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The outbreak of grunge due to the success of Nirvana starting in 1991. Commonly compared to the outbreak of punk in the late 70s caused by the Sex Pistols. The key difference is that the Sex Pistols achieved fame from being intentionally chaotic public figures whose goal was to create controversy. They wanted the fame, because they wanted to piss Britain off. Nirvana, particularly Kurt Cobain, did not want any fame whatsoever and wished for grunge to stay underground. Their success was an accident, one that calls back to their tour with Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth had recently signed to a major record label, DGC, but with the intent of keeping their trademark noise rock and to basically sabotage and manipulate the mainstream from within. Kim Gordon then invited Kurt to have Nirvana join DGC, and though reluctant at first, they eventually went for it, growing tired of Sub Pop and assuming they could do the same as SY. Kim's fatal mistake was forgetting that Nirvana was a much younger band that did not know how to keep their success on the down low like Sonic Youth could. The mainstream, tired of new wave and hair metal, saw Smells Like Teen Spirit on MTV all across the nation and decided this was the next big thing, completely ignoring what Nirvana stood for and blindly consuming the music without thought. Thus, the grunge explosion. Only lasted about 3-4 years before being killed off by sellout post-grunge bands following what unfortunately became a mainstream trend.
Already existing bands that gained popularity during the grunge explosion include what became the big four (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains), Mudhoney, Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone (posthumously), Screaming Trees, the Melvins, and outside the Seattle area, Hole, Babes in Toyland, and L7. Some more than others. Then there's Stone Temple Pilots, who had a good first album, but then sold out big time, resembling post-grunge instead.
by 1 2 X U December 03, 2014
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