This popular ’90s alternative album doesn’t get mentioned in the same breath as Nevermind or Ten. But maybe it should.


As I’ve shared many times before, I’m a Gen Xer. I was born in ’77, I started high school in ’91, and graduated college in ’99. The grunge and alternative music of the ’90s is my musical wheelhouse.


Back in those days, CDs reigned supreme. The portability of a cassette tape, but with superior sound quality (or so we thought at the time). In high school, I switched from a Walkman to a Discman and never looked back.


Like many music fans in those days, I’d keep some of my collection in one of these. Most of my friends did the same. And in 1994, almost all of them had one particular CD in their collection.


Live 'Throwing Copper, a '90s Alternative Album

Released on April 26, 1994.


Live’s Throwing Copper Was a Sneaky Top ’90s Alternative Album

York, PA alternative rockers Live released Throwing Copper on April 26, 1994. It was their third release, and became their breakthrough album. It yielded 5 singles, released over the course of 14 months.


Over the last 30+ years, it’s gone on to sell over 8 million copies. Eight-times platinum. That’s four times as many copies as Soundgarden‘s debut Superunknown. It’s more than every Pearl Jam album, excepting Ten.


Those are absolutely insane numbers. So when I’m telling you that literally every music fan I knew at the time owned it, I’m not exaggerating. They did. And if they still have their bomb-ass CD book, they still do.


Live 'Selling The Drama' single

Released February 1994


Revisiting a ’90s Alternative Album That Might Deserve More

So why is Throwing Copper a sneaky top ’90s alternative album as opposed to an all-timer? Did the band break too late into the decade to get the same reverential treatment as their early-’90s peers?


Let’s take a spin through the singles, which sat alongside hits by Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and the like on ’90s rock radio (and still get played today) and see how they stand up.

  • "Selling The Drama"

    This was Throwing Copper‘s second track, but it was the album’s first single. A “teaser track” it hit radio and MTV a couple of months before the album dropped. It went to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

  • "I Alone"

    This second single was released about a month after the album and, much like “Selling The Drama,” did an exemplary job of showcasing how Live had sonic similarities to their contemporary alt-rock acts, but still sounded like their own thing.

  • "Lighting Crashes"

    The tried-and-true rock move of releasing a ballad as your third single…even when you don’t release it as a single. “Lightning Crashes” technically never received an American release as a single. But it still charted as high as No. 12. And it’s the only ’90s hit to use the word “placenta” in the lyrics. Powerful.

  • "All Over You"

    Another technically-not-a-single single. “All Over You” was also all over the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. It even crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 33. I’m telling you, this album was EVERYWHERE in ’94 and ’95. And of course the band played it on their MTV Unplugged sesh.

  • "White, Discussion"

    Single number 5, released almost a year after the album hit shelves. What a monster of an album. Put some respect on Throwing Copper.

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