Whatever Happened to the Breakout Rock Artists of 1993?
Time flies! Every year there are certain acts that are suddenly thrust upon your musical radar, oftentimes go on to dominate the music scene. But not every act has a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career! In this post, we’re taking you back 30 years to 1993 to check out the breakout rock acts of 1993, what their year was like then and how they progressed over the years.
Do you remember what you were doing in 1993? Jurassic Park ruled the box office, Michael Jackson played the Super Bowl, Beavis and Butt-head had taken over MTV and Prince changed his name to a symbol. Meanwhile, grunge and alternative were still ruling the roost of the music world with several notable additions taking their seat at the table for the first time.
But for every Radiohead, there’s a Grant Lee Buffalo. And while Tool have engaged us for three decades now, it was a relatively short run for ‘93 breakouts Belly. So join us as we take this trip back in time to find out whatever happened to rock’s “Class of ‘93.”
What Happened With 311 in 1993?
It was a modest start for Omaha, Nebraska-based rockers 311, who entered the alt-rock fray with a sound that melded rock, funk, rap, reggae. The group dropped their debut album, Music, in 1993, with the single “Do You Right” giving the band their first alt-rock radio airplay. The song peaked at No. 27 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart. An energetic and engaging live act, they also started to win over audiences while opening festivals and supporting other acts.
311, "Do You Right"
What Happened to 311?
The band continued to grow their audience with 1994’s Grassroots album, then took a major step forward with 1995’s self-titled set that yielded their biggest singles to that point, “Down” and “All Mixed Up.”
Solidified as an alt-rock staple by that point, they enjoyed a strong run of alt-rock hits including “Transistor,” “Beautiful Disaster,” “Come Original,” “You Wouldn’t Believe,” “Amber” and a cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong.” In total, they’ve released 13 studio albums, nine of which have been Billboard Top 10 releases. It’s been a very steady and successful output while becoming one of the leaders in providing their fusion sound.
What Happened With Belly in 1993?
The pedigree was there. Tanya Donnelly had already made a name for herself in Throwing Muses and had previously worked with The Breeders. And Belly came out of the gate firing with MTV championing the lead single “Feed the Tree” in heavy rotation from their ‘93 debut album Star. The album peaked at No. 59 on the Billboard 200, but also yielded another Top 10 Alternative hit with “Gepetto” as well and received airplay for the songs “Moon” and “Slow Dog.”
Belly, "Feed the Tree"
What Happened to Belly?
Taking on a heavier sound with their sophomore set, King, in 1995, the album failed to live up to its predecessor in terms of popularity. The band issued the single “Superconnected,” which yielded modest airplay, before getting a little more push for the follow-up “Now They’ll Sleep.” Where the band seemed to thrive off the first record, the second album yielded a less receptive return and by the time the album cycle finished, Donnelly made the decision to break up the band and go solo. They reunited in 2016, went out on tour and then decided to make a third album together, 2018’s Dove. They also issued a b-sides and covers compilation called Bees for 2021’s Record Store Day.
What Happened With Candlebox in 1993?
With grunge dominating the rock world and the “Big 4” from Seattle at the forefront of that, Candlebox was part of the next wave coming from Seattle. The group actually formed in 1990, started playing live a year later and after signing to Maverick Records, they issued their self-titled debut album in 1993. It featured the songs “Change,” “You,” “Far Behind” and “Cover Me,” with the latter three becoming Top 10 Mainstream Rock hits. The album has since gone on to be certified four-times platinum by the RIAA.
Candlebox, "Far Behind"
What Happened to Candlebox?
Candlebox’s self-titled debut continues to be their calling card. As grunge entered its final years of dominance, the band issued their sophomore set Lucy and a third album Happy Pills to declining returns. 1999 saw a couple of departures from the group and by 2000 they decided to split.
By 2006, there began to be some interest in the band’s catalog and a proposed “Best Of” set led to the band reuniting. In 2008, they returned with their fourth album, the positively received Into the Sun. In the time since, singer Kevin Martin has remained the lone original member in the band, but has continued taking things in a more straight up rock direction. Three more studio albums followed, and as of 2023 the band is in the midst of a farewell tour in support of their eighth and final album, aptly titled The Long Goodbye.
What Happened With Collective Soul in 1993?
