With Nevermind’s huge commercial success, Nirvana had shattered the glass ceiling: it was finally possible for alternative bands to be successful and make a living out of their music. Without it, most of us would have never heard of bands like The White Stripes or The Foo Fighters.
But after Kurt Cobain’s death, grunge fans could only sit and watch in horror at what “alternative” american music was becoming. Greedy and impatient record labels were pushing unimaginative bands to replicate Nirvana’s success. Even metal hair bands – grunge’s nemesis – were dropping glitter for flanel shirts in order to join the bandwagon. Nickelback, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park… Were they all Nirvana’s fault?
As the drugged up Seattle grunge scene was growing bigger, it started to gather interest on a national level. Gigs were now attracting clean and normal kids who were turning their backs on heavy metal, the press was becoming hysterical and record labels were fighting to find out who was going to be the next big thing: Soundgarden? Mudhoney? Alice in Chains?
The answer became obvious at the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind and their Generation X anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit. They became the first ever alternative american band to become massively successful, quickly becoming triple platinium and even beating Mickael Jackson in the charts.