Tuesday, September 24, 1991

Bryan Adams released Waking Up the Neighbours

First posted 3/28/2011; updated 9/10/2020.

Waking Up the Neighbours

Bryan Adams

Released: September 24, 1991

Peak: 6 US, 11 UK, 110 CN, 14 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.9 UK, 13.2 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: mainstream rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Is Your Mama Gonna Miss Ya?
  2. Hey Honey, I’m Packin’ You In!
  3. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (9/14/91, 2 US, 12 UK, 2 AR, 40 AC, sales: ½ million)
  4. Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven (2/22/92, 13 US, 8 UK, 14 AR, 36 AC)
  5. Not Guilty
  6. Vanishing
  7. House Arrest
  8. Do I Have to Say the Words? (8/1/92, 10a US, 30 UK, 5 AC)
  9. There Will Never Be Another Tonight (11/23/91, 31 US, 32 UK, 36 AR)
  10. All I Want Is You (7/18/92, 22 UK)
  11. Depend on Me
  12. Everything I Do I Do It for You (6/29/91, 1 US, 1 UK, 10 AR, 1 AC, sales: 3 million, airplay: 3 million)
  13. If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?)
  14. Touch the Hand (5/2/92, 13 AR)
  15. Don’t Drop That Bomb on Me


3.177 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Quotable: “Old-fashioned good time…rock & roll.” – Jose F. Promis, All Music Guide


About the Album:

“Although not as good as Reckless, Bryan Adams’ 1991 album, Waking up the Neighbours, signaled his commercial apex. Bridging the time gap between ‘80s arena rock and ‘90s angst-ridden grunge, the album also ushered in an era in which Adams became more known for his sweeping power ballads than his straight-ahead rock tunes. This album, filled with nearly 75 minutes of showstopping arena rockers and mid-tempo ballads, churned out no less than five hit singles, the most notable being the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves theme Everything I Do I Do It for You. That ballad spent seven weeks atop the U.S. pop charts, becoming the longest-reigning American chart-topper since Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ seven years earlier. The song also became a phenomenon in Europe, becoming Adams’ biggest hit ever” JF with a whopping sixteen weeks atop the UK chart.

“Other singles which followed included the joyous rocker Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, which became a number two hit, the mid-tempo ballads Do I Have to Say the Words? and Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven, and the fun, straight-ahead rocker There Will Never Be Another Tonight.” JF

Waking up the Neighbours was co-produced by Robert Jon ‘Mutt’ Lange, and as a result, many of these songs sound as though they could have easily been Def Leppard recordings, especially All I Want Is You, which sounds like ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ part two. Nonetheless, Waking up the Neighbours is a fun album and perfect for those who expect nothing more than an old-fashioned good time from their rock & roll.” JF

Resources and Related Links:

Nirvana's Nevermind was released

First posted 9/24/2011; updated 3/31/2019.



Released: 9/24/1991

Peak: #12 US, #7 UK, #110 CN, #2 AU

Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 1.81 UK, 30.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rock > grunge

Quotable: “Nirvana planted the alternative flag on the Iwo Jima of American consciousness.” – Clark Speicher, The Review

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit (9/10/91 #6 HT, #7 AR, #1 MR, #7 UK)
  2. In Bloom (12/12/92 #5 AR, #28 UK)
  3. Come As You Are (1/18/92 #32 HT, #3 AR, #3 MR, #9 UK)
  4. Breed
  5. Lithium (2/8/92 #64 HT, #16 AR, #25 MR, #11 UK)
  6. Polly
  7. Territorial Pissings
  8. Drain You
  9. Lounge Act
  10. Stay Away
  11. On a Plain (1/18/92 #25 AR)
  12. Something in the Way


Nevermind was stuffed into enough stockings over Christmas of ‘91 to boot the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, from his roost at the top of the Billboard album chart. The album went on to sell over 10 million copies domestically – a feat accomplished by less than 100 albums in the history of music. Nirvana were “scrappy garageland warriors setting their sights on a land of giants.” IR After their “undistinguished 1989 debut, Bleach, [which] relied on warmed-over Seventies metal riffs,” IR Nirvana made the leap to Geffen because frontman Kurt Cobain “wanted the group to be popular, and could see them maybe selling as many records as Sonic Youth.” AD

“The production team of Butch Vig and Andy Wallace ‘tidied’ up the sound of the early Nirvana” AD while still emphasizing the “guitar-heavy blend of bubblegum punk” SK the band crafted on Bleach. “Nirvana…created precisely the sort of record…Sub Pop [strove] for with bands like Mudhoney and Tad since its inception in 1986.” SK

Nirvana displayed a knack for “evocative wordplay” AMG and “crisp pop melodicism.” BL The songs “exemplify the band’s skill at inscribing subtlety onto dense, noisy rock” IR that was “positively glistening with echo and fuzz-box distortion.” AMG “This is hard rock as the term was understood before metal moved in – the kind of loud, slovenly, tuneful music you think no one will ever [make] again until the next time it happens, whereupon you wonder why there isn’t loads more.” RC

