The five best grunge rock bands: from Kurt Cobain's Nirvana to Dave Grohl's crew

These musicians were famous for playing in the dirtiest rock genre. Dirty in terms of sound. We are talking, of course, about grunge! Meet five of the most popular grunge bands

Top 5 best grunge rock bands

Grunge as a musical style originated in the dirty American town of Seattle. Grunge even translates literally as "dirt". And it sounds accordingly to its name - very rough and with a lot of musical effects. That's how Seattle's youth were trying to stand out and have fun.

And they did manage to stand out - grunge music became famous far beyond America's borders. Probably because in the 80's everyone was tired of the theatricality of rock, of glam musicians and flawless performances by classic rockers. Everybody wanted some kind of hardcore breakout. And the Seattle tomboys just hit the top ten.

There is much more to say about the history of grunge. But we suggest instead to remember the five brightest bands and listen to their popular songs. We didn't rank the bands from "best" to "worst" because they are all good in their own way. We hope our readers will agree and enjoy the music of each band.

Alice in Chains

"Alice in Chains". Photo: Pamela Littky
"Alice in Chains. Photo: Pamela Littky

One of the most popular grunge musicians. And the real ones, because they were formed in Seattle, in 1987when the genre was in its infancy. Alice in Chains was something of a locomotive, which slowly drove the genre to popularity. However, at that time it was more of a pleasant underground hobby.

Alice in Chains are not the most popular grunge rockers - they have sold 30 million of their albums, which is less than other popular grunge bands like Nirvana or Pearl Jam. But their contribution to the genre is so huge that it's unfair not to mention them when talking about grunge.

And, by the way, the band still plays to this day. The new albums are mostly heavy metal, but sometimes the band plays the same, real grunge that was still in the 80s. Even though the vocalist's voice is different now. Lane Staley of the original lineup passed away in 2002. But the rest of the musicians stick together until now.


Soundgarden band
Soundgarden band

Some more grunge pioneers from Seattle. In fact, most of the good grunge musicians are from there, because it's hard for someone from the outside to feel that kind of music. And these guys, along with Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Nirvana, lived in it all their lives, played in the only club in town, dreamed of doing anything just to get out or at least have fun.

But they didn't become popular during the heyday of grunge. But they didn't give up, they played what they liked and eventually they released things that are still remembered today. I'm talking about "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". Those songs shot up in the mid-'90s. It was around that time that the band fell apart because of the controversy - almost at the height of fame.

And when they got together in 2010 There was almost nothing left of their popularity. It ended with the vocalist committing suicide, and the band broke up for good in 2019.

Pearl Jam

group pearl jam
Pearl Jam Band

This group was formed when grunge first gained popularity. in 1990. And they became popular right after the release of their debut Ten in 1991. The album became a grunge classic, and now it is one of the top 500 albums according to the Rolling Stones.

The popularity was so overwhelming that Pearl Jam dreaded the release of the next albums. They thought they were too raw and some of the fans would walk away from them. That was partly the case, because the following albums were not as breakthrough. Even though they were incredibly popular, they were still Vs. and Vitalogy did not make it to Ten.

The band remained incredibly popular until the beginning of the 21st century. Now they are releasing albums too, but of course, they don't have their former glory anymore.



Probably the most famous band in the genre. And I wouldn't say they played much better than the others. These guys had something else going for them, a great charisma. Kurt Cobain and very memorable and at the same time simple songs, which were often devoid of meaning.

Cobain himself said that the meaning is not so important - the main thing is to feel the music and make it felt by the listeners. And Nirvana didn't have any problems with that. The only problem of the band was the habits of the frontman, which, unfortunately, ruined him.

Cobain's condition worsened, his mind weakened and what happened happened. Millions of people were if not depressed, then very upset by what happened - so great was the influence of the musician.

Although Cobain is mostly remembered for the band, there was another incredibly talented and charismatic musician in the band. Dave Grohl. And he proved that he was not a pleasant addition basking in the glory of Cobain, but a musician capable of assembling his own team and leading it to fame!

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters

And this is the Dave Grohl band we talked about above. And you have to admit - it's good. Though it was put together later than other grunge bands. But Grohl's experience more than makes up for it. The band got together in 1994 and still plays to this day.

Although they did not manage to achieve the popularity of Nirvana - the band did not catch the flash of grunge popularity, but they did sell 40 million albums. And that is not so bad. It is not the number of albums sold that defines a band, but their quality and the love of their fans. And Foo Fighters have no problem with that!

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