Nirvana's ‘Bleach' turns 25; its legacy lives on

Album propelled mainstreaming of Seattle grunge

Before Millenials were cranking Arcade Fire and The Strokes in their iPhone earbuds, Generation X was annoying their parents with loud, low-fi grunge music.

It emanated from Seattle and ignited a sonic revolution that made the overproduced popular music of the 1980s feel boring by comparison.

Grunge was unofficially born 25 years ago with the release of Nirvana’s debut record ‘Bleach’, which hit shelves on June 15, 1989.

While ‘Bleach’ didn’t chart at first, the 11-track LP went on to sell more than 1.6 million copies in America, according to Sub Pop Records. Tracks like “Negative Creep” and “About a Girl” would go on to be labelled grunge classics after the record became widely discovered.

Grunge wouldn’t go mainstream until the band’s 1992 album ‘Nevermind’ but with the release of ‘Bleach’ the new sound was on its way. Despite the suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in 1994, other acts instrumental in creating the Seattle grunge sound continue the legacy today.

 

 

The most lucrative offshoot of the grunge scene is Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl’s band Foo Fighters. The band is scheduled to release its eighth studio album -- a follow up to 2011’s Grammy-winning ‘Wasting Light’ -- this fall, according to Billboard.

One Seattle act that slightly outdated Nirvana is Soundgarden, with their debut ‘Ultramega OK’ dropping in 1988. The band is still active, releasing their sixth album ‘King Animal’ in 2012.

Earlier this month, Soundgarden celebrated a milestone of its own, the 20th anniversary of its most popular record, ‘Superunknown’. The band played the album in its entirety before a packed crowd June 2 at New York City’s Webster Hall, showing the nostalgia factor is high surrounding grunge acts.

 

 

Pearl Jam, another Seattle act, continues to be relevant, selling out venues across America with annual tours and maintaining their own channel on SiriusXM radio. Lead singer Eddie Vedder became the face of the grunge scene after Cobain’s death, becoming one of the wealthiest musicians in the world along the way.

Another Seattle grunge act that made it big and remains active 25 years after ‘Bleach’ is Alice in Chains. The group’s debut ‘Facelift’ dropped in 1990 but their most recent release ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ hit shelves in 2013 and cracked the Billboard 200.

Nirvana were first-ballot inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, 20 years after Cobain’s death and 25 years after the release of their groundbreaking debut ‘Bleach’.

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