Let’s be honest here for a moment about famous Seattle bands. There are a TON of them! So you may be asking yourself, how in the world did I pick out the top 10 bands to put on this list? Well, simply put it is based solely on opinion. That’s right, this is my list of picks, and I hope you enjoy (in no particular order):
1. Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam is a band that I hear all the time on the radio, and I still don’t get sick of hearing their hits. Their first and most defining album, Ten, was released on August 27th, 1991. Ten managed to stay on the billboard charts for over two years, went 13 times platinum, and became one of the highest selling rock albums ever. Not bad for a first release!
What is there to say about Nirvana that hasn’t been already? The band that brought alternative and grunge music to the forefront of the music industry, blending memes of punk, rock, acoustic guitar, and conflicting vocal lines. While their first release of Bleach in 1989 was a success for the band on Sub Pop Records, it was Nevermind that catapulted the band to fame.
Started in 1984 by singer Chris Cornell, Soundgarden failed to achieve commercial success and large fame until the grunge genre became popular in the early 90’s. They were however, the first grunge band to sign a major label contract in 1988 with A&M Records. Their most successful album came in 1994 entitled, Superunknown. Not only did it debut at number one on the Billboard charts, but the singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” both became Grammy winning singles.
4. Alice In Chains
Another great Seattle band that rose during the grunge movement of the early 90’s. Something I really enjoy about Alice In Chains is how varied their music can be. Sometimes acoustic and light, but other times filled with thick heavy metal distortion. And let us not forget the harmonized vocals between Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell. To this day their album Dirt remains one of my favorites.
5. Death Cab For Cutie
Transatlanticism in 2003 pushed this group to widespread commercial success and fame. However, Death Cab For Cutie has had a strong Indie following since its debut album, Something About Airplanes in 1998. Definitely a more down tempo and emotional gripping band, I find myself listening to them on rainy days, along with Ben Gibbard’s other project, The Postal Service.
6. Jimi Hendrix
Simply put, the number one greatest guitarists of the rock genre. Well, at least accordingly to Rolling Stone, and I’d say they know what they’re talking about. It still amazes me how phenomenal his riffs and solos are, not to mention the overall song structure. He is easily one of the most important and influential musicians of the 20th century, and has inspired thousands of others over the years.
I love Heart. As one of the newest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2013), they have been one of the most enduring hard rock bands in history. They originally came to fame in the 1970’s after releasing their breakthrough album, Dreamboat Annie. The two singles “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man” were key to their success at the time, and remain fan favorites to this day.
These guys have been quite successful in the progressive heavy metal scene. Formed in 1981, they received worldwide recognition after releasing Operation: Mindcrime in 1988. To many, this is considered one of the greatest concept albums to ever be released.
9. Dave Matthews Band
To this day, Dave Matthews Band continues to fill venues (and the Gorge) full of people, and for good reason. Not only is the music amazing, but watching them perform live is something that everyone should see. As a drummer myself, I do tend to geek out a little bit while watching Carter Beauford solo! Not only a local legend, Dave Matthews Band also had the highest ticket sales of any North American act from 2000 to 2010. Pretty impressive.
10. Modest Mouse
OK, so technically these guys are from Issaquah. No matter though, as they have made a name for themselves in the Indie-pop scene. To be fair, it took me several listens of their album Good News For People Who Love Bad News to really appreciate them. But once I did, I was hooked.
An amicable list of the top 10 famous Seattle bands if I do say so myself. Feel free to disagree, but you have to admit that each group listed above has had its share of fame and influence in the music industry. Thanks for reading, and keep rocking!