100 Best Grunge Bands of the 90s - Complete List (2023)

If the ’90s was a decade characterized by flannel, angst, and disheveled hair then grunge music embodied its culture in all of its distorted glory.

All The Girls You Love Before Chords

All The Girls You Love Before Chords

A raw, uncompromising genre that surged forward with optimism and transformed rock and roll as we know it—grunge lives on no matter how much time passes.

Here is a list of the 100 best grunge bands of the ‘90s to honor those times! From Alice in Chains to Nirvana and Mudhoney to Stone Temple Pilots, relive one of the defining musical eras from this side of history.

Contents hide

Top 10 Best Grunge Bands of the 90s

Female Grunge Bands of the 90s

Seattle Grunge Bands of the 90s

Post Grunge Bands of 90s

Early 90s Grunge Bands

Alt Rock Grunge Bands of 90s

90s Christian Grunge Bands

90s Grunge Bands with Female Singers

90s Grunge Bands of Uk


Top 10 Best Grunge Bands of the 90s

With the 90s being a pivotal decade in music, it is difficult to choose the top 10 best grunge bands of the time.

So, the list below is purely based on the highest album sales, popularity among the general public, and who stood the test of time.

  1. Pearl Jam
  2. Nirvana
  3. Stone Temple Pilots
  4. Soundgarden
  5. Alice In Chains
  6. Bush
  7. Foo Fighters
  8. Silverchair
  9. Hole ( Female )
  10. Mad Season

Honorable Mentions

  • Screaming Trees
  • Mudhoney
  • Temple of the Dog

Read More: Grunge Songs of the 90s

Female Grunge Bands of the 90s

The 90s were a time of great change, especially for women in the music industry. Female grunge bands started to surface and gain popularity, paving the way for future generations of female artists.

Bands like Hole, L7, and Babes in Toyland were at the forefront of this movement, and their music reflected the anger and frustration that many young women were feeling at the time.

They weren’t afraid to be abrasive or confrontational, and their lyrics spoke to a generation that was searching for a voice. Many of them are still active today, proving that there are no stopping women from grunge.

  • Hole
  • L7
  • Babes in Toyland
  • The Cranberries
  • Garbage
  • 7 Year Bitch
  • Veruca Salt
  • Sleater-Kinney
  • Sonic Youth
  • Splendora

Seattle Grunge Bands of the 90s

In the early 1990s, Seattle, Washington was home to a burgeoning grunge music scene. The bands that emerged from this scene would go on to define the decade and change the course of popular music. The biggest names in Seattle’s grunge were Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. These bands helped popularize alternative rock and brought the sound of Seattle to the world stage.

All three bands released their debut albums in 1991 and quickly rose to fame. Nirvana’s Nevermind became a massive hit, while Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains both achieved multi-platinum status.

Seattle grunge reached its peak in 1992 with the release of Nirvana’s In Utero and Pearl Jam’s Ten.

  • Nirvana
  • Soundgarden
  • Pearl Jam
  • Alice In Chains
  • Mudhoney
  • Temple of the Dog
  • Mother Love Bone
  • Mad Season
  • Tad
  • Skin Yard

Post Grunge Bands of 90s

Post-grunge is a rock music genre that emerged in the 1990s as a successor to grunge. While grunge was marked by its heavy distortion and angst-filled lyrics, post-grunge bands often adopted a more commercially accessible sound.

This led to some criticism for being too polished and not being true to the grunge sound.

However, these bands were able to achieve mainstream success and left a lasting impact on the music scene that can be heard in modern rock music today.

  • Nickelback
  • Foo Fighters
  • Creed
  • Bush
  • Seether (Late 90s)
  • Puddle Of Mudd
  • Staind
  • Breaking Benjamin (Late 90s)
  • 3 Doors Down (Mid 90s)
  • Candlebox

Early 90s Grunge Bands

If you were born in the early 90s, then there’s a good chance that Nirvana was one of your first introductions to grunge music.

However, before Kurt Cobain and company popularized the genre in the early 1990s, there were a number of bands who were laying the groundwork for grunge in the late 80s.

While some of these bands never achieved mainstream success, they helped to create a scene in Seattle that would eventually produce some of the biggest names in grunge music.

  • Pearl Jam
  • Temple of the Dog
  • Candlebox
  • Silverchair
  • Bush
  • 7 Year Bitch
  • Hammerbox
  • Blind Melon
  • Puddle Of Mudd
  • Three Days Grace

Alt Rock Grunge Bands of 90s

Alt-rock grunge bands are often characterized by their heavy and distorted guitar sounds, muddy production, and angst-driven lyrics.