Talk about a grassroots effort with the best possible results! Collective Soul singer Ed Rolad recruited a bunch of musicians to record an album in his basement with the hope of selling some songs to a publisher. But the demo managed to reach a Georgia radio station that started playing “Shine.” After picking up momentum with other southern stations, Roland then put together a band to perform some shows live and Atlantic Records stepped in to offer them a contract. “Shine” hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993, with a second single “Breathe” from their debut album Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid then climbing to No. 12 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Things just took off from there.
Collective Soul, "Shine"
What Happened to Collective Soul?
While their breakout may have been a bit of a surprise, their continued success was not. 1995’s self-titled release offered two of their strongest songs to date, “December” and “The World I Know,” as well as the singles “Gel,” “Smashing Young Man” and “Where the River Flows.” That record has since been certified triple-platinum in the U.S.
They continued a hot streak through 2000’s Blender album, with “Precious Declaration,” “Listen,” “She Said,” “Run,” “Heavy,” “Tremble for My Beloved,” “Why Pt. 2” and “Vent” among their string of hit songs.
Following a 2001 hits collection, the band’s popularity on rock radio started to fade, with most of their music landing on the Adult Airplay chart instead. Songs such as “Better Now,” “Hollywood,” “How Do You Love,” and “Staring Down” have kept them popular over the last decade-plus. Their most recent album was 2022’s Vibrating, their eleventh studio album.
What Happened With Counting Crows in 1993?
There was a lot of buzz on the Counting Crows ahead of their debut album. The band was courted by nine different labels based on what had been heard on their demo tape, and they eventually signed to Geffen. The label released their August and Everything After debut album in 1993, bolstered by the hit single “Mr. Jones,” which was also in heavy rotation at MTV.
The album yielded three more singles in “Round Here,” “Rain King” and “Murder of One” before the band stopped promoting what could have been a very deep run of singles. “Omaha” also garnered some airplay in Australia and the song “Einstein on a Beach” picked up steam from the DGC Rarities, Vol. 1 compilation in the midst of the album’s run.
The band played Saturday Night Live and The Late Show With David Letterman, toured alongside The Rolling Stones, Cracker, Bob Dylan, The Cranberries, Midnight Oil and Jellyfish among others and received a pair of Grammy nominations, including one for Best New Artist.
Counting Crows, "Mr. Jones"
What Happened to Counting Crows?
The Counting Crows remained quite successful through the remainder of the ‘90s, with their Recovering the Satellites and This Desert Life albums leading the way. They scored alt-rock and mainstream rock hits with “Angels of the Silence,” “A Long December,” “Daylight Fading” and “Hanginaround.”
As the 2000s arrived, so did a shift in radio play with Triple A and Adult Pop giving them most of their run. Singles such as “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby,” “American Girls,” a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” with Vaness Carlton, “She Don’t Want Nobody Near,” “Accidentally In Love” and “You Can’t Count on Me” carried them through the 2000s.
Their output slowed a bit in the 2010s moving forward, but they still scored radio success with the songs “Untitled (Love Song),” “Scarecrow” and “Elevator Boots.”
What Happened With The Cranberries in 1993?
The buzz was already building for The Cranberries as 1993 arrived thanks to the late ‘92 release of “Dreams.” The song climbed to No. 15 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, showcasing the melodically powerful voice of Dolores O’Riordan. The airy follow-up single “Linger” arrived in early 1993, helping to launch the band’s debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? The album debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and has since gone on to be certified 5 times platinum in the U.S.
The Cranberries, "Linger"
What Happened to The Cranberries?
The band continued to thrive with 1994’s No Need to Argue and 1996’s To the Faithful Departed albums, The alternative chart-topping singles “Zombie” and “Salvation,” “Ode to My Family,” “Ridiculous Thoughts” and “Free to Decide” kept the band well represented on the alt-rock airwaves for the next few years.
Their downturn started with 1999’s Bury the Hatchet album, which did yield the mildly successful single “Promises.” After 2001’s Wake Up and Smell the Coffee album, the band parted ways with their record label and then took a hiatus that kept them out of action until 2009.
By 2012, they returned with the new album Roses and issued two more studio albums. O’Riordan died in 2018 at the age of 46.
Grant Lee Buffalo
What Happened With Grant Lee Buffalo in 1993?
