Music of the ’90s were a powerful time. Alternative music was on the rise, Bill Clinton sexed it up on the sax, boy bands were back on the rise, and the world was introduced to Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
With Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power turning 20 this past week, I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to some other famous albums turning the big 2-0 later this year! (It’s scary to think that next year, those born in 1995 will be graduating from high school.) See my picks of some of the greatest influential albums of 1992 after the jump!
Tool – Opiate (March 10, 1992)
Tool is the best band that most people have never heard of. These guys sell out literally everywhere they play. Tool’s first label release, Opiate, has sold over 1.1 million copies. This EP was just a taste of what their first studio would sound like in Undertow. As a catalyst for new hard rock, they constantly push the artistic line musically and visually and this album was the start of it all.
Weird Al Yankovic – Off The Deep End (April 14, 1992)
This album was Weird Al’s come back from the 80’s, his seventh studio album, and his moment back into the limelight. The record basically piggybacked Nirvana’s Nevermind, but with the extreme success of this album, it makes sense that Weird Al would put his stamp on it. You would be hard pressed to find his influence on many acts out today, but look at it this way, would anyone listen to someone truly influenced by him?
Billy Ray Cyrus – Some Gave All (May 19, 1992)
Three reasons: “Achy Breaky Heart”, his mullet, and his daughter. Fun wiki fact: His cover of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” by Lee Hazelwood and performed by Nancy Sinatra actually charted, but not in the US, in the Netherlands (#27 on the charts), New Zealand (42), and the UK (63).
Sublime – 40oz. to Freedom (June, 1992)
The specific date of release of Sublime’s debut record is unknown due to the fact that multiple versions of this record were distributed on different mediums (CD, Vinyl, cassette – yeah 1992). Most importantly, it was released independently, and to this day, it’s one of the most successful true indie releases of all time. Of course, with songs like “Date Rape”, “40oz. to Freedom”, “Smoke Two Joints”, “Badfish”, “Scarlet Begonias” and a personal favorite “Waiting for My Ruca” no wonder.
This album paved the way to Sublime’s popularity up until May 1996, when Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose. Sublime brought ska, punk, and reggae back to the forefront of mainstream music – and that would be one of their lasting legacies.
House of Pain – House of Pain (July 21, 1992)
JUMP, JUMP, JUMP! This album sent the LA trio into super stardom, mainly by the hit “Jump Around”. Their next two albums were the downfall of the group and they eventually split in 1996 when they went to different projects. DJ Lethal ended up finding a home with Limp Bizkit and Everlast went solo and found success in his 1998 album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues – which featured the hit song, “What It’s Like”. Everlast also won a Grammy for his collaboration with Santana on “Put Your Lights On” off Santana’s mega album Supernatural. Danny Boy found little success after House of Pain.
“Jump Around” is still heard in arenas and stadiums around the world and is the main anthem at University of Wisconsin. During the break between the 3rd and 4th quarters at Camp Randall, the students get into a frenzy and jump around to the song.
Barenaked Ladies – Gordon (July 28, 1992)
This debut set up one hell of a career for BNL. It originally did pretty well in Canada, but overall commercial success was not there in the USA. Some hits have carried over from fans like “Brian Wilson” “If I had a $1,000,000,” and “Enid”. To say BNL had their own style is an understatement, but looking directly at today’s indie and folk scene you can see hints of influence on the younger musicians. Hell, if Sir Paul McCartney says that John and him couldn’t write songs with their range and he would want to record with them in the future, that is enough vindication.
Eric Clapton – Unplugged (August 18, 1992)
Just an absolute masterpiece by Clapton that gained him 6 Grammy’s, three of them being for “Tears in Heaven.” The reworking of “Layla” is done so beautifully, and the album has sold over 10 million copies in the US alone. Clapton has gone and been an influence to any one who picks up a guitar but more famously John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Lenny Kravitz, Duane Allman, George Harrison, Brad Paisley, Joe Satriani, and many more. Considered to be one of the best acoustic albums of all time, Clapton wanted people to remember that it came at a cost, with the loss of his son, Conor.
Alice in Chains – Dirt (September 29, 1992)
The second release from Alice in Chains, but by far their most successful one. Selling over 5 million albums world wide, this record blossomed 5 singles, “Would?”, “Them Bones”, “Angry Chair”, “Rooster”, and “Down in a Hole.” Alice in Chains has been a major influence to many new hard rock artists in today’s scene like Stone Sour, Creed, Nickelback, Godsmack , Puddle of Mudd, Dream Theater, and others.
Stone Temple Pilots – Core (September 29, 1992)
What a day! Alice in Chain’s release and STP’s debut showing with Core. This album would eventually peak at #3 on the Billboard Hot 200 and would sell over 8 million copies. The big singles like “Sex Type Thing”, “Creep”, “Plush,” and “Wicked Garden” would give STP fame, fans, money, and awards. Other songs on the album that gained attention were also “Crackerman” and “Dead and Bloated.”
With two more successful album releases in Purple and Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop, the band hit some turbulence. Scott Weiland got arrested and served jail time. They released another two albums with success in No. 4 and Shangri-La Dee Da, then Weiland and Dean DeLeo (guitar) got into a fist fight, breaking up the band. Weiland went on to join supergroup Velvet Revolver, but eventually the band has come back together and released Stone Temple Pilots under label pressure and plan on doing a 20th anniversary tour/book for Core.
Insane Clown Posse – Carnival of Carnage (October 18, 1992)
Well there were some ups and downs in 1992, and little did the world know that on this day, ICP would create something so terrible. This album had to be in the post because of what a sensational story that Juggalos and Juggalettes are. Carnival of Carnage started it all. Imagine, a world without ICP…
Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (November 10, 1992)
With ICP debuting their crap months earlier, we have RATM debuting their incredible first act. This album was reviewed and, overall, was declared one of the best albums of 1992. Singles include “Killing in the Name”, “Bullet in the Head”, “Bombtrack” and “Freedom”. It’s politically charged lyrics and album cover, a buddhist monk burning himself to death in Saigon in 1963, gained attention from Washington and the FCC. A personal favorite of mine.
Dr. Dre – The Chronic (December 15th, 1992)
The rap staple. The grandaddy of current hip-hop. Does it get any better than this? Peaked at #3 on Billboard 200, sold 3 million copies and it’s legacy reigns supreme with aspiring rappers everywhere. This album is the bar that most rap is compared to and, frankly, that means more than records sold. With that being said, 20 years later, he is now president of a headphone company and producing young talent.
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