While the term “grunge” is sometimes used interchangeably with “alternative rock,” grunge bands are typically more aggressive and heavier than alternative rock bands.

Here are the top 10 Alt-Rock Grunge bands of the 90s that helped shaped the genre.

  • Skin Yard
  • Gruntruck
  • Toadies
  • The Presidents of the United States of America
  • Hammerbox
  • Days Of The New
  • Failure
  • Collective Soul
  • Truly
  • Everclear

90s Christian Grunge Bands

As the alternative rock movement gained steam in the early 1990s, an offshoot genre that fused punk and heavy metal with religious messages emerged.

This new style was Christian grunge.

Christian grunge bands often have a spiritual message, and their songs often deal with topics such as faith, hope, and love. Many Christian grunge bands are popular within the Christian music scene, but they also have a large following among secular listeners as well.

Here are 10 of the best Christian grunge bands of the 90s.

  • Grammatrain
  • Common Children
  • For Love Not Lisa (Post Grunge)
  • Poor Old Lu
  • The Prayer Chain
  • Stavesacre

90s Grunge Bands with Female Singers

In the early to mid-1990s, grunge bands with female singers were all the rage. While some of these bands, such as Hole and L7, are still around today, others have since broken up or faded into obscurity.

Here is a look at some of the most popular grunge bands with female singers from the 1990s.

  • The Cranberries
  • Garbage
  • Veruca Salt
  • The Breeders
  • Pixies
  • The Pretty Reckless
  • Portishead
  • The Distillers
  • Letters to Cleo
  • Le Tigre

90s Grunge Bands of Uk

Though Grunge started in the US, grunge bands soon began emerging in the UK as well. Some of the most iconic grunge bands from the UK include Bush, Silverchair, and Radiohead.

Bush was one of the earliest UK grunge bands to break into the mainstream. They released their debut album Sixteen Stone in 1994 and quickly became one of the biggest bands in the world.

Their singles “Everything Zen” and “Glycerine” were both huge hits, and they continued to release successful albums throughout the 1990s.

  • Bush
  • PJ Harvey


Who are the big 5 grunge bands of the 90s?

In the early 1990s, grunge bands from Seattle such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, and Alice in Chains became internationally popular, leading the grunge movement. These bands were considered the “big 5” of grunge music during the 1990s. Although the popularity of grunge music declined by the end of the 1990s, the influence of these grunge bands can still be heard in today’s modern rock music.

What bands are considered 90s grunge?

Grunge music is a genre of alternative rock that got popular in the early 1990s. Grunge bands are typically characterized by their heavy, sludgy sound and angst-filled lyrics.

The term “grunge” was first used to describe the music of Seattle bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains.

Other notable grunge bands include Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and Smashing Pumpkins. While the term “grunge” is often associated with the 1990s, there are still a number of grunge bands active today.

Who was the most popular grunge band in the 90s?

The most popular grunge band in the 1990s was Nirvana. They were formed in Washington in 1987 and became popular with their 1991 album Nevermind.

The album featured the hit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and made grunge a mainstream genre. Nirvana disbanded in 1994 after lead singer Kurt Cobain committed suicide, but they continue to be one of the most influential bands of all time.

Was grunge from the 80s or 90s?

The debate over when grunge began is ongoing, but many believe that the roots of grunge date back to the 1980s.

Bands like Sonic Youth and Mudhoney were some of the earliest proponents of the sound and aesthetic of grunge.

However, it was not until the early 1990s that grunge truly exploded onto the mainstream music scene. Nirvana’s 1991 release, “Nevermind” is often credited with bringing grunge into the mainstream and helping to define the genre.

So while grunge may have begun in the 1980s, it was in the 1990s when it reached its peak in popularity.

Who was more popular Nirvana or Pearl Jam?

Nirvana and Pearl Jam are two of the most popular grunge bands of all time. Nirvana was formed in 1987 in Aberdeen, Washington, by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic.

Where, Pearl Jam was formed in 1990 in Seattle, Washington, by singer Eddie Vedder, guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, and bassist Jeff Ament.

Both bands achieved mainstream success in the early 1990s with their respective debut albums, Bleach and Ten.

However, Nirvana’s popularity soon eclipsed that of Pearl Jam when their second album Nevermind (1991) was a massive commercial success, topping the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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