I’m going to show my age now, but 30 years ago a raft of really important albums were released.
Music, like most forms of art, can transport us back to what was probably a simpler time and for me, 1991 was a much simpler time –apart from the existential horror that is puberty.
However, the grunge scene was starting to find its feet in the USA, pushing the hair-metal off to the side and giving us some astonishing albums to boot.
Temple of the Dog
In April 1991, Temple of the Dog’s self-titled and only album was released, seeing the late, great Chris Cornell join forces with the equally great Eddie Vedder, who would both have albums released later that year –Pearl Jam’s stunning “Ten” in August and Soundgarden’s “BadMotorFinger” in October.
Unfortunately I didn’t discover Temple of the Dog until much later in life –the only way to listen to anything that wasn’t mainstream in 1991 was to either take the chance on the cassette or CD, or hope to see it on Beavis & Butthead or Noisy Mothers in the early hours of the morning. We didn’t get the internet until the mid 90s and Napster didn’t arrive until the early 2000s. Even then it still took hours to download a single song.
What I did hear is Pearl Jam’s stunning debut album Ten, Nirvana’s Nevermind and in the metal sphere, Metallica’s self-titled “black” album. Truth be told, Guns & Roses was my gateway into hard rock and metal with Appetite for Destruction. My sister made a tape for me, with Appetite for Destruction on one side and Metallica on the other side, without telling me what was on side 2.
That would set me off on a path that shaped the rest of my life. My best mate would introduce me to Pantera, Fear Factory and a host of others and things just escalated from there really. Time spent learning the guitar and drums soon followed and well, that’s a story for another day.
In 1991 Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 were released, which would feature on 1991’s big blockbuster movie, Terminator 2.
This is just a handful, of course. There was also the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar” album; U2’s “Actung Baby”; Sepultura’s “Arise”; Ozzy Osborne’s “No More Tears”; PM Dawn’s “Of the heart”; Van Halen’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”; and many more.
Best of all, I still listen to a lot of these regularly, 30 years later. That’s the great thing about music. It is with you from one decade to the next and can transport you back to those simpler times at will. There may always be songs on heavy rotation at pivotal times in your life –for better or for worse. They’ll always be with you —providing you still have the CD.