Gin Blossoms. Breakout record: New Miserable Experience (1992)
What You Remember: With their unique blend of catchy pop beats and gloomy lyrics—a combination the band's guitarist, Scott Johnson, calls "sweet and sour"—the Gin Blossoms burst onto the national music scene with "Hey Jealousy" in 1992. Through the end of the decade, the band continued to strike pop-gold with a string of hit singles like "Allison Road," "Follow You Down," and "Til I Hear It From You."
Where They Are Now: Despite a four-year-hiatus from 1997-2001, the Gin Blossoms has maintained an active touring schedule—but don't call them a "nostalgia act." After performing with fellow '90s rock bands Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth for the Under the Sun 2013 tour, Johnson says, "I was calling it a '90s revue, rather than a nostalgia act. All music is somewhat nostalgic after it's a couple years old. Even if it's not that old, it's in the past."
Who Knew: "Everybody in the band is big readers," says Johnson. "When you travel, there's lots of time for reading."
Third Eye Blind. Breakout record: Third Eye Blind (1997).
What You Remember: Third Eye Blind
achieved great commercial success with their self-titled album in 1997.
The band's first single, "Semi Charmed Life," was an instant hit, and has since become one of the decade's defining tunes. Also from the same record, "Jumper" and "How's It Gonna Be" topped the Billboard charts.
Where They Are Now: Third Eye Blind has continued to enthrall fans with new albums and a regular touring schedule. The band is currently recording its fifth and final record.
Who Knew: Even after cracking open a piñata of live crickets
over a roomful of music executives at a major audition in 1996, Third Eye
Blind walked away from the stunt with six different labels competing to
What You'll Remember: Frosted tips and all, Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath captivated the music scene with the funky, rap-rock "Fly" in 1997. The band softened their sound for 14:59 (1999), and we couldn't get enough of the pop-y "Every Morning" and "Someday." Where They Are Now: Most recently, the band co-headlined the Under the Sun tour with the Gin Blossoms and Smash Mouth in the summer of 2013. Mark McGrath still performs here and there; check the Sugar Ray website for updates.
Who Knew: "'Fly' came on the radio the other day and it felt like the first time," McGrath said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
"All I ever wanted and all I ever dreamed was having a song on the radio
and having people respond to it."
What You Remember:Tragic Kingdom, the third album for No Doubt, catapulted the California band onto the mainstream music scene. Fans were obsessed both with lead singer Gwen Stefani's powerful vocals on tunes like "Just a Girl," "Don't Speak," and "Spiderwebs" as with her preference for punk girl chic.
Where They Are Now: While the band is currently on a break after releasing a new album (Push and Shove) and touring in 2012, this tweet from guitarist Tom Drummond leaves fans hopeful for a No Doubt reunion in the near future. Who Knew: Stefani wrote "Don't Speak" after her breakup with No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal. The pair had been together for seven years, and Kanal ended their relationship while the band was working on Tragic Kingdom.
Matchbox Twenty. Breakout record: Yourself Or Someone Like You (1996)
What You Remember: It's no surprise You Or Someone Like You was a surefire success for the year-old Matchbox 20. Chock-full of recognizable hits like "Push," "3 A.M.," and "Real World," the band's first album went "Diamond," an elite designation for records that sell above ten million copies.
Where Are They Now: Not to be outshined by Sugar Ray's Under the Sun 2013 tour, Matchbox Twenty co-headlined a concurrent national tour with fellow '90s pop rockers the Goo Goo Dolls.
Who Knew: In 2000, the band ditched the digits (Matchbox 20) and became Matchbox Twenty.
Counting Crows. Breakout record: August and Everything After (1993)
What You Remember: Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz was just enjoying his new song, "Mr. Jones," when the music video was picked up by MTV and the band exploded into popularity. Their debut album, August and Everything After, featuring "Mr. Jones" and "Round Here," was so well received, even David Letterman praised the band. Where They Are Now: The band most recently released a live album, Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow, recorded during their 2012 tour.
Who Knew: Duritz wrote "Mr. Jones" about himself and his friend, Marty Jones after they watched a musician pick up women one night at a Los Angeles bar. "We couldn't even manage to talk to girls," Duritz told Huffington Post Live. "We were just
thinking if we were rock stars, it would be easier. I went home and
wrote the song."
Alanis Morissette. Breakout record: Jagged Little Pill (1995)
What You Remember: It was angry and a little obscene, but it was impossible to refrain from belting out Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" whenever it came on the radio. The wildfire success of this single from Jagged Little Pill, along with the additional hits "All I Really Want" and "Ironic," cemented Morissette's musical talent as a force to be reckoned with.
Where She Is Now: Most recently, Morissette is working on musical based around the songs from Jagged Little Pill. The production is planned to appear on Broadway in 2014.
Who Knew: Ironically (really), Jagged Little Pill was only expected to earn enough for Morissette to produce a follow-up album. Instead, it became one of Billboard's best-selling albums of the '90s.
The Cranberries. Breakout record: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? (1993)
What You Remember: The Irish rock band broke onto the U.S. music scene when the music video "Linger," the second single from their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We, began making its rounds on MTV. The sweet tune, based on lead singer Dolores O'Riordan's first kiss, became Top Ten on the Billboard charts.
Where They Are Now: While there are no tour dates currently scheduled the Cranberries released a new album in 2012, Roses, their first since 2001. We'll stay tuned...
Who Knew: Like the Gin Blossoms' "Til I Hear It From You," the Cranberries' "Liar" also appeared on the soundtrack to the movie, Empire Records.
What You Remember: Building on the success of their first single, "Vow," Garbage's debut, self-titled album was an absolute smash. "Only Happy When It Rains," another single from the record, was written as a tongue-in-cheek take on the angst-ridden lyrics of alternative rock. The song was met with great acclaim, and became one of the band's most popular tunes.
Where They Are Now: Following a hiatus through the late 'oughts, Garbage was back in the studio in 2010. The band is currently working on a new album, a follow-up to 2012's Not Your Kind of People,
Who Knew: The name Garbage originated with an insult. As the story goes, either Shirley Manson's father screamed down while the band was rehearsing, "You sound like garbage!" or a friend of the group's drummer told him, "This stuff sounds like garbage!"
What You Remember: These California rockers shot to the top of the Billboard charts with "Walking on the Sun," the first hit single from their debut album, Fush Yu Mang. Smash Mouth followed up on their burgeoning success with Astro Lounge (1999), featuring the hit "All Star," which will forever go down in music history (or infamy, depending on who you ask).
Where They Are Now: Along with Sugar Ray and the Gin Blossoms, Smash Mouth co-headlined the '90s-tastic Under the Sun tour in the summer of 2013. The band still tours internationally.
Who Knew: The band's lead singer, Steve Hartwell, is passionately and personally dedicated to fighting childhood leukemia. After losing his six-month-old son to the disease in 2001, Hartwell created a medical research fund, The Presley Scott Research Foundation for Leukemia, in his honor.
Goo Goo Dolls. Breakout record: Dizzy Up The Girl (1998)
What You'll Remember: While the band had had single hits before, the song "Iris" (originally written for the soundtrack of City of Angels) made the Goo Goo Dolls a household name. The track was included on the band's 1998 record, Dizzy Up The Girl, along with "Slide," "Broadway," and "Black Balloon," which also became fan favorites.
Where They Are Now: The Goo Goo Dolls released their latest album, Magnetic, in June 2013. It was their fourth record to debut in Billboard's Top 10. The band has been touring since, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Who Knew: Before "Iris" and its subsequent success, the band's lead singer and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik was suffering from writer's block and considering leaving the band.