Alternative Rock Music exploded in popularity in the early 90s. Bands like R.E.M. had ruled the college radio scene in the 1980s, but the introduction of Grunge music by bands coming out of the Seattle area took alternative rock to a new level. Nirvana's Nevermind album, released in 1991, was a huge commercial success and paved the way for other grunge acts to shoot up the charts. Radio stations that would have normally never gone near the alternative scene started including grunge acts like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden in their regular play list.
Grunge music started to wane in popularity in the mid 90s due in part to the death of Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam's war with Ticketmaster effecting their ability to tour. However, alternative rock music continued to be popular on the radio right through the end of the decade with the help of post-grunge bands like Creed, Bush, Candlebox, and Matchbox Twenty. Post-grunge bands had a more radio friendly format, while maintaining the thick distorted guitar sounds of grunge.