The Top 10 Alternative Rock Songs of All Time

Authored by Robert A. Trezza in Music 
Published on 03-07-2009

Alternative rock music first started to surface in the 80’s, but did not really take off until the 90’s. As the 80’s were dominated by big hair and rock ballads, it seemed as if music fans were itching for something new and they received it as alternative broke out in a big way. Although there are many songs that have topped the charts over the years here is the top ten in our opinion.

Smells Like Teen Spirit:

Nirvana may have been one of the first to bury the “hair” bands. It was “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that broke them on to the scene it a big way. One can only imagine what type of success they would have had if front man Kurt Cobain had not died.

Been Caught Stealing:

Who could ever forget those barking dogs made famous in the song “Been Caught Stealing”, by Jane’s Addiction? This was definitely one of their best songs and fans agreed, as in the 90’s it spent numerous days on the charts.
Despite a split for a short period the boys are back and planning a tour soon.

Sex Type Thing:

Scott Weiland and the boys broke out with the unforgettable chorus “you shouldn’t have worn the dress” and “I know you want what’s on my mind.” These just two lines that made “Sex Type Thing” memorable.

Lust For Life:

Iggy Pop may be a descendant of the Energizer Bunny, as he just keeps going. The pop icon would resurface again in the 90’s with his hit “Lust For Life.” Although Iggy started out as a drummer, luckily for us he became the vocalist.

Head Like A Hole:

Known to fans as NIN or Trent’s band, Nine Inch Nails broke out on to the scene with this heavy beating song, “Head Like A Hole.” The band continues to sell out arenas today and albums are selling strong as well.


A little girl with a powerful voice led the Cranberries into the waters of success with their hit “Zombie.” The Cranberries may be best known for making yodeling cool.


Eddie Vetter and the guys from Pearl Jam stunned fans with their powerful video for “Jeremy” and the song hit the charts with the same power.

Devil’s Haircut:

Showing he was more than a “Loser”, Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut” stormed the charts in the 90’s.


EMF’s mastering of the charts in the 90’s was just as the song’s title would state, “Unbelievable”. The beat still goes on today as Kraft has made the song “Crumbelievable” in their latest commercial.

Nothing Compares to You:

Dressed in controversy and sporting a new look Sinead O’ Conner left her mark on the 90’s with her hit “Nothing Compares to You.”

Alternative music has certainly left its mark over the past few decades and bands in this genre still continue to make great and memorable music today. From satellite radio to terrestrial the sounds of “alternative rock” are still pounding the waves in 2009.


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