The best 1990s bands and their biggest hits

1990s bands

Just like I did on the blog a few years ago, I’m going to talk about some of the best bands in the history of music from my point of view, but here focusing on the English-speaking market.

In this post you will find a selection of the best bands from the 90s based on the number of songs present in the Spotify playlist I created for you with more than 350 songs from 1990 to 1999.

To warn you a little, although I’m talking about music bands from the 90s in English, not everything we consider bands are here.

For example, you won’t find anything from the Backstreet Boys or the Spice Girls. Neither does Wu-Tang Clan or A Tribe Called Quest. Let’s say that when working on the list I took into account above all that they meet a series of conditions.

In short, they basically correspond to the image we all have when we talk about a musical band: guitar, bass, percussion and a vocalist who doesn’t necessarily use instruments, but if he does, it’s not that bad. Based on these conditions, I open my hand to other types of bands, but that include at least these bases.

Albums by famous bands from the 90s

My selection of 90s bands including Spotify playlist

Taking into account that Nu Metal bands emerged in the 90s, and with them the figure of the DJ among the members of a group, the configuration may vary a little, but the important thing remains the same.

If you are interested, in addition to subscribing to the playlist, don’t hesitate to read about the bands I chose on the blog and you will also find out why I named them as the best 90s groups.

As you’ll see, these are just some of the iconic 90s bands that you’ll find on the Spotify playlist. The bands selected or highlighted below represent an important part of 90s music, and although as a person born in 1987 my musical memory begins in 1993 and my personal criteria roughly in 1999, the names you will see have left a lasting legacy in the music history and also in my memory.

The Offspring

The Offspring

For me, The Offspring is the best band of the 90s. Known for being one of the pillars of punk rock in the 90s, in the playlist you will find a total of 10 songs that serve to see the evolution of the Californians from a punk style closer to grunge to a much more unique sound.

Although the album Smash, published in 1994, was the starting point for the group’s fame (not in vain it became one of the best-selling independent albums of all time), I have to go back to 1992 to highlight No Hero and Session first, from the album Ignition.

Anyway, as I said before, you must remember the good guys from The Offspring especially for songs like Self Esteem, Come Out And Play or Smash, which became anthems of the time and catapulted the band to international fame.

Of course, in 1997 they apparently disappointed a little with Ixnay On The Hombre, of which All I Want and Gone Away stand out. But then, why are they the group with the most songs on the 90s list? Well, apart from those already mentioned, mainly because of Pretty Fly (For A White Guy), The Kids Aren’t Alright and Why Don’t You Get A Job, all from the 1998 album entitled Americana.

The Cranberries

The Cranberries

This Irish band led by Dolores O’Riordan (may she rest in peace) has captivated the world with their unique voice and soulful lyrics. So much so that it occupies second place on the list of 90s bands with a total of 7 songs, all of which were hits among the general public.

With their first album, The Cranberries proved to be one of the groups to follow over the following years, when in 1993 they surprised with the LP Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

The fact is that the success achieved with songs like Dreams and Linger was so great that it would only take a year for them to release their next album, No Need To Argue, in 1994, which features well-known hits such as Zombie and Ode To My Family, which still resonate in the collective memory of 90s music lovers.

After these two very intense years, the band took a long break (given the circumstances of the previous albums) to prepare the confirmation that we were facing a great music group and not just two works coming out of a very fruitful period of creativity for them.

The demonstration, called Bury The Hatchet, from 1999, includes such important songs as Animal Instinct, Just My Imagination and Promises, with which the Irish offered a slightly different and, for some, more mature version of the one known a few years earlier.



Although I never considered myself a Metallica fan, it turns out that they are the third most songs group on Spotify’s playlist. Normal, because beyond everyone’s taste, this is one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, and they continued their success in the 90s.

May his faithful followers forgive me, because although his career is long and has many twists and turns, of the 6 songs chosen for this selection, 4 songs belong to their 1991 album entitled The Black Album, which featured classics such as Enter Sandman, Nothing Else Matters, Sad But True and The Unforgiven.

Although in the following years they experimented with a more alternative sound in Load (1996) and Reload (1997), from which comes Fuel, a song that was followed by Whiskey In The Jar in 1998 on the album Garage Inc, they managed to maintain their status as the best rock band from the 90s.



Surely, upon entering here, you expected the presence of Nirvana. Thank God I didn’t disappoint, although it doesn’t appear as one of the three bands with the most songs on the list, perhaps because the band led by Kurt Cobain couldn’t have as long a career as other groups mentioned here due to the suicide of the most famous grunge singer.

Either way, in the years the band was active, it’s undeniable that they were an unstoppable force in the 90s grunge scene, which also means they were an unstoppable force of bitterness.

Their iconic 1991 album Nevermind includes anthems like Smells Like Teen Spirit, Lithium and Come as You Are that defined an entire generation.

