100+ Popular Rock bands of the ’90s – Complete List

90s-rock-bands

In the 1990s, popular music was dominated by rock bands.

While there were many talented and successful rock bands at the time, only a select few can be considered the best of the best.

Here are 100 of the best 90s rock bands, based on their commercial success, critical acclaim, and influence on other artists.


Best Rock Bands of the 90s

The list below is purely based on the highest album sales, popularity, and impact on the music industry.

  1. Nirvana
  2. Green day
  3. Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  4. Pearl Jam
  5. Linkin Park
  6. Oasis
  7. Blink-182
  8. The Smashing Pumpkins
  9. Alice in Chains
  10. Soundgarden

90s Alternative Rock Bands

If you were to ask someone to name an alternative rock band from the 1990s, they would likely say Nirvana. However, there were many other great bands that emerged during that decade.

Some of the most popular alternative rock bands from the 90s include Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and the ones listed below.

These bands helped to define the sound of alternative rock and inspired countless others musicians. Many of these alternative rock bands are still popular today and continue to tour around the world.

  1. Foo Fighters
  2. Pixies
  3. Muse
  4. Stone Temple Pilots
  5. Rage Against the Machine
  6. Queens of the Stone Age
  7. Incubus
  8. The Strokes
  9. Blur
  10. The Cranberries

Also Read90s Alternative Bands

90s Punk Rock Bands

The punk rock scene in the 1990s was a time of great change for the genre. Punk rock had been around for years, but it was during the 1990s that it really started to take off. Bands like Green Day and the Offspring brought punk rock to the mainstream, and suddenly it was cool to be punk.

This led to a whole new wave of punk bands, who took the genre in new directions. Bands like NOFX, Rancid, and Bad Religion blended punk with other styles like ska and hardcore, creating a brand of punk that was faster and heavier than anything that had come before.

The 90s punk scene was also a time of great creativity. Punk bands were no longer content to just play loud and fast music; they started experimenting with different sounds and styles, creating some of the most innovative music of the decade.

  • Green Day
  • Blink-182
  • Bad Religion
  • Rancid
  • The Offspring
  • The Bouncing Souls
  • NOFX
  • AFI
  • Less Than Jake
  • Pennywise

90s Christian Rock Bands

Christian rock bands from the 90s were very influential in terms of their lyrics. Many of them wrote songs that tackled tough topics like addiction, poverty, and racism.

They weren’t afraid to talk about controversial subjects, and they did it in a way that was respectful and thoughtful.

While some of these bands found crossover success with secular audiences, others remained primarily popular within the Christian community.

Here are 10 of the best 90s Christian Rock Bands.

  1. Skillet
  2. Thousand Foot Krutch
  3. Switchfoot
  4. Third Day
  5. Newsboys
  6. Disciple
  7. Relient K
  8. P.O.D.
  9. Casting Crowns
  10. Jars of Clay

90s Hard Rock Bands

Hard rock is a genre of music that originated in the mid-1960s, drawing inspiration from blues rock and psychedelic rock.

The term “hard rock” was first used in the early 1970s to describe bands such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. In the early 1990s, hard rock experienced a resurgence in popularity, due in part to the success of bands such as Guns N’ Roses and Metallica.

These bands were known for their powerful live performances and loud, heavy sound. Hard rock music was especially popular among young people, and concerts by these bands were often rowdy and chaotic.

  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Korn
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Pearl Jam
  • Anthrax
  • Slipknot
  • Jane’s Addiction
  • Badlands
  • Foo Fighters
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers

British Rock Bands of 90s

From the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, British rock bands dominated the airwaves and music charts both in the UK and around the world. Some of the biggest names in British rock during that time include Oasis, Radiohead, Blur, The Verve, and Coldplay.

These bands were all very different from one another, but they all had one thing in common: they were all incredibly talented.

Oasis was known for its hard-rocking anthems, while Radiohead was known for its dark and atmospheric music. Blur was more eclectic, drawing from a variety of genres including Britpop, indie rock, and electronica.

Each band had its own devoted following, and they all enjoyed considerable commercial success.

  1. Oasis
  2. Blur
  3. The Verve
  4. The Stone Roses
  5. Suede
  6. Manic Street Preachers
  7. The Charlatans
  8. Supergrass
  9. Keane
  10. Stereophonics

Early, Mid, Late 90s Rock Bands

In the early 1990s, a wave of rock bands emerged who would come to define the decade.

Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden were among the most successful groups of the era, with their angst-filled music resonating with young listeners.

The mid-1990s saw the rise of alternative rock, led by bands like Radiohead and Beck. In the late 1990s, grunge lost its grip on the mainstream, giving way to a new crop of eclectic rock acts like The Strokes, The White Stripes, and Kings of Leon.

Though their sounds differed greatly, these bands all helped to shape the musical landscape of the 1990s.

Early 90s Rock Bands

  • Nirvana
  • Green Day
  • The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Alice in Chains

Mid 90s Rock Bands

  • Weezer
  • Pearl Jam
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Blink-182
  • Oasis

Late 90s Rock Bands

  • Foo Fighters
  • Korn
  • Limp Bizkit
  • Third Eye Blind
  • Bush

Heavy Metal Rock Bands of 90s

Heavy metal rock bands of the 1990s were some of the most popular and successful bands of all time.

Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer were among the biggest names in metal during that decade. These bands brought heavy metal to the mainstream and inspired a generation of metalheads.

They released some of the most iconic albums of all time, such as Metallica’s “Black Album” and Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace.”

The 1990s saw a resurgence in heavy metal, and these bands were at the forefront of it. They toured extensively and headlined some of the biggest festivals in the world. They also helped define an era in heavy metal music and left a lasting legacy.

