The 1970s were full of huge rock star tragedies. The ’80s were full of band breakups, huge accidents and the Satanic Panic. But the ’90s as a decade was a whole different monster on its own.
Of course there were other huge deaths and band breakups, singers leaving in the midst of a group’s success and drama. But there were also some major riots, huge artists trying to battle the unfairness of the music industry, rockers being blamed for catastrophes and an entire subgenre of metal spreading, ahem, mayhem, throughout Europe.
The ’90s did away with the colored spandex, the big hair and the party anthems. Seattle was now the music capital of the country, not Los Angeles. It was cooler to do less than do more, and writing songs about social issues and the world were a lot more appealing than sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
We compiled a timeline of some of the biggest and most shocking rock and metal moments of the 1990s, which you can explore in chronological order below. We couldn’t possibly write about every band breakup — especially because some weren’t all that shocking in the end (we’re looking at you, Guns N’ Roses). But these were the moments people remember hearing about in the news nearly 30 years ago. The moments that defined the decade.
The Most Shocking Rock + Metal Moments of the ’90s
The wildest moments of the ’90s.