12 Bands Who Are Considered Pioneers of Grunge

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Just like any subgenre, it’s impossible to name one band as the true originators of grunge. But it had to start somewhere.

And no, it wasn’t with Nirvana — though they had an obvious impact on where the scene went.

To put it simply, grunge was basically a blend of punk, hard rock and metal. Every band who started doing it did it a little bit differently. No two bands sounded the same, or looked the same — despite the fact that it later became associated with flannel shirts.

Of all of the bands who were able to fall under this umbrella, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam undoubtedly became the biggest, but they weren’t necessarily all “pioneers” of grunge. Alice in Chains actually started out as a glam band, and Pearl Jam only formed after Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood died in 1990.

Some of the most pivotal grunge releases came out 30 years ago — Temple of the Dog, Mudhoney‘s Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger and, of course, Nirvana’s Nevermind — so we’re going to look back on the beginnings of the Pacific Northwest scene to commemorate this moment in time that became so significant.

We went all the way back to the late-1970s to highlight some of the bands that started doing things a little differently in the PNW, which ultimately ended up influencing the enormous grunge bands that we know today. Scroll through the gallery below to see 12 pioneers of grunge.

12 Bands Considered Pioneers of Grunge

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