1991 in music

1991 in music

"See also:"
* 1991 in music (UK)


The year 1991 was the year that grunge music made its popular breakthrough. Nirvana's "Nevermind", led by the surprise hit single "Smells Like Teen Spirit", became the most popular U.S. album of the year. Followed immediately by other grunge bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden, grunge dominated the U.S. charts for the next few years. Its success effectively ended pop-oriented, 1980s glam metal groups like Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison and Ratt, whose sales and critical viability were beginning to decline for about two years previously. Even so, the rock band Guns N' Roses's popularity flourished with the release of the albums, "Use Your Illusion I" and "II" . Van Halen also seemed to continue with their popularity throughout 1991, with the release of "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". Grunge also ended Los Angeles' status as the city for rock music stardom, and established Seattle as such.

A Tribe Called Quest's "Low End Theory" was released this year; it would go on to be considered one of the best hip hop albums of the 1990s. A Tribe Called Quest, along with De La Soul, Dream Warriors, Gang Starr and the Poor Righteous Teachers, helped define what came to be known as alternative rap with important releases this year.

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury died at home in London on November 24, due to AIDS complications. Rumors had been circulating that Mercury had AIDS, but the death came as a shock to millions of fans and the music industry. The remaining members of Queen formed the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the following year, a tribute concert was staged in Wembley Stadium. A sell-out crowd in attendance witnessed the three surviving members reuniting to play along with performances by the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Metallica, Annie Lennox, and George Michael.

Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody goes to number one for the second time, which is the first and only time a single has gone to number one in the same version more than once. It was also the first and only time a single has gone to number one more than once on the UK Christmas charts. It has now spent a total of 14 weeks on top of the UK charts.

1991 was also the year CCM, or contemporary Christian music, reached a new peak. Amy Grant, who had already crossed back and forth between CCM and pop in the mid-80s, achieved her (and CCM's) first #1 hit on the pop charts with the hit single "Baby Baby." Another single, "That's What Love Is For," would also top the charts, this time in the Adult Contemporary field. Meanwhile, Grant's album "Heart In Motion" reaches #11 on the pop chart and #1 on the Christian chart despite its non-religious objective, and quickly become a best-seller. Another CCM crossover artist in 1991 is Michael W. Smith, who achieves a Top Ten pop hit with his single "Place In This World." The subsequent album, "Go West Young Man", is also a hit.

