“What a time to be alive!” It’s an expression that you hear often these days, but it was definitely true if you were a rock music fan in 1991. On August 12 of that year, Metallica released their self-titled album, often referred to as “The Black Album.”

Over the next two months, it was followed by a mind-blowing parade of classic albums: Pearl Jam’s classic debut, Ten, Guns N Roses’ long-anticipated Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. And on September 24, Soundgarden released Badmotorfinger, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Nirvana unleashed Nevermind. By the way, a lot of other great albums came out during that span, including Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, Mr. Bungle’s self-titled debut, Hole’s debut Pretty On The Inside, the Pixies’ Trompe Le Monde. It wasn’t just rock bands who were releasing great records: country superstar Garth Brooks put out Ropin’ The Wind and hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest dropped The Low End Theory and Naughty By Nature released their debut. There was something in the air, or in the water.

But for the purposes of this list, we’re sticking with Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Guns N Roses and Metallica.  In honor of those incredible 44 days (they were tough if you were a student on a budget trying to buy all of these CDs!), we’re ranking the 44 best songs from those seven albums. We’re sure you’ll tell us what we missed and what we got wrong. But something that we can all agree on is that ’91 was a great and pretty much unprecedented time for rock music.


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