1994 The Year Alternative Became Mainstream, Pt. 1

By the early 1990’s, a war was raging in music. Like every other major stylistic shift, there was a great deal of animosity from those swept aside. But this time seemed different. Typically, the new voices who’s time in the sun say very little about the haters who vilified them. But the time for being nice was long gone.

Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don’t fit into boxes.

Tori Amos

Alternative rock musicians were often blacklisted by major and mainstream media companies, and the artists who were a part of the major label money-go-round were all too happy to constantly deride those in the indie community as losers and people with no musicianship.

And then in 1991, along came Nirvana with Nevermind, a landmark LP that proved that there was room for other voices, that these voices would not be silenced and the people behind these voices weren’t taking any more of your BS. These artists gave misfits of all stripes a type of personal pride an a self-reliant ammunition to stand up against bullies and haters.

However, it didn’t take long for mainstream media to recognize this. In just two years, many former indie bands made the jump to major labels, with no loss of quality. By 1994, it seemed an amazing, must-have album or two was coming weekly. This was the year that indie culture and alternative rock became marketing catchphrases. But for a brief, shining moment, it was glorious, magical and breathtaking.

Next Week: Part 2
Featuring a live soundboard recording of The Smashing Pumpkins from a 1994 European festival date.

First Part

  • Welcome To Paradise, Green Day, Dookie
  • God, Tori Amos, Under the Pink
  • March of the Pigs, Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
  • Starfield Road, Sonic Youth, Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star
  • Headache, Frank Black, Teenager of the Year
  • Buddy Holly, Weezer, Weezer (a.k.a. The Blue Album)
  • Mojo Pin, Jeff Buckley, Grace
  • Sabotage, The Beastie Boys, Ill Communication

Second Part

  • Parklife, Blur, Parklife
  • Gutless, Hole, Live Through This
  • Seether, Veruca Salt, American Thighs
  • Blind, Korn, Korn
  • Down To This, Soul Coughing, Ruby Vroom
  • Loser, Beck, Mellow Gold


  • Where Did You Sleep Last Night?, Nirvana, MTV Unplugged

Love to you all.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Host, Producer, Audio Engineer and Writer

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