The massive success of Garth Brooks in this year sets the stage for the mid-1990s influx of pop-oriented country musicians. In addition, several soon-to-be pivotal bands form or release debuts, including Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Spin Doctors) and stoner metal (Kyuss, Sleep, The Obsessed). Massive Attack's "Blue Lines", while unique at the time, invented the sound that would eventually become known as trip hop. Entombed's "Clandestine" and Dismember's "Like an Ever Flowing Stream" are early releases from the Scandinavian metal scene. On the other side of the Atlantic, New York death metal band Suffocation release their debut full-length Effigy of the Forgotten, often considered one of the most influential extreme metal albums ever recorded. Trance music rises to prominence in the underground dance scene of Frankfurt, Germany, pioneered by such producers as Dance 2 Trance and Resistance D. U2 release their seventh album "Achtung Baby", considered by many of their fans to be their best album. Metallica also released their most commercially successful self-titled album, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers broke through to the mainstream with their critically and commercially acclaimed "Blood Sugar Sex Magik".
*Goo Goo Dolls release their first official single, There You Are
*January 18 - Three people are crushed to death during an AC/DC concert in Salt Lake City, Utah when audience members rushed the stage.
*February 27 - James Brown is granted an early parole and released from jail. Brown had been arrested after leading police on a high speed chase through two states in 1989. Pop Will Eat Itself documented the affair with their song, "Not Now James, We're Busy".
*February 28 - Hollywood, California's Record Plant Studios recording studio closes its doors. Among the albums recorded at the Record Plant were The Eagles' "Hotel California", Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" and Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life"
*March 1 - The Billboard 200 album chart starts incorporating electronically monitored sales data provided by Nielsen SoundScan, thus beginning what chart aficionados tag as the "SoundScan era".
*March 11 - Janet Jackson signs a $30 million (US) contract with Virgin Records, making her the highest paid female recording artist ever.
*March 16 - Seven members of country music singer Reba McEntire's band and her road manager are killed when their private plane crashes in California, near the U.S.-Mexico border. McEntire travels on a separate plane.
*March 20
**Michael Jackson signs a $1 billion contract with Sony.
**Eric Clapton's four-year-old son, Conor, dies after falling 53 stories from a New York City apartment window (which would inspire Clapton to write the hit single "Tears in Heaven").
*March 24 - The Black Crowes are dropped as the opening act of ZZ Top's tour for repeatedly insulting the tour's sponsor, Miller Beer.
*March 27 - New Kids on the Block's Donnie Wahlberg is arrested in Louisville, Kentucky for allegedly setting his hotel room on fire.
*March 28 - George Harrison, Phil Collins and others attend funeral services for Eric Clapton's late son, Conor.
*April 28 - Bonnie Raitt marries actor Michael Noonan O'Keefe in New York.
*May 7 - In Macon, Georgia, a judge dismisses a wrongful death lawsuit against Ozzy Osbourne. The suit was filed by a local couple that believed their son was inspired to attempt suicide by Osbourne's music.
*May 10 - "", a documentary chronicling singer Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition Tour, is released to theatres.
*June 18- Van Halen releases their ninth album "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", spawing the huge ballad hit Right Now and the Top Billboard 30 hit "Top of the World"
*July - Launch of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.
*August 13 - Metallica releases their most successful album, "Metallica" (also called "The Black Album"). This album is somewhat of a departure from the thrash metal sound they helped pioneer. It is one of the best selling albums of all time [ [http://www.riaa.com/gp/bestsellers/diamond.asp RIAA.com Diamond Certified Albums] ]
*August 27
**Pearl Jam releases their debut album, "Ten". While initially slow to sell, it became #2 on the Billboard charts within a year and has since become certified twelve times Platinum in the United States.
**Dr. Dre pleads no contest to charges that he beat up a woman at a West Hollywood nightclub. Dr. Dre is sentenced to 24 months probation.
*September 17 - Guns N' Roses release the highly anticipated albums Use Your Illusion I & II which debut at the two highest spots on the Billboard 200, the first such feat for a rock act. The albums went on to sell 7 million copies each and spawned the most expensive music videos ever made and a very controversy-laden multi-year world tour.
*September 24 - Nirvana releases "Nevermind", debuting at #144 on the Billboard 200. Red Hot Chili Peppers release their 5th album "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" and A Tribe Called Quest release their 2nd album "The Low End Theory" on the same day.
*Tupac Shakur's solo career begins with his first album, 2Pacalypse Now, however it does not do well. 6 year old Qa'id Walker is shot dead by a stray bullet during a confrontation between Tupac's entourage and a rival group.
*October 25 - Steely Dan spontaneously reunites
*November 19- U2 release Achtung Baby, considered by many to be one of their best, if not their best, album. It is their 3rd #1 album, with 2 Billboard (magazine) Top 10 singles and 4 Billboard (magazine) Top 40 singles
*November 24
** Lead Singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury dies of AIDS at 45, just one day after he announces he has the disease.
** Kiss drummer Eric Carr dies from heart cancer after a two year battle.
*November 26 - Michael Jackson releases his blockbuster album "Dangerous", lead by the controversial hit single "Black or White".
*November 30 - Following on the steps of the Billboard 200, the Billboard Hot 100 also begins its "SoundScan era" by incorporating and merging electronically measured sales and airplay data from Nielsen and BDS respectively.
*Whitney Houston sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. The recording is then released and becomes a hit single.
*Britney Spears appears on "Star Search"
*Country music legend Kenny Rogers starts his restaurant chain, "Kenny Rogers Roasters," serving up tasty chicken.
*Perry Farrell organizes the first Lollapalooza tour as a farewell for his just-dissolved band, Jane's Addiction
*Nas joins Main Source
*The Pharcyde signs to Delicious Vinyl, their first label
*The original surviving members of Bill Haley and His Comets from the 1950s reunite for a European concert tour, and soon after resume regular touring and recording engagements that continue as of 2005.

