Top 10 Alt-Rock Videos From 1991
Before you start asking us why ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ isn’t on this list of the Top Alt-Rock Videos From 1991, you should know that Nirvana’s game-changing classic spent only one week at No. 1 on the modern-rock chart. And because this list reflects the year’s biggest alt-rock songs, a mere single week isn’t going to cut it. But yeah, we know it’s the best thing that came out that year — probably the best single of the entire ’90s. But as far as its chart presence in 1991, Jesus Jones had a way better year.
U2, ‘Mysterious Ways’
The second single from U2’s terrific ‘Achtung Baby’ was a monster hit back in 1991 — one of their all-time biggest, in fact. The song stayed at the top of the modern-rock chart for nine weeks. The groovy video, featuring a belly dancer, probably helped.
R.E.M., ‘Losing My Religion’
R.E.M. were slowly making their way from the college-rock underground to the mainstream for almost a decade when ‘Losing My Religion’ reached No. 1 in the spring of 1991 and stayed there for two full months. It also became their biggest pop hit.
Jesus Jones, ‘Right Here, Right Now’
These London indie rockers reached the top of the modern-rock chart twice in the early ’90s — first with this hit (their debut single that also made it to No. 2 on the pop chart) and then again two years later with ‘The Devil You Know.’
Siouxsie and the Banshees, ‘Kiss Them for Me’
Robert Smith used to play guitar for these goth favorites, but he was busy making his own hits with the Cure when ‘Kiss Them for Me’ (from their album ‘Superstition’) hit No. 1 for five weeks in mid 1991. It would be the British group’s last big hit.
Elvis Costello, ‘The Other Side of Summer’
We’ve always loved Costello’s wild-Amish look in this video. The rest of 1991’s ‘Mighty Like a Rose’ album is pretty forgettable, but this summery single — which hit No. 1 on the modern-rock chart for four weeks — is a chewy highlight.
Big Audio Dynamite II, ‘Rush’
After Mick Jones left the Clash, he formed this hip-hop-swiping alt-rock group. ‘Rush,’ which stayed at No. 1 on the modern-rock chart for four straight weeks, samples the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ to great effect. Turn this one up loud.
Sting, ‘All This Time’
Sting wasn’t all that far removed from his Police roots when he released ‘The Soul Cages’ in 1991. Its first single, the super-hooky ‘All This Time,’ would be his only No. 1 on the modern-rock chart and one of the last times he’s shown any sort of life on record.
Simple Minds, ‘See the Lights’
The ‘Don’t You (Think About Me)’ hitmakers were still a thing in the early ’90s, when they released their ‘Real Life’ album and its first single, ‘See the Lights,’ which sounds like U2. It was enough to propel the song to No. 1 for a couple of weeks.
Electronic, ‘Get the Message’
New Order’s Bernard Sumner and the Smiths’ Johnny Marr briefly played together in this electro-pop group from the early ’90s. ‘Get the Message’ was their only song to reach No. 1, but we prefer their first single, ‘Getting Away With It.’
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Give It Away’
After way too many years as a goofball funk band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally got serious in 1991, working with producer Rick Rubin and making their best album, ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik.’ The first single, ‘Give It Away,’ was the band’s first modern-rock No. 1.