What lifts Nevermind to the status of one of the greatest albums ever made is how it defined a new genre. “Nirvana planted the alternative flag on the Iwo Jima of American consciousness when Nevermind erupted onto the music scene.” CS “Few albums have occupied the cultural consciousness like this one.” DW It “served as the antidote to the musical holocaust of the ‘80s.” CS “This is now an omni-present all-time classic” AD “and just may be compared in the same breath to albums like Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.” CT

If the sound of grunge feels overly “familiar now, it’s only because thousands of rock records that followed it were trying very hard to cop its style.” DW The album served as a “foundation for most of the rock…of the ‘90s…loud, distorted guitars; raging, sometime screaming vocals; and lyrics that range from the pessimistic, to the positive, and to the apathetic.” JC “Like a meteor crashing into earth, Nevermind left a lasting impact on music and won’t soon be forgotten.” CS

Review Source(s):


Tuesday, September 17, 1991

Guns N' Roses release the Use Your Illusion albums: September 17, 1991

Originally posted September 17, 2012.

image from iamexpat.nl

Following up a monster debut is no easy task. Guns N’ Roses exploded in 1988 with Appetite for Destruction, making them the biggest rock band in the world. After the 1989 GN’R Lies interim package which slapped four new songs together with GNR’s Live Like a Suicide EP from 1986, they released not one, but two albums. They were packaged separately, but with the names Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, they were generally treated as a double album.

The general consensus has been that the pair of albums was a bloated, over-the-top follow-up. This is “a shining example of a suddenly successful band getting it all wrong and letting its ambitions run wild.” E1 A nice argument has been made that a single-disc album not only would have reigned the band in, challenged AC/DC’s Back in Black as the biggest and best hard rock album ever, and, most importantly that it might have kept the group from splitting apart. DF

However, it didn’t happen that way and from a chart and sales standpoint, the general public didn’t appear too disappointed. The two albums have sold a combined 14 million in the United States and 35 million worldwide. Nine of the albums’ songs charted on the album rock charts from 1990 to 1994.

“Tensions between Slash, Izzy Stradlin, and Axl Rose are evident from the start. The two guitarists, particularly Stradlin, are trying to keep the group closer to its hard rock roots, but Rose has pretensions of being Queen and Elton John, which is particularly odd for a notoriously homophobic Midwestern boy.” E1 “Conceivably, the two aspirations could have been divided between the two records, but instead they are just thrown into the blender.” E1

“Stradlin has a stronger presence on IE1 which makes it the “harder-rocking record.” E1Use Your Illusion II is more serious and ambitious than I, but it’s also considerably more pretentious.” E2 “It can be a chore to find the highlights…amid the overblown production and endless amounts of filler,” E1 but “grandiose epics” E2 such as November Rain and Civil War make for “ambitious set pieces” E1 and there are some songs with “a nervy energy.” E2

Awards for Use Your Illusion I and II:

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, September 10, 1991

Nirvana released “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

First posted 7/12/2014; updated 5/9/2020.

Smells Like Teen Spirit


Writer(s): Kurt Cobain/Nirvana (see lyrics here)

Released: September 10, 1991

Peak: 6 US, 5 CB, 9 RR, 7 AR, 11 MR, 7 UK, 9 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.84 US, 1.2 UK, 8.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 898.72 video, 651.0 streaming

Awards (Nirvana):

Awards (Tori Amos):

About the Song:

The song that sparked the grunge movement of the ‘90s owes its inspiration to perspiration. Kathleen Hanna of punk band Bikini Kill scrawled the phrase “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit,” a reference to a deodorant, on Nirvana singer/songwriter Kurt Cobain’s bedroom wall. However, he interpreted it as her suggestion “that he could incite teenage rebellion” LW and crafted an anti-commercial message in what became an ironically monstrous commercial success.

As producer Bruce Vig said, Cobain “had the dichotomy of punk rage and alientation…but also this vulnerable pop sensibility.” RS500 Upon arriving at parties, Cobain used to utter the song’s chorus (“Here we are now/ Entertain us”) to break the ice. RS500 Much as the public and critics had embraced punk fifteen years earlier, they now took to this new form of music which would revolutionize the industry.

The sound wasn’t completely new; the classic sounds of garage rock and arena rock were built on the same four-chord sequence. Cobain himself compared the guitar part to “Louie, Louie” RSP and shared “more than a hint of the chord changes” of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” TB Cobain said he was inspred by the loud/soft dynamic of the Pixies. CR

As artist’s masterpieces often do, “Teen Spirit” haunted Cobain; he felt obligated, but tortured, to play the song at every show. As he said, “there are many other songs that I have written that are as good, if not better.” RS500 However, his demons weren’t restricted to a distaste for his career-making hit; he committed suicide on April 8, 1994.

The song has been covered by a wide variety of artists, including my personal favorite – a stripped-down, piano-based rendition by Tori Amos. However, it has also been done by Paul Anka, Michael BublĂ©, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, Joan Jett, Bruno Mars, Metallica, the Muppets, Willie Nelson, Patti Smith, and Weird Al Yankovic (with his “Smells Like Nirvana” parody).

Resources and Related Links:

  • Nirvana’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Page 503.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 170.
  • RS500 RollingStone.com “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • RSP Rolling Stone (September 8, 1988; Issue 534). “The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years.” New York, NY; Straight Arrow Publishing Company.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 246.