Though Nirvana were only around to release three proper albums before singer Kurt Cobain killed himself (20 years ago this Saturday), their impact has echoed in the momentous musical years since his death. But has anything come close to affecting the seismic shift in music that Nirvana brought about? Hover your mouse over Kurt’s frets to investigate or Click here to see a larger image.
1995: Oasis leads a Brit-pop movement. In Europe, people care that Oasis feuds with Blur, but in the States a less silly battle, the East Coast/West Coast rap feuds begins.
1996: Foo Fighters, featuring Nirvana’s Dave Grohl and Pat Smear are the biggest band in America.
1997: Radiohead release “OK Computer,” which is a good thing, but Creed release “My Own Prison,” which is a bad thing.
1998: Britney Spears releases her “…Baby One More Time” single, opening the doors for her former “Mickey Mouse Club” cast mates like Christina Aguilera and JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake of ‘N Sync.
1999: Woodstock ’99 is dominated by bands continuing in an angrier version of the grunge tradition, but raised on “Licensed to Ill,” like Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine. It’s a huge, violent mess. By this time, MTV has pretty much stopped airing music videos.
2000: Metallica files a suit against Napster, Eminem releases “The Marshall Matthers LP” and boy bands are the dominant force in pop music.
2001: The Strokes release their debut, “Is This It?” It is it, apparently and leather-clad NYC bands become the new Millennium’s version of flannel-clad bands from Seattle.
2002: The iPod arrived in late 2001, but this was before people lined up outside of Apple stores to buy new wares from the computer company. By 2002, most music lovers with $300 to spare had invested in one.
2003: Beyonce arrives, with her first solo effort, “Dangerously in Love.”That same year, Jay Z releases “The Black Album.”
2004: Janet Jackson shows the world her nipple at the Super Bowl and Kanye West arrives with his debut album, “The College Dropout.”
2005: Deadmau5 releases his debut album and DJ culture begins to reclaim a global audience.
2006: The mashup goes mainstream, with Danger Mouse having released “The Grey Album” two years previously, he paves the way for Girl Talk, who releases his genre-defining work, “Night Ripper.”
2007: The world falls in love with Amy Winehouse.
2008: Lady Gaga releases her debut, “The Fame.”
2009: Michael Jackson dies.Kanye embarrasses Taylor Swift.
2010: Skrillex releases “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” and your parents start asking you what this thing called dubstep is.
2011: Arcade Fire win Album of the Year Grammy, which is a good thing, but Amy Winehouse dies, which is a bad thing.
2012: The surviving members of Nirvana reunite for a one-off with Paul McCartney, whose songs Kurt Cobain had once called “embarrassing.”
2013: Miley Cyrus grows up, sticks her tongue out way too much and the world learns what it means to twerk. Cyrus, by the way, was born in November of 1992, just as Nirvana were wrapping up their tour for their breakthrough album, “Nevermind.”Cyrus has also been known to cover Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” live. This same year, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” gets a workout in Jay Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail” single.