Bands formed

*2 Unlimited
*Brooks & Dunn
*The Clientele
*Counting Crows
*Cradle of Filth
*The Crüxshadows
*Dave Matthews Band
*Digable Planets
*Glue Gun (under "Glü Gun")
*Huggy Bear
*Kris Kross
*Local H
*Love Battery
*Paralysed Age
*Phunk Junkeez
*Powerman 5000
*Rage Against the Machine
*Stabbing Westward
*TLC (with the exception of Rozonda Thomas)
*Tori Amos
*Vertical Horizon

Bands disbanded

*Bronski Beat
*Fields of the Nephilim
*Flipper's Guitar
*Galaxie 500
*Jane's Addiction
*The La's
*The Men They Couldn't Hang
*This Mortal Coil
*The Primitives
*The Replacements
*Talk Talk
*Talking Heads
*Transvision Vamp
*Wang Chung

Albums released





Release Date Unknown

*"Baby Animals" - Baby Animals (debut)
*"Spirit Electricity" (EP) - Bad Brains
*"War Master" - Bolt Thrower
*"Early On (1964-1966)" - David Bowie
*"Don't Fear the Reaper" (EP) - Clint Ruin and Lydia Lunch
*"Love's Secret Domain" - Coil
*"Woodface" - Crowded House
*"Island" - Current 93 with HÖH
*"85-86" - Dag Nasty
*"Open Doors, Closed Windows" - Disco Inferno
*"Believing in Better" - Lennie Gallant
*"On the Way Down from the Moon Palace" - Lisa Germano
*"Hammerbox - Hammerbox
*"Havana 3am" - Havana 3am
*"BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert" - Hawkwind
*"Palace Springs" - Hawkwind
*"I'm on Your Side" - Jennifer Holliday
*"Night of the Stormrider" - Iced Earth
*"Page of Life" - Jon & Vangelis
*"San Antorium" - Lowlife
*"It's... Madness Too - Madness
*"Distant Plastic Trees" - The Magnetic Fields
*"Qui sème le vent récolte le tempo - MC Solaar
*"Clown Heaven and Hell" (EP) - Me Mom & Morgentaler
*"Bullhead" - The Melvins
*"Daniela Mercury" - Daniela Mercury
*"Boys Will Be Boyz" - Newsboys
*"The Nymphs - The Nymphs
*"Lunar Womb - The Obsessed
*"Orbital" - Orbital
*"World Outside" - The Psychedelic Furs
*"Architect of Fear" - Raven
*"Foxbase Alpha" - Saint Etienne
*"Magia" - Shakira
*"Information Libre" - Sham 69
*"Suit suit...hehehe - Slank
*"Volume One - Sleep
*"The Best of Spandau Ballet - Spandau Ballet
*"By Heart - Brenda K. Starr
*"Jah Won't Pay the Bills" - Sublime
*"No Pocky for Kitty - Superchunk
*"Tossing Seeds" - Superchunk
*"Raise" - Swervedriver
*"Unsane - Unsane
*"Surprise" - Crystal Waters

Biggest hit singles

The following songs achieved the highest [http://tsort.info/music/yr1991.htm chart positions] in the charts of 1991.

