By 1996, the alt-rock revolution was in full swing. Pretty much anyone with a guitar, a halfway catchy song and some bottled-up angst could score a hit during those fruitful times. The year's biggest alt-rock hits included British guys who wanted to be American, British guys who wanted to be the Beatles and the '90s' most mangled use of the word 'ironic.'

  • Bush, 'Swallowed'

    The future Mr. Gwen Stefani desperately wanted his band to be Nirvana huge. So much so that they sounded a lot like them. A lot.

  • Primitive Radio Gods, 'Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand'

    One-man-band Christopher O'Connor was never heard from again, but his one and only hit was one of the biggest modern rock songs of 1996.

  • Oasis, 'Champagne Supernova'

    If the Beatles could get away with the seven-minute 'Hey Jude,' then surely Oasis were entitled to this chart topper that runs the same length, right?

  • The Cranberries, 'Salvation'

    These Irish rockers could be all sweet and sugary. They could also be all fierce and loud, like on their second No. 1 hit.

  • 311, 'Down'

    The first No. 1 modern-rock hit from the Nebraskan stoner kings is all rap-rock rhyme slinging and raging guitars. And bleached hair, don't forget that.

  • Alanis Morissette, 'Ironic'

    Actually, it isn't ironic at all if it rains on your wedding day or if some dude who hates flying happens to die in a plane crash. It's just really crappy luck.

  • Tracy Bonham, 'Mother Mother'

    This Oregon singer and songwriter had some serious mommy issues. So serious, in fact, she had to say it twice in her only hit.

  • Butthole Surfers, 'Pepper'

    How great were the mid '90s? For one thing, a band called Butthole Surfers had a No. 1 modern -rock hit. Butthole. Surfers.

  • Sublime, 'What I Got'

    Sublime's singer was dead of a heroin overdose by the time their album was released, but that didn't stop their song from hitting No. 1.

  • Eels, 'Novocaine for the Soul'

    Eels' Mark Everett scored a Top 10 hit four years earlier as E. As Eels, he's still making terrific albums, but this is their only big single.