 90s then you can’t resist grooving to some classic 90s rock music whenever it hits the radio. If you ask anyone from that golden era, they would most certainly tell you that their music was way better than the current one. Most youngsters would agree too.
The music systems back then were dominated by hard-hitting guitar solos. Sure, there were some poppy and fun boy and girl bands (Spice Girls, Back Street Boys, etc.), but people were mostly engrossed in listening to some of the best 90s rock bands like Nirvana or Weezer way more.
In 2020, we can all admit that there is a massive deficiency of true rock music that can even get close to the one made by 90s rock bands. Regardless, we were lucky enough to have so many great rock bands in the 1990s that we can still enjoy real rock music from the 90s.
Today, we would be listing out the best 90s rock bands that made music that would last in our memories forever.
10. No Doubt
This rock was not formed during the 90s, but it was the period when they got most recognition and made their mark.
No Doubt was formed in 1986, and it was not until their third studio album “Tragic Kingdom” that they achieved major mainstream success.Out of this album, songs like “Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak” went viral and helped the pop-punk band to fame.
9. The Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins was established back in 1988 by Billy Corgan (front-man and lead guitarist) with guitarist James Iha. After a few years, they became one of the most popular 90s alternative rock bands.
The unorthodox band was known for bringing a unique guitar lead sound with influences from psychedelia, dream pop, Goth rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock.
Songs that shaped their legacy and assisted them to climb the stairs of fame were “Cherub Rock,” “drown,” and “I am one.”
8. Pearl Jam
“Pearl Jam” was founded in 1990, and they released their debut album “Ten” in the august of 1991. “Ten” did not get instant recognition post-release, though. It was not until the very next year that the album and the band started getting some attention.
The main reason for the 1992’s success for “Pearl Jam” was the radio plays. Songs like “Alive,” “Even Flow” and “Jeremy.” were played repeatedly over there.
This band was also a unique one. They did not follow the ongoing trends and conventions just for the sake of it.
Pearl Jam was one of the few 90s rock bands who preferred performing in small and intimate locations to make the best of that environment. They did not usually play in larger arenas and stadiums.
It is almost impossible to make a list of best rock bands from the 90s without mentioning Blink 182. It was a pop-punk sensation that constituted the dream trio who came together in 1992. Blink 182 didn’t get much fame until the release of their album, “Dude Ranch” in 1997.
The album did so well that within a year, in 1998, it went platinum. The success of this album and the trio’s subsequent success can be attributed to the song “Dammnit (Growing up)” that quickly went viral.
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers
It was a “funk rock” band that got together back in 1983 and became of the best 1990s rock bands. The band faced difficult times during the rest of the 80s after their formation. One of the members tragically died, followed by another one’s departure from the group.
Regardless, the band surely bounced back in 1989 with the album “Mother’s Milk” which saw massive success much to the surprise of the members. It went on to become gold certified by 1990.
They made great rock music in the 1990s, and some of their best songs include “Californication,” “Scar Tissue,” “Give it Away,” and “If you Have to Ask.”
5. Alice In Chains
Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell formed Alice in Chains in 1987. By the 1990s, the band ended up becoming one of the most popular grunge acts.
“Drawing equally from the heavy riffing of post-Van Halen metal and the gloomy strains of post-punk, the band developed a bleak, nihilistic sound that balanced grinding hard rock with subtly textured acoustic numbers, as per allmusic.com.
They made the most influential rock music in the 90s, and some of their best songs include “Heaven Beside You,” “Grind,” “Down in a Hole,” and “We die young.”
The members of this “hook-heavy guitar pop” band did not look like the conventional long-haired icons that were common in the 90s.
Their appearance was one of the reasons why rock fans in the 90s were absolutely obsessed with Weezer. The band was formed in the early 90s and went on to become one of the best 90s rock bands.
3. Green Day
The hardcore punk trio, Green Day was formed in 1987 and is arguably one of the best known popular rock bands. They enjoyed a massive cult following in their early years and went mainstream only after the release of their third album “Dookie” in 1994.
They were one of the best alternative bands in the 90s and were awarded the Grammy in 1994 for Best Alternative Music Performance.
2. Foo Fighters
After the demise of Kurt Cobain, drummer of Nirvana Dave Grohl formed Foo Fighters in 1994. The band is easily one of the most popular and iconic rock bands to date. Their debut album together “The Colour and the Shape” gathered massive success and also included some of the band’s most popular songs like “Everlong,” “Monkey Wrench,” and “My Hero.”
You must have already heard about this Band. Nirvana is by far the most popular rock band from the 90s. The iconic group was formed back in 1987, but the punk rock icons gained success only in 1991 after the release of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
There is no doubt in our mind that “Nirvana” remains on the top of any list that ranks the best 90s rock bands. No other group has impacted the music landscape as much as “Nirvana.”
Rock remains one of the most missed and loved genres in 2020. The complete lack of good rock music makes us wonder why bands like Imagine Dragons or Twenty One Pilots get the level of love they get. Do read our take on the process of evolution of rock over the decades.
Regardless, the same was not the case in the 90s. Artists made rock music, and the audience showered their love and affection to them. Most legendary rock bands come from this era.
Before signing off, we would like to clarify that the bands and their ranking on this list are purely based on our understanding of the culture and commercial success.
If there are other rock bands from the 1990s that deserve a spot in this list in your opinion, then you are more than welcome to share your picks and thoughts with us using the comments section down below.