Previously working together under the name Shiva Burlesque, Grant-Lee Phillips, Paul Kimble and Joey Peters ventured out with a new band called Grant Lee Buffalo, issuing their well-received debut album Fuzzy in 1993. The folksy rock album was a critical favorite, and yielded the title track.
Grant Lee Buffalo, "Fuzzy"
What Happened to Grant Lee Buffalo?
Though never really a huge commercial success, Grant Lee Buffalo continued to garner solid reviews over the course of four studio albums. Their sophomore set, Mighty Joe Moon, yielded the top 20 modern rock single “Mockingbirds,” while their final album, 1998’s Jubilee had the band’s biggest Alternative Airplay single, “Truly Truly.”
But, despite the success of the single, the band and their label would part ways after the album’s run. The group would also split, with Phillips then pursuing a solo career.The group briefly reunited in 2011 and 2012, but have never recorded another album.
What Happened With Liz Phair in 1993?
Liz Phair was all the rage in 1993 when she parlayed her Girly Sound recordings into a record deal and her first studio album, Exile in Guyville.The brash, biting commentary, raw feel and honest approach to sexuality won over many critics, with the album ending up on a lot of year-end Top 10 lists. No singles were issued, though the catchy “Never Said” and “Straford-on-Guy” were used to promote the record.
Liz Phair, "Never Said"
What Happened to Liz Phair?
Phair had somewhat of a mixed-bag career after Exile in Guyville. Her sophomore set, Whip-Smart, arrived at No. 27, positively impacted by the buzz of her debut. She scored her first charting singles with the propulsive “Supernova” and melodic title track, but the rawness of her debut was replaced with more noticeable production.
Four years would pass before her third album, Whitechocolatespaceegg, with the singer leaning more into themes about motherhood and growing into an adult. Another five years would pass before Phair returned with 2003’s self-titled effort, which showed her taking a more pop-leaning direction and scoring Adult Top 40 hits, “Why Can’t I?” and “Extraordinary.”
Her decline in popularity started with 2005’s Somebody’s Miracle, which yielded mixed reviews. After losing her record deal, she independently released 2010’s Funstyle, but spent most of the 2010s outside of the studio, occasionally touring and scrapping a studio album planned with Ryan Adams. Her most recent offering was 2021’s well-received return album Soberish.
Porno for Pyros
What Happened With Porno for Pyros in 1993?
After the split of Jane’s Addiction, singer Perry Farrell put together Porno for Pyros as his next musical vehicle. He pulled in Jane’s drummer Stephen Perkins and rounded out the lineup with guitarist Peter DiStefano and bassist Martyn LeNoble.
The group’s self-titled debut arrived with plenty of buzz, as fans wondered how Farrell, now alternative royalty thanks to Jane’s and Lollapalooza, would push forward. The lead single “Cursed Female” was a hit at alternative radio, climbing to No. 3, but it would be the second single, “Pets,” with heavy MTV airplay, that would take off and become their first Alternative chart-topper.
Porno for Pyros, "Pets"
READ MORE: Where Did Porno for Pyros Get Their Name?
What Happened to Porno for Pyros?
In 1996, the band would release their sophomore set, Good God’s Urge, but LeNoble exited the group shortly after completing most of the album’s bass tracks. Mike Watt was called upon to finish what was left.
Good God’s Urge wasn’t as positively received as the debut record, arriving at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and spawning the single “Tahitian Moon” that peaked at No. 8 on the Alternative Airplay chart. The band also recorded the song “Hard Charger” for the Howard Stern’s Private Parts film that featured another former Jane’s member, Dave Navarro, as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass. The group would tour with Navarro and Flea on board, but eventually cut things short when guitarist Peter DiStefano was diagnosed with cancer. They would eventually split after, with a Jane’s Addiction reunion back on the table.
Since that time, Porno for Pyros reunited for Perry Farrell’s 50th birthday party in 2009 and while there were rumblings of more from the group, they didn’t resurface again until 2020 for the Lollapalooza livestream. That opened the door to working on new music and the band subbed in for Jane’s Addiction on some festival dates in 2022. As of 2023, Porno for Pyros were plotting their first full-fledged tour for the fall, their first in 25 years.
What Happened With Quicksand in 1993?
