100 Greatest Alternative Rock Songs


Background: Alternative rock music began in the mid 1980s and blossomed in the 1990s as an alternative to mainstream top 40 radio playlist formats. College and underground radio began playing independently produced music who's popularity was spread by word of mouth, non-corporate DJs, cable television and the internet... not exclusively promoted by the big record companies as in the past. In the 2000s Alternative music's popularity pushed it into the new "mainstream" with newer independent bands defining their music as "Indie Rock".

Criteria: These songs were chosen for their influence, impact and popularity in the Alternative music genre.
Alternative Rock Songs
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana
2. Love Will Tear Us Apart
Joy Division
3. Radio Free Europe
R.E.M.
4. Blue Monday
New Order
5. How Soon is Now?
The Smiths
6. Once in a Lifetime
Talking Heads
7. Teen Age Riot
Sonic Youth
8. Blister in the Sun
Violent Femmes
9. Jeremy
Pearl Jam
10. Monkey Gone to Heaven
Pixies
11. Under the Bridge
Red Hot Chili Peppers
12. Black Hole Sun
Soundgarden
13. Closer
Nine Inch Nails
14. Losing My Religion
R.E.M.
15. Wonderwall
Oasis
16. Just Like Heaven
The Cure
17. Cannonball
The Breeders
18. Come As You Are
Nirvana
19. Loser
Beck
20. Creep
Radiohead
21. Bela Lugosi's Dead
Bauhaus
22. Personal Jesus
Depeche Mode
23. Song 2
Blur
24. The Killing Moon
Echo and the Bunnymen
25. Sunday Bloody Sunday
U2
26. Common People
Pulp
27. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
The Smiths
28. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
Kate Bush
29. It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
R.E.M.
30. 1979
The Smashing Pumpkins
31. Waiting Room
Fugazi
32. Lovesong
The Cure
33. Alive
Pearl Jam
34. Radio, Radio
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
35. All Apologies
Nirvana
36. Atmosphere
Joy Division
37. Here Comes Your Man
Pixies
38. Paranoid Android
Radiohead
39. There She Goes
The La's
40. Everlong
Foo Fighters
41. Buddy Holly
Weezer
42. Plush
Stone Temple Pilots
43. Enjoy the Silence
Depeche Mode
44. This Charming Man
The Smiths
45. Would?
Alice in Chains
46. The One I Love
R.E.M.