However, they are not the only songs for which the group will always be remembered. In Utero (1993) with Dumb and Heart-Shaped Box and their versions on MTV Unplugged In New York recorded and published in 1994 also help with this milestone, where we find The Man Who Sold The World (original by David Bowie).

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Another of these emblematic bands of the 90s are undoubtedly the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who fused alternative rock with funk in the 90s. Songs like Under The Bridge and Give It Away from the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) became anthems of the decade.

But they weren’t the band’s only big hits, which closed the decade in 1999 with three unforgettable songs such as Californication, Otherside and Scar Tissue.

Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine

The unrepeatable Rage Against The Machine challenged norms hitherto only cherished by Aerosmith with Run-DMC with their mix of rap and metal, and their 1992 self-titled debut album is a testament to their energy and social commitment.

Songs like Bombtrack, Killing In The Name and Wake Up stand out as anthems of resistance and the fight for justice in the 90s. Obviously, the band was not a flash in the pan, and in 1996 they released the album Evil Empire, where the single highlighted Bulls On Parade, and in 1999 the song Guerrilla Radio, from the album The Battle Of Los Angeles.

Mention, on the other hand, the covers of all his albums, each one more iconic than the last.



It’s time to travel to UK to talk about another type of 90s band that, despite not being American, is inevitable to mention, given the popularity that Britpop experienced in the 90s.

In this case, I highlight the British band Blur, who brought a touch of sophistication to Britpop when compared to other groups of the decade.

The 1994 album Parklife includes songs such as Girls & Boys and Parklife, which capture the essence of the decade’s youthful spirit and social satire.

Later, in 1995, Country House would arrive as part of The Great Escape, the energetic Song 2 in 1997 and Coffee & TV in 1999, as part of the album 13.

Guns N’ Roses

Guns N' Roses

Guns N’ Roses brought hard rock back into the mainstream with their album Use Your Illusion I & II in 1991.

With band members as remembered as Axl Rose or Slash, and songs such as November Rain and Don’t Cry, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (original by Bob Dylan) and Live And Let Die (original by The Beatles), they demonstrated the versatility of band.

Meanwhile, Sweet Child O’ Mine became an instant classic that kept Guns N’ Roses as one of the most important rock bands of the 90s. They didn’t need much more to remain in the collective memory as such.



With fewer and fewer songs to mention, but, unlike the previous band, with hits more spread out throughout the decade, I’m talking about R.E.M. They triumphed in the 90s with albums such as Out of Time in 1991 and Automatic For The People in 1992.

Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts are timeless ballads that define the melancholy and introspection that plagued Gen X throughout the decade, while Shiny Happy People and Man On The Moon gave fans a little more zest for life.

You can already see that in general in the 90s there was melancholy, nihilism and a certain general sadness with its drops of indifference towards life, but the music sounded very good.



Oasis, a band from Manchester led by the Gallagher brothers, personified 90s Britpop in the collective memory much more strongly than the aforementioned Blur, despite being, overall, a worse band (ahem, personal opinion).

Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back In Anger, from their 1995 album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? are hymns that stopped playing in stadiums around the world basically because of the brothers’ bad relationship, each one getting worse. Hence the expression “Don’t go Gallagher”.

In addition to the songs mentioned, in the list you will find Live Forever, from the album Definitely Maybe (1994) and Champagne Supernova, not as famous as those already mentioned, but another song that deserves to be highlighted from their most famous album.



Just as strip the mountain goat, in the list of the best 90s bands there is one that I want to highlight because it is of Spanish origin.

They weren’t the only one who sang in English in the 90s and did so successfully, but they can easily be considered the best. In fact, in Spain we have a whole generation of bands known for appearing in Pepsi advertisements, but among names like Australian Blonde or Los Manolos (ahem again), it’s worth highlighting the presence of Dover, the Spanish band formed by sisters Cristina and Amparo Llanos, who attracted international attention in the 1990s thanks to their album Devil Came To Me released in 1997, and who further confirmed their talent with the album The Flame in 1999.

Fusing alternative rock with grunge in a distinct way (although in the following decade they turned to a much more pop and electronic style), songs like Devil Came To Me, Serenade, Cherry Lee and D.J. stood out for their broken sound and Cristina Llanos’s distinguishable voice.

Discover more 90s bands by listening to my playlist on Spotify and Tidal

90s bands Tidal playlist

Finally, there are still other groups to mention that also have 4 songs on the list, but I can’t talk about them all here because it would end up being boring, so, as a reparation, I’ll leave here the names of those that you might miss. The most notable: Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Corrs, Ocean Color Scene, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray or Limp Bizkit.

Furthermore, here is the link to the playlist on Tidal, in case you don’t have Spotify and prefer the sound quality (or even if it’s for ethical reasons) or simply because you think it’s more worth listening to the music on this platform. music.

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