Gorilla Biscuits frontman Walter Schreifels had formed his new band Quicksand in 1990, quickly releasing a pair of EPs before signing to Polydor Records in 1992 and starting work on their full-length debut album. Slip arrived in February 1993 bolstered by the lead single “Dine Alone,” and soon found an audience at college radio for the song “Fazer.” The songs “Omission” and “Freezing Process” followed, with the reviews for the album mostly being positive and rock mags such as Metal Hammer and Decibel singing its praises as a key influential post-hardcore effort.
Quicksand, "Dine Alone"
What Happened to Quicksand?
After the buzz from their first album, the 1995 follow-up Manic Compression charted at No. 135 on the Billboard 200. “Thorn in My Side,” “Delusional,” “Divorce” and “Landmine Spring” were highlights on the well-received album, But internal strife and the pressures of touring got the better of the group, who actually split up during a 1995 show in Hollywood.
They reunited for a 1998 tour and had planned to work on new music, but tensions arose again, leading the band to split before a new album was complete. Schreifels went on to form Rival Schools releasing a trio of albums, while bassist Sergio Vega found employment with Deftones between 2010 and 2020.
In 2012, the band got back together for an appearance at the Revelation Records 25th Anniversary Show, and it paved the way for more from the group. This time, they were able to tour and record, and they’ve since released 2017’s well-received reunion album Interiors as well as 2021’s Distant Populations.
What Happened With Radiohead in 1993?
The buzz was already building on Radiohead as the calendar hit 1993 with the single “Creep” arriving just a few months before the end of the year. It was initially a slow start for the song, but picked up steam once the track was reissued in 1993 becoming a major alternative radio hit that eventually peaked at No. 2 on the Alternative Airplay chart.
The song’s success served as the perfect entry for the band’s 1993 debut album, Pablo Honey, which rose to No. 32 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and was later certified platinum in the U.S. The record also yielded the minor radio hits “Anyone Can Play Guitar” and “Stop Whispering,” but is viewed as one of the band’s more uneven albums.
What Happened to Radiohead?
While “Creep” became a huge hit, it was not indicative of the music Radiohead wanted to make and the band had to take major steps to avoid that potential one-hit wonder success. Their sophomore set, The Bends, was one of 1995’s best reviewed albums, yielding such classics as “Fake Plastic Trees,” “High and Dry” “Just” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out).”
Though not the commercial success of its predecessor, the album was a critical fave and helped set the path for what many consider to be their masterpiece, 1997’s OK Computer. The more experimental offering gave us “Karma Police,” “Paranoid Android” and other favorites en route to a Grammy Album of the Year nomination and a Best Alternative Album Grammy win.
From that point on, the band was set up for success. Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief followed, but in 2007 Radiohead was on the tip of everyone’s tongues again for their In Rainbows album, a brilliant effort that featured a unique “pay what you want” model noting the shifting change in how music was being consumed. They’ve since released 2011’s The King of Limbs and 2016’s A Moon Shaped Pool, and in 2019 they became the first act from rock’s Class of ‘93 to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What Happened With Tool in 1993?
After a pair of EPs, Tool emerged in 1993 with their debut studio album, Undertow. In the midst of grunge’s heyday, Tool were providing something heavier for music listeners. The supremely intense single “Sober” was accompanied by a popular stop-motion video that became a huge success on MTV, and the band was off and running with their first big hit. “Prison Sex” and the title track would follow, as would the critical raves for the debut album. It peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 album chart and has since been certified triple-platinum in the U.S.
What Happened to Tool?
Tool’s heaviness, musicianship and lyrics have earned them one of metal’s most dedicated fan bases. They returned in 1996 with Aenima, adding to their impressive catalog with the title track as well as “Stinkfist,” “H.” and “Forty-Six and 2.” 2001’s Lateralus brought the band their first Grammy for Best Metal Performance for “Schism.” The album also featured the title track as well as “Parabola.” In 2006, they issued 10,000 Days to much acclaim, with the record yielding the singles “Vicarious,” “The Pot” and “Jambi.”
But it would be a maddening 13 years before Tool put out another album. Legal issues and a very involved creative process drew things out, but the wait was worth it when Fear Inoculum arrived in 2019. The album topped the Billboard 200 chart, and the band received two more Grammy nominations with “7empest” taking home the Best Metal Performance trophy.
So there you have it - rock's Class of '93. It turned out to be a pretty successful class that took a wide array of divergent paths after leaving their imprint on the alt-rock world of 1993.