47. Touch Me, I'm Sick
Mudhoney
48. Head Like a Hole
Nine Inch Nails
49. Bastards of Young
The Replacements
50. Burning Down the House
Talking Heads
51. Lithium
Nirvana
52. Sabotage
Beastie Boys
53. New Year's Day
U2
54. Cut Your Hair
Pavement
55. Boys Don't Cry
The Cure
56. Tonight, Tonight
The Smashing Pumpkins
57. Jesus Christ Pose
Soundgarden
58. Live Forever
Oasis
59. I Wanna Be Adored
The Stone Roses
60. Give It Away
Red Hot Chili Peppers
61. What I Got
Sublime
62. Just Like Honey
The Jesus and Mary Chain
63. Where Is My Mind?
Pixies
64. Seven Nation Army
The White Stripes
65. Fairytale of New York
The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
66. Beds Are Burning
Midnight Oil
67. Dear God
XTC
68. Karma Police
Radiohead
69. Epic
Faith No More
70. Man in the Box
Alice in Chains
71. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
U2
72. True Faith
New Order
73. I Melt With You
Modern English
74. Only Shallow
My Bloody Valentine
75. Bulls on Parade
Rage Against the Machine
76. Left of the Dial
The Replacements
77. That's Entertainment
The Jam
78. Alison
Elvis Costello
79. When I Come Around
Green Day
80. Bitter Sweet Symphony
The Verve
81. Shine
Collective Soul
82. She's Lost Control
Joy Division
83. Hallelujah
Jeff Buckley
84. Birdhouse in Your Soul
They Might Be Giants
85. Loaded
Primal Scream
86. Celebrated Summer
Hüsker Dü
87. Float On
Modest Mouse
88. Better Man
Pearl Jam
89. So Alive
Love and Rockets
90. Today
The Smashing Pumpkins
91. Academy Fight Song
Mission of Burma
92. Heart-Shaped Box
Nirvana
93. Fake Plastic Trees
Radiohead
94. Nothing Compares 2 U
Sinéad O'Connor
95. Mr. Brightside
The Killers
96. You Oughta Know
Alanis Morissette
97. Come Out and Play
The Offspring
98. Don't Speak
No Doubt
99. Been Caught Stealing
Jane's Addiction
100. Senses Working Overtime
XTC
101. Hunger Strike
Temple of the Dog
102. Hey Jealousy
Gin Blossoms
103. Big Me
Foo Fighters
104. Runaway Train
Soul Asylum
105. Under the Milky Way
The Church
106. Wuthering Heights
Kate Bush
107. Interstate Love Song
Stone Temple Pilots
108. Champagne Supernova
Oasis
109. One Headlight
The Wallflowers
110. Man on the Moon
R.E.M.
111. Panic
The Smiths
112. No Rain
Blind Melon
113. Fell in Love with a Girl
The White Stripes
114. Silent All These Years
Tori Amos
115. Linger
The Cranberries
116. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Green Day
117. Girls & Boys
Blur
118. Bizarre Love Triangle
New Order
119. Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns
Mother Love Bone
120. Feel Good Inc.
Gorillaz
121. Sour Times
Portishead
122. Song to the Siren
This Mortal Coil
123. Summer Babe
Pavement
124. Ghost Town
The Specials
125. Back on the Chain Gang
The Pretenders
126. Jane Says
Jane's Addiction
127. Cities in Dust
Siouxsie and the Banshees
128. Pictures of You
The Cure
129. Everyday is Like Sunday
Morrissey
130. Respectable Street
XTC
131. Tomorrow
Silverchair
132. Rock Lobster
The B-52's
133. Where It's At
Beck
134. Heaven Beside You
Alice in Chains
135. Love My Way
The Psychedelic Furs
136. Pump It Up
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
137. Kool Thing
Sonic Youth
138. Rusty Cage
Soundgarden
139. Going Underground
The Jam
140. Scar Tissue
Red Hot Chili Peppers
141. About a Girl
Nirvana
142. Road to Nowhere
Talking Heads
143. Ball and Chain
Social Distortion
144. Glycerine
Bush
145. Welcome to the Black Parade
My Chemical Romance
146. Undone (The Sweater Song)
Weezer
147. Me, Myself & I
De La Soul
148. So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)
R.E.M.
149. Divorce Song
Liz Phair
150. Freak Scene
Dinosaur Jr.
151. Doll Parts
Hole
152. Even Flow
Pearl Jam
153. Lake of Fire
Meat Puppets
154. Hyperballad
Björk
155. In the End
Linkin Park
156. Best of You
Foo Fighters
157. Take Me Out
Franz Ferdinand
158. Crazy
Gnarls Barkley
159. Killing in the Name
Rage Against the Machine
160. Connection
Elastica
161. Hurt
Nine Inch Nails
162. Starlight
Muse
163. Basket Case
Green Day
164. Somebody That I Used to Know
Gotye & Kimbra
165. The Cutter
Echo and the Bunnymen
166. I Am the Resurrection
The Stone Roses
167. Unfinished Sympathy
Massive Attack
168. Yellow
Coldplay
169. Close to Me
The Cure
170. Do You Realize??
The Flaming Lips
171. She's In Parties
Bauhaus
172. Don't Look Back in Anger
Oasis
173. Black
Pearl Jam
174. Mysterious Ways
U2
175. The Drowners
Suede
176. Kiss Them for Me
Siouxsie and the Banshees
177. 100%
Sonic Youth
178. No Surprises
Radiohead
179. Rebellion (Lies)
Arcade Fire
180. Drive
Incubus
181. Stupid Girl
Garbage
182. Last Nite
The Strokes
183. Disarm
The Smashing Pumpkins
184. Can I