Groundbreaking Seattle grunge band Nirvana was the most-played artist of the decade on mainstream rock radio, according to figures recently released in Nielsen Music's year-end report for 2019.
In fact, the 10 most-played songs on American active rock radio over the past 10 years were all released in the 1990s. Nirvana accounted for four of the tracks with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" topping the list. It was followed by three other tracks from its 1991 LP Nevermind — "Come As You Are," "In Bloom" and "Lithium" — at numbers three, seven and 10 respectively with over 500,000 spins combined.
Kurt Cobain biographer Charles R. Cross told us a while back why Nirvana's music has had such a lasting impact: ["The music that Kurt and Nirvana created is still considered some of the greatest music we've had in modern rock 'n' roll. You know, the albums still continue to sell, and as an influence of other bands and the sound of things that we still hear on the radio, I think you still hear the influence of Nirvana and Kurt. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that: I mean, the most notable being the fact that he just wrote incredible songs that touched so many people."] SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . . so many people.)
Alice In Chains' "Man In The Box" was the second-most-played song at active rock radio from 2010 to 2019, while Pearl Jam's "Even Flow" ranked fifth on the list and Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" came in ninth. Only three of the format's 10 most-played songs were not recorded by a group from Seattle: Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush" at Number Four, The Offspring's "Self Esteem" at Number Six and Metallica's "Enter Sandman" in the eighth spot.
Alternative rock radio has its own ranking of the most-played songs of the decade. Those include songs by Cold War Kids, AWOLNation, Arctic Monkeys, Portugal. The Man, Milky Chance, Vance Joy, Imagine Dragons, Neighborhood, Muse and Bastille.
Charles R. Cross On The Lasting Impact Of Kurt’s Music :