Top hits

*"À nos actes manqués" - Fredericks, Goldman, Jones
*"Alive" - Pearl Jam
*"All The Man That I Need" - Whitney Houston
*"American Music" - The Violent Femmes
*"Baby Baby" - Amy Grant
*"Black Or White" - Michael Jackson
*"Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are the Days of Our Lives" - Queen
*"Bring The Noise" - Public Enemy and Anthrax
*"Can't Stop This Thing We Started" - Bryan Adams
*"Can't Let Go" - Mariah Carey
*"Chocolate Cake" - Crowded House
*"Chorus" - Erasure
*"Close My Eyes" - Marillion
*"Coming Out of the Dark" - Gloria Estefan
*"Crucified" - Army of Lovers
*"Désenchantée" - Mylène Farmer
*"Do You Remember" - Phil Collins
*"Do Anything" - Natural Selection
*"Don't Cry" - Guns N' Roses
*"Emotions" - Mariah Carey
*"Enter Sandman" - Metallica
*"Every Heartbeat" - Amy Grant
*"(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" - Bryan Adams
*"Fall At Your Feet" - Crowded House
*"Get Here" - Oleta Adams
*"Get The Funk Out" - Extreme
*"The Globe" - Big Audio Dynamite II
*"Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" - C&C Music Factory
*"Good For Me" - Amy Grant
*"Good Times" - INXS and Jimmy Barnes
*"Give it Away" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
*"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) - Crystal Waters
*"Holding On" - Beverley Craven
*"I Can't Make You Love Me" - Bonnie Raitt
*"I Don't Wanna Cry" - Mariah Carey
*"I Touch Myself" - Divinyls
*"I Can't Dance" - Genesis
*"I Wanna Sex You Up" - Color Me Badd
*"It's in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)" - Cher
*"It's Only Natural" - Crowded House
*"Learning To Fly" - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
*"Let's Talk About Sex" - Salt-N-Pepa
*"Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" - Spin Doctors
*"Live And Let Die" - Guns N' Roses
*"Feed My Frankenstein" - Alice Cooper
*"Live For Loving You" - Gloria Estefan
*"Losing My Religion" - R.E.M.
*"Love To Hate You" - Erasure
*"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" - Janet Jackson
*"More Than Words" - Extreme
*"Motownphily" - Boyz II Men
*"Mysterious Ways" - U2
*"No more tears" - Ozzy Osbourne
*"O.P.P." - Naughty by Nature
*"One" - U2
*"People Are Strange" - Echo & the Bunnymen
*"Pop Goes The Weasel" - 3rd Bass
*"Poundcake" - Van Halen
*"Radio Song" - R.E.M.
*"Right Now" - Van Halen
*"Right Here, Right Now" - Jesus Jones
*"Rescue Me" - Madonna
*"Romantic" - Karyn White
*"Rush" - Big Audio Dynamite II
*"Rush Rush" - Paula Abdul
*"Saga Africa" - Yannick Noah
*"Sexuality" - Billy Bragg
*"Shameless" - Garth Brooks
*"Shiny Happy People" - R.E.M.
*"Sit Down" - James
*"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Nirvana
*"Someday" - Mariah Carey
*"Something To Talk About" - Bonnie Raitt
*"Temptation" - Corina
*"That's What Love Is For" - Amy Grant
*"The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" - Cher
*"The Show Must Go On" - Queen
*"There's No Other Way" - Blur
*"Top of the World" - Van Halen
*"Touch Me (All Night Long)" - Cathy Dennis
*"Train in Vain (Stand By Me)" - The Clash
*"Twist and Shout" - Deacon Blue
*"Unbelievable" - EMF
*"Under The Bridge" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
*"Walking in Memphis" - Marc Cohn
*"Weather with You" - Crowded House
*"When Something's Wrong With My Baby" - John Farnham + Jimmy Barnes
*"Who Said I Would" - Phil Collins
*"When A Man Loves A Woman" - Michael Bolton
*"What Comes Naturally" - Sheena Easton
*"Where Does My Heart Beat Now" - Celine Dion
*"Wicked Game" - Chris Isaak
*"Violent Blue" - Chagall Guevara
*"You Could Be Mine" - Guns N' Roses

"See also: Hot 100 No. 1 Hits of 1991"

Published popular music

* "Dreamland" w. Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman m. Dave Grusin
* "Look Around" w. Betty Comden & Adolph Green m. Cy Coleman from the musical "The Will Rogers Follies"

