Grunge Music History Essay, Research Paper
Music: Grunge and the Punk Revolution 1991-1994
In September of nineteen ninety-one, an album that would forever change music was
released, Nirvana’s Nevermind revolutionized punk rock (alternative rock). The song “Smell’s Like
Teen Spirit” energized the youth who had lost faith in rock and its ability to push the barriers of
conservative thought. Kurt Cobain would be a revolutionary. The record company that produced
and distributed the album had only expected the release to sell about 250,000 copies. When it had
reached 3 million by early 92, they realized that they were on to something big, the album would
end up selling 11 million copies and still it continues to sell today even to teens that were only 5
or 6 years old at the time of the original release.
What the success of Nevermind, came a new interest in the west coast, suddenly
bands were being singed on the fact that they were based in Seattle. (The home of Nirvana)
Soon bands like Pearl Jam, Pennywise, the Decedents, and Green Day were coming out of the
west coast, the time of Grunge had come. Another great band of there era, the Smashing
Pumpkins, lead by Billy Corgan, emerged from the Chicago scene. These bands made great
changes to rock music.
Nirvana would continue to release albums that would further sustain there legendry
status, and further legitimize alternative rock. In March of 1994 Nirvana would drop out of the
huge Lollapalooza Festival. A week later Kurt committed suicide, devastating his legion of
fans and causing serious repercussions throughout the music industry. With Nevermind,
Cobain had opened the doors for grunge, in death, he would close them for good. The media
seemed keen to find a successor to Cobain’s vacant throne, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Billy
Corgan were obvious choices. Neither of them wanted the fame that came with it so Grunge died.
In the years that followed, the Smashing Pumpkins would release Mellon Collie and the
Infinite Sadness. This album would send them to a zenith of power. They would become the
Nirvana of the mid nineties, and punk rock would continue with bands like Green Day and
Pennywise would continue punk rock, and new bands like Blink 182 would revive it.