16 Rock Ballads From The 90s You'll Never Forget

16 Rock Ballads From The 90s You'll Never Forget

90s rock ballads
L-R: Bush, Soul Asylum, Alice In Chains, Mazzy Star, Live (Photos via Getty Images)

With the recent announcement that 90s alt-rock icons Stone Temple Pilots, Live and Bush are heading to Australia for the Under The Southern Stars tour in 2020, we got excited and started listening to the hits of those bands. The radio hits were much 'softer' than the album tracks, so we're sure these live shows are gonna be loud and sweaty - but until we see you in the mosh, let's get nostalgic with the global chart-topping smashes that made them household names, as well as a stack of others to make you feel all the feels. 

Pretty certain that anyone aged between 34 and 46 will know every single word to every single one of these. It's by no means a definitive list, but a teary trip down memory lane. 

Live  - Lightning Crashes (1994)

From their epic Throwing Copper album, third single "Lightning Crashes" peaked at number 13 in the Australian singles charts, and snuck into the Top 100 end of year chart in 1994 at number 72. Pretty sure Triple M still play it daily and we're not complaining. 

"I wrote Lightning Crashes on an acoustic guitar in my brother's bedroom shortly before I had moved out of my parents house and gotten my first place of my own." says Ed Kowalczyk. The band dedicated the song to a high school friend, Barbara Lewis, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. 

Stone Temple Pilots  - Interstate Love Song (1994)

It's hard to believe that their now-iconic album Purple just celebrated it's 25th Anniversary (there' a killer Deluxe edition available here). "Interstate Love Song" remains one of STP's biggest hits. It was ranked at number 17 on Triple J's Hottest 100 countdown of 1994. 

Scott Weiland said the song was about "honesty, lack of honesty, my new relationship with heroin."

Bush - Glycerine (1994)

It is rumoured that Gavin Rossdale wrote this song about our very own rock chick extraordinaire, Suze DeMarchi of Baby Animals, following their relationship in the very early 90s. Suze told the Herald Sun when questioned about it, "Um . . . that's what I hear. That's what he told me. But he probably told that to a few girls!" 

Tickets are on sale now for Under The Southern Stars featuring the above three bands. Get them here before they sell out! 

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris (1998)

Beautifully used in the 1998 film City Of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, and also included on thier sixth album Dizzy Up The Girl. "Iris" topped the ARIA chart at number 1 and also ranked at number 39 in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest pop songs.

Alice In Chains - Nutshell (1994)

From the unforgettable Jar Of Flies album, it was a departure from the heavier rock sounds everyone knew. Highlighted by Layne's stunning vocal and Jerry Cantrell's intoxicating guitar solo. This live version from MTV Unplugged is moving beyond words. 

Mazzy Star - Fade Into You (1992)

From the album So Tonight That I May See, written by Hope Sandoval. Little has been heard about Mazzy Star in recent years but this song is a masterclass in melancholy. 

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I Could Have Lied (1991)

We were used to Chili's being the good-time punk-funk boys so this ballad was like a kick in the guts by comparison. So raw and so honest, the guitar parts in this are as smooth as butter melting on hot toast. 

Green Day - Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) (1997) 

Now an anthem! It has been played at every single High School graduation party since release. 

Hootie & The Blowfish - Let Her Cry (1994)

From the album Cracked Rear View which made these guys a household name. The song peaked at number 4 in Australia and Top 50 in the end of year charts of 1995. It also won Hootie & The Blowfish a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group. 

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train (1992)

The video for this song really hit everyone hard because it featured actual photos of missing persons. Apparently 26 missing kids from the video were found after being featured in the video, despite some of them ending in tragedy, including confirmed victims of Ivan Millat in Australia. 

Guns N' Roses - Don't Cry (1991)

We almost went with "November Rain" but "Don't Cry" is just as epic. There are two versions of this song, each with different lyrics and appearing on the two versions of Use Your Illusion. It also features the harmonised vocals of Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon. 

Aerosmith - I Don't Want To Miss A Thing (1998)

Written by the Queen of ballads, Diane Warren, this was a strange departure from the hard rock and blues rock sound of Aerosmith. But it was the focus track in the blockbuster film Armageddon and got an Academy Award nomination. 

Nine Inch Nails - Hurt (1994)

Most people are mistaken when they think Johnny Cash wrote this song, it is indeed Trent Reznor's. Cash covered it in 2002 and it was a huge commercial and critical success, so much so that Reznor claimed: "the song isn't mine anymore". 

Silverchair - Ana's Song (Open Fire) (1999) 

Written by Daniel Johns, this song is written about the torture of suffering from eating disorder anorexia nervosa.

Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm (1993) 

Siamese Dream is one of the best albums of the 90s and this song was the third single from it. A Top 20 hit in Australia, however, it was banned from being played on Top Of The Pops in the UK due to the lyric "cut that little child". 

Extreme - More Than Words (1990) 

Everyone who bought this Extreme album based on the radio smash "More Than Words" got a real suprise to find a much heavier hard rock band than they'd been led to expect from this acoustic love song. 


(+LIVE+, Bush and Stone Temple Pilots)

Friday, April 3 | Peter Barclay Field, Tuncurry NSW

Saturday, April 4 | The Crescent, Parramatta Park, NSW

Sunday, April 5 | The Entertainment Grounds, Gosford NSW

Thursday, April 9 | Stuart Park, Wollongong NSW

Saturday, April 11 | Hastings Foreshore Reserve, Mornington VIC

Sunday, April 12 | Showgrounds, Yarrawonga VIC

Monday, April 13 | Bonython Park, Adelaide SA

Wednesday, April 15 | HBF Stadium, Perth WA - Not a UTSS Festival Date

Friday, April 17 | Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast QLD

Saturday, April 18 | Riverstage, Brisbane QLD

Sunday, April 19 | Foreshore Park, Newcastle NSW

Strictly Limited VIP Tickets will be available for all shows (excluding Perth)

VIP Tickets include: VIP Lanyard fast track entry, dedicated VIP bar, grazing table & VIP toilets.

Tickets for all events available from underthesouthernstars.com.au


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