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The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

Updated May 2, 2020 931.7k votes 62.4k voters 3.6m views383 items

List RulesBest musical acts who were active in the 1990s, judged on the quality of their '90s projects ONLY.

 

Take a big whiff- "mmmbop", it smells like the '90s in here! An incredibly eclectic decade for music, the 1990s saw the rise in popularity of new genres and sounds never heard before (and rarely heard better). Bands of the '90s created a unique sound and catchy lyrics in a way that captured the enthusiasm and disillusionment of the era. The '90s bands and solo artists that populate this list cover all musical categories. If you're still feeling nostalgic, check out the best fictional '90s songs and the greatest one hit wonders of the '90s

From the East Coast/West Coast rap wars, to the grunge era, to low-fi garage rock, to '90s rock bands, the Lilith Fair sound, and the teen pop takeover - 1990s music was rich with experimentation and style. Where else but in the MTV in your head can you find top artists like Nirvana, Wu-Tang Clan, No Doubt, A Tribe Called Quest, Oasis, Bikini Kill and Britney Spears in one place? Whether you were a fan of 90s alternative bands like Blind Melon, you were more dark and brooding and loved grunge music, or you couldn't get enough of popular, mainstream pop names like the Backstreet Boys, take a moment now and give some of your favorite '90s music artists some love! Who are the most famous '90s bands? Which '90s singers led their groups to become the among best of the decade?

Vote-Up your favorite '90s artists and make sure to add any of your favorites that we left out!  

 

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  • 1
    Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    9,492
    5,336

    Soundgarden

    Rock music, Grunge

    AlbumsSuperunknown, Badmotorfinger, Down on the Upside, Louder Than Love, Black Hole Sun

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  • 2
    Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    14,251
    8,772

    Nirvana

    Rock music, Grunge

    AlbumsNevermind, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, Bleach, Heart‐Shaped Box

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  • 3
    Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    9,802
    5,799

    Alice in Chains

    Rock music, Grunge

    AlbumsDirt, Alice in Chains, Facelift, Jar of Flies, Black Gives Way to Blue

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  • 4
    Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    9,251
    6,065

    Foo Fighters

    Alternative rock, Post-grunge

    AlbumsWasting Light, The Colour and the Shape, Foo Fighters, One by One, There Is Nothing Left to Lose

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  • 5
    Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    11,616
    7,859

    Pearl Jam

    Rock music, Grunge

    AlbumsTen, Vs., Vitalogy, Binaural, No Code

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  • 6
    Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    8,440
    4,865

    Rage Against the Machine

    Crossover thrash, Nu metal

    AlbumsRage Against the Machine, Evil Empire, The Battle of Los Angeles, Renegades, Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

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  • 7
    Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    11,692
    7,795

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Alternative Rock, Funk Metal

    AlbumsCalifornication, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Stadium Arcadium, Mother's Milk, By the Way

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  • 8
    Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    8,729
    5,833

    Metallica

    Thrash metal, Rock music

    AlbumsMaster of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica, …and Justice for All, Kill 'Em All

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  • 9
    Stone Temple Pilots is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    7,883
    5,156

    Stone Temple Pilots

    Rock music, Grunge

    AlbumsPurple, Core, Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop, №4, Interstate Love Song

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  • 10
    Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    7,118
    4,764

    Beastie Boys

    Hip hop music, Pop punk

    AlbumsPaul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, Hello Nasty

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  • 11
    Green Day is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    9,704
    7,462

    Green Day

    Pop punk, Rock music

    AlbumsAmerican Idiot, Dookie, 21st Century Breakdown, ¡Dos!, Insomniac

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  • 12
    Tool is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    6,631
    4,866

    Tool

    Post-metal, Metal

    AlbumsÆnima, Lateralus, 10,000 Days, Undertow

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  • 13
    Nine Inch Nails is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    6,833
    5,192

    Nine Inch Nails

    Dark ambient, Industrial metal

    AlbumsThe Downward Spiral, The Fragile, With Teeth, Pretty Hate Machine, Year Zero

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  • 14
    Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    7,322
    5,652

    Guns N' Roses

    Glam metal, Blues-rock

    AlbumsAppetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I, Chinese Democracy, Use Your Illusion II

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  • 15
    The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    9,271
    7,222

    The Smashing Pumpkins

    Shoegazing, Gothic rock

    AlbumsSiamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Oceania, Gish, Adore

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  • 16
    Sublime is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    5,228
    3,914

    Sublime

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop

    AlbumsSublime: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 40oz. to Freedom, Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends, Robbin' the Hood, Second-Hand Smoke

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  • 17
    Weezer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    6,523
    5,426

    Weezer

    Pop punk, Rock music

    AlbumsPinkerton, Weezer, Weezer, Weezer, Raditude

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  • 18
    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    3,407
    2,519

    AC/DC

    Blues-rock, Boogie rock

    AlbumsBack in Black, Highway to Hell, Let There Be Rock, The Razors Edge, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

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  • 19
    The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    5,737
    4,397

    The Offspring

    Pop punk, Ska punk

    AlbumsSmash, Americana, The Offspring, Hit That, Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)

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  • 20
    System of a Down is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    3,246
    2,340

    System of a Down

    Nu metal, Progressive metal

    AlbumsToxicity, Hypnotize, Mezmerize, System of a Down, Steal This Album!

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  • 21
    Oasis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    7,649
    6,503

    Oasis

    Rock music, Britpop

    Albums(What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Definitely Maybe, Don’t Believe the Truth, Dig Out Your Soul, Be Here Now

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  • 22
    The Cranberries is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    4,861
    3,873

    The Cranberries

    Jangle pop, New Wave

    AlbumsEverybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? / No Need to Argue, Bury the Hatchet

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  • 23
    R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    6,981
    5,881

    R.E.M.

    Jangle pop, Alternative rock

    AlbumsMurmur, Green, Automatic for the People, Out of Time, Reckoning

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  • 24
    David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    4,486
    3,662

    David Bowie

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop

    AlbumsThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs, Aladdin Sane, "Heroes"

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  • 25
    Eminem is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s
    6,165
    5,346

    Eminem

    Hip hop

    AlbumsThe Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show, Infinite, Recovery

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