Here are the top 10 90s heavy metal bands you must check out.

  • Pantera
  • Megadeth
  • Metallica
  • Slayer
  • Anthrax
  • Mastodon
  • Angra
  • System of a Down
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • Slipknot

90s Indie Rock Bands

Indie rock exploded in the early 1990s as a way for musicians to create and perform music without the constraints of the mainstream industry.

Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden brought alternative rock to the forefront of the music scene and inspired a generation of indie artists.

These bands eschewed traditional recording methods in favor of smaller studios and self-production. This allowed them more creative control over their music and helped create a distinct sound that was later labeled “indie.”

While many of these bands are still active today, they are no longer considered indie since they have either signed with major labels or achieved mainstream success.

However, there are still a number of indie bands performing and recording independently, keeping the spirit of the genre alive.

  • Pixies
  • The Strokes
  • Modest Mouse
  • Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Interpol
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • The White Stripes
  • The Shins
  • Sleater-Kinney
  • Bright Eyes

90s Pop Rock Bands

In the early 1990s, pop rock bands such as The Cranberries, Third Eye Blind, and Matchbox Twenty emerged on the scene and achieved mainstream success.

These bands blended catchy pop melodies with powerful rock instrumentation, resulting in anthemic songs that became staples of the era.

Some of the most popular tracks from these groups include “Linger” by The Cranberries, “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind, and “Bent” by Matchbox Twenty.

These bands helped define the sound of 1990s pop rock and continue to be influential to this day.

  • The Cranberries
  • Third Eye Blind
  • Matchbox Twenty
  • Maroon 5
  • Linkin Park
  • Bon Jovi
  • Goo Goo Dolls
  • Admiral Twin
  • Gas Giants
  • The Minus 5

90s Soft Rock Bands

Soft rock is a genre that features mellower sounds and slower tempos than traditional rock music. Compared to harder forms of rock music like metal and punk, soft rock is often seen as more accessible and radio-friendly.

While it never achieved the same level of mainstream success as grunge or alternative rock, soft rock remained popular throughout the 1990s.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in soft rock, with bands like Haim bringing the genre into the 21st century.

That said, here are some of the best soft rock bands of the 90s you should know.

  • Hootie & the Blowfish
  • Mike and The Mechanics
  • Savage Garden
  • Wet Wet Wet
  • Eels
  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Crowded House
  • Simply Red
  • Wilson Phillips
  • Train

90s Russian Rock Bands

In the early 1990s, Russian rock bands emerged from the underground and onto the national stage. Bands like Kino, DDT, and Nautilus Pompilius became staples of Russian culture, with their anthemic songs and energetic live performances.

Despite the difficulties of life in Russia during the 1990s, these bands managed to create music that was both optimistic and reflective. Their lyrics spoke to the everyday struggles and joys of life in Russia, and their songs quickly became popular all across the country.

Even today, these bands remain popular among Russians old and young alike. Their music has stood the test of time, and it continues to reflect the unique spirit of Russian rock music.

  • Splean
  • Bi-2
  • Sektor Gaza
  • Nautilus Pompilius
  • Agatha Christie
  • Korol i Shut
  • Aria
  • Leningrad
  • Mumiy Troll
  • Bravo

90s Grunge Rock Bands

Grunge rock is a type of rock music that emerged in the early 1980s in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Grunge bands were known for their heavy, sludgy sound, which was a departure from the polished, mainstream sound of the 1980s.

The grunge movement was largely driven by underground indie labels and fanzines, and it achieved mainstream success in the early 1990s with the release of albums by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

Here are the top 10 grunge rock bands of the 90s that represent the best of this genre.

  • Mother Love Bone
  • Green River
  • Mudhoney
  • Melvins
  • L7
  • Hole
  • Skin Yard
  • Babes in Toyland
  • Mad Season
  • Candlebox

90s Rap Rock Bands

The 1990s rap rock music scene was a blend of two genres that didn’t seem like they would work together but ended up creating some memorable tunes.

Rap rock is a genre that combines rapping and rock music. It became popular in the 1990s, thanks to bands like Cypress Hill, Rage Against the Machine, and Limp Bizkit.

These bands brought rap and rock together to create a sound that was new and exciting. They were able to fuse the energy of rap with the power of rock to create a sound that appealed to both fans of rap and rock music.

  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Linkin Park
  • Limp Bizkit
  • Beastie Boys
  • Cypress Hill
  • P.O.D.
  • Crazy Town
  • Hed PE
  • Papa Roach
  • Body Count

FAQs

What is Rock Music?

Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated in the 1950s and 1960s, with roots in blues and rock and roll. It is generally characterized by loud, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and vocals.

What Rock Bands were big in the ’90s?

The 90s were a great time for rock music with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Blink-182, Green Day, and Stone Temple Pilots hitting it big. These bands brought alternative rock to the mainstream and changed the sound of popular music. They showed that you didn’t have to be polished and poppy to be successful and inspired a new generation of musicians.

Who was the best rock band of the 90s?

There are a lot of contenders for the title of best rock band of the 90s. It was a big decade for music, and there were a lot of great rock bands. But if you had to choose just one, it would have to be Pearl Jam.

They were one of the most popular bands of the decade, and they produced some of the best music of the era. Their album Ten is considered a classic, and they continued to produce great music throughout the 1990s.

Another contender for the best rock band of the 90s would be Nirvana. They burst onto the scene in 1991 with their album Nevermind, and they quickly became one of the most popular bands in the world.

Their raw, energetic sound was a hit with fans, and they continued to produce great music until Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994.