Top 10 Alt-Rock Videos From 1997
By 1997, the buzz had worn off the alt-rock revolution. Cobain was dead, Pearl Jam were getting boring and everyone was starting to realize that Seattle was a rainy miserable place. So the music slowly started transforming into something that resembled the mainstream hard rock so many of these songs were sharing airtime with. Mopey alt-rock guys were replaced by guitar-wielding dudes with funky facial hair and lots of tattoos. It’s a transitional year, for sure, as you’ll see on our list of the Top 10 Alt-Rock Videos From 1997.
Marcy Playground, ‘Sex and Candy’
This NYC trio managed to place a couple of other songs on the modern-rock chart (one of them was called ‘Saint Joe on the School Bus,’ which probably explains why you don’t remember it). But neither was as massive as ‘Sex and Candy,’ which topped the chart for a whopping 15 weeks.
Third Eye Blind, ‘Semi-Charmed Life’
These San Francisco rockers got all skeevy on this big hit about sloppy sex, meth addiction and living up to zero potential. Stephan Jenkins walked the walk when the 38-year-old frontman began dating 22-year-old pop singer Vanessa Carlton. Still, super-catchy song.
Sugar Ray Featuring Super Cat, ‘Fly’
Yep, in 1997 this Los Angeles group (led by ’90s super bro Mark McGrath) were alt-rock royalty, Their first big single reached No. 1 and stayed there for eight weeks. These days, McGrath hosts musical-themed cruises. Fly, indeed.
Raise a pint for the multi-member Chumbawamba, who were actually a pretty revolutionary crew back in England, calling for anarchy and the usual sorta punk takeover stuff before they had their one and only hit, an ode to getting s–t-faced drunk.
The Wallflowers, ‘One Headlight’
Things had gotten so disorganized in alternative nation in 1997 that these heartland rockers — who sounded like Tom Petty and were led by Bob Dylan’s son — were considered modern rock. We like the Springsteen-lite song. But alternative? Um, no.
Smash Mouth, ‘Walkin’ on the Sun’
Before they recorded that song everyone knows from ‘Shrek,’ these California pop-rockers hit No. 1 with their debut single. After a few cover songs, they settled into the summer ribs-fest circuit and similar options available to ’90s bands with names like Smash Mouth.
Garbage, ‘#1 Crush’
Garbage were in between their great debut album and their terrific second LP when they recorded this song for the ‘Romeo + Juliet’ soundtrack (the movie with Leonardo Di Caprio). Coincidentally, our #1 crush in 1997 was Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson. Funny how that works out.
U2’s 1997 album ‘Pop’ took a lot of heat back in the day for its techno beats. But strip away some of the digital debris, and you’re left with a pretty solid collection of songs. ‘Discotheque’ was the first single. It stayed at No. 1 for four weeks.
U2, ‘Staring at the Sun’
All of the ‘Pop’ haters warmed a bit to the album’s second single. No surprise why. ‘Starting at the Sun’ is the record’s most U2-like song, a near anthem that recalls their ’80s material. Like ‘Discotheque,’ it reached No. 1, staying there for three weeks.
The Verve Pipe, ‘The Freshmen’
A super-sensitive ballad about … what? We’re still not sure what happened back in the day that made singer Brian Vander Ark take such a pensive mood on this huge radio hit. The Michigan band had a couple more minor hits before fading out with the ’90s.