by Alex Cosper (12/31/12)
Top 40 radio made a big transition in the early 90s toward hip hop, rap and ballads. Mariah Carey emerged as an R&B and pop crossover artist, as the charts became flooded with a more electronic lush arrangements that leaned toward adult contemporary on one hand and edgier dance beats for younger audiences on the other hand. For many people it was all the same processed big business formula and they sought an alternative to this new mainstream.
Several dance records featured samples from other songs, which led to lawsuits and clarity as to how recorded music can be used and when permission is needed. The electronic music flourished in night clubs with big hits like "What Is Love" by Haddaway and "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C+C Music Factory. Electronic dance music had taken over the mainstream and it was rare for a rock artist to have a big hit on the pop charts.
But rock was alive and well brewing in other radio formats such as "active rock" and "alternative rock." Seattle artists Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains created national excitement that gave the rock world new life. These bands, along with many other guitar bands helped provide the soundtrack of alternative radio in the early 90s.
Classic rock stations became common in the early nineties while rock and alternative stations shared many artists such as Stone Temple Pilots, Social Distortion, Green Day, The Offspring, R.E.M., White Zombie, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Blind Melon and Counting Crows.
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