Classical music

*John Corigliano - Symphony no. 1
*George Crumb - "Easter Dawning" for carillon
*Mario Davidovsky - "Simple Dances" for flute, two percussion, piano, and cello
*Joël-François Durand - "un feu distinct" for flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello
*Ulrich Leyendecker - Symphony No. 3
*Witold Lutosławski - "Chantefleurs et Chantefables"
*Joan Tower - Concerto for Orchestra


*John Adams - "The Death of Klinghoffer"
*Harrison Birtwistle - first performance of the opera "Gawain" at the Royal Opera House, London.
*Daniel Catan - "Rappaccini’s Daughter"
*John Corigliano - "The Ghosts of Versailles"
*Daron Hagen - "Shining Brow"
*Meredith Monk - "Atlas"

Musical theater

* "Miss Saigon" (Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil) - Broadway production opened at the Broadway Theatre on April 11 and ran for 4097 performances
* "The Secret Garden" Broadway production opened at the St. James Theatre on April 25 and ran for 706 performances
* "Song of Singapore" off-Broadway production opened at the Irving Place Theatre on May 7 and ran for 459 performances
* "Will Rogers Follies" Broadway production opened at the Palace Theatre on May 1 and ran for 983 performances

Musical films

* "Beauty and the Beast" animated feature
* "For the Boys"


*January 8 - Steve Clark, guitarist of Def Leppard
*February 6 - Danny Thomas, singer and actor
*February 17 - Gitta Alpár, opera singer
*February 21 - Margot Fonteyn, ballerina
*February 26 - Slim Gaillard, jazz musician
*March 2 - Serge Gainsbourg, singer and songwriter
*March 14
**Jerome Doc Pomus (65), songwriter, cancer
**Howard Ashman, lyricist
*March 15 - Bud Freeman, jazz musician
*March 21 - Leo Fender, inventor of the electric guitar
*March 25 - Eileen Joyce, pianist (b. 1908)
*April 8 - Per Yngve Ohlin, aka 'Dead', vocalist for Mayhem
*April 20 - Steve Marriott, musician (Small Faces and Humble Pie)
*April 21 - Willi Boskovsky, conductor
*April 23 - Johnny Thunders, rock guitarist and singer
*May 8 - Jean Langlais, composer
*May 9 - Yanka Dyagileva, poet and singer
*May 19 - Odia Coates, singer
*May 23 - Wilhelm Kempff, pianist and composer
*May 24 - Dirk Schoufs, A memebr of Belgian Band Vaya Con Dios
*May 27 - Leopold Nowak, musicologist
*June 1 - David Ruffin, singer
*June 4 - MC Trouble, rapper
*June 6 - Stan Getz, US saxophonist
*June 9 - Claudio Arrau, pianist
*June 14 - Joy Finzi, founder of the Finzi Trust
*July 11 - Honorata de la Rama, singer
*August 28 - Vince Taylor, rock and roll singer, 52
*September 4 - Charlie Barnet, US bandleader
*September 8 - Alex North, composer
*September 17 - Zino Francescatti, violinist
*September 28
**Miles Davis, musician
**Eugène Bozza, composer
*October 6 - Igor Talkov, Russian singer/songwriter
*October 9 - Roy Black, singer
*October 17 - Tennessee Ernie Ford
*October 27 - Sir Andrzej Panufnik, Polish composer
*October 31 - Joseph Papp, Broadway producer
*November 2 - Mort Shuman, songwriter
*November 8 - Frances Faye, singer
*November 15 - Jacques Morali, disco composer
*November 24
**Freddie Mercury, singer
**Eric Carr, drummer
*December 13 - Stuart Challender, conductor
*"date unknown"
**Tom Anderson, Shetland fiddler
**Ole Beich, guitarist and bassist
**Garvin Bushell, multi-instrumentalist
**Patricia Cullen, composer
**Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto, horn virtuoso


*The following artists are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: LaVern Baker, The Byrds, John Lee Hooker, The Impressions, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Reed and Ike and Tina Turner
*Grammy Awards of 1991
*Eurovision Song Contest 1991
*Kumar Sanu - Filmfare Best Male Playback Award



*KROQ Top 106.7 Countdown of 1991


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