In the early 90’s, grunge took over the world. But after Kurt Cobain’s death, the US-dominated music landscape quickly became boring and was to be shaken by a new breed of British bands. Bands who were reexploring the history of british pop, who were proud of their cultural heritage and whose lyrics the British youth could really relate to. The media quickly took interest and soon the likes of Suede, Pulp, Oasis, Blur and many others were all over the music press, the radios and their rock and roll adventures all over the tabloids. And, breaking from the British indie tradition, these bands weren’t scared to be big…
As it offen happens when chemicals are involved, at some point the drugs stopped working. In a few years, Madchester had become a mockery of itself. The Hacienda was plagued by drug-related violence and criminality, the bands were repeatedly pointed at for their excessive laddishness and their follow up albums were often very disappointing. To finish it all off, a new phenomenon from America was quickly becoming the new love of the British music press: Grunge.
Still, Madchester had planted seeds that would flourish a few years later with Britpop.
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.