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Grunge: The Sound Of Seattle Essay

5175 words - 21 pages

In the mid 1980's the isolated city of Seattle was developing a regional sound, no one at the time had a name for the heavy sound, but it was crushing and extreme. By late 1991 this sound and attitude had coined the term Grunge, and the bands that were used to playing in small clubs and pubs for a pittance, became megastars over night, playing big arena's and selling ten's of millions of albums and the small independent record labels such as Sub Pop became rich and powerful record companies. The band that spear headed this invasion of grunge was Nirvana who became the first alternative band to top the world charts with their second album "Nevermind". This opened the flood gates for the rest of the Seattle bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Mud Honey, who would also go on to dominate the music scene of the early nineties. This created a gold rush for big record companies, who previously would never have bothered to go to Seattle to sign a band, were signing bands at an incredible rate, at least one a week. Record companies all wanted to find the next Nirvana. Grunge all so became a product of the fashion industry. Ripped jeans and flannel shirts worn by the Seattle bands including Nirvana and Pearl Jam became the latest trend and Designers like Calvin Klein used it in their shows, the cheap Grunge style clothing became more and more expensive. Grunge fashion was exploited just like the music. Grunge had an immense impact on the world, it has influenced millions and will never be forgotten. In December 1992 Spin Magazine stated 'Seattle is currently to the rock 'n' roll world what Bethlehem was to Christianity.'Development of the Regional SoundSeattle is located in the North West of the United States of America. It used to be known mainly for making aeroplanes and logging. The North West is the serial killer capital of the world, there are more unsolved serial killings there than any other place in America. The Manson family used to holiday there and there are a lot of occult practices, all this became a factor in the music. In the eighties Seattle was culturally cut off from the rest of America, major label bands never toured as far up as Seattle they only came up the west as far as San Francisco. Nils Bernstien who is head of publicity at Sub Pop Records said 'Bands stopped coming to Seattle after 1980 because it wasn't worth it to play one show.' Seattle at the time had only two clubs where original bands could play. The popular underground bands of Seattle at the time were Umen, Skin Yard, Malfunkshun, Black Outs and Green River. These bands were a large inspiration for many Grunge bands especially Green River, despite having little commercial success. It was the isolation that gave Seattle its unique sound, Mark Arm from Mud Honey told Rolling Stone in April 1992 'Seattle is a relatively isolated northern city with heavy precipitation and little to do except drink beer and jam in the basement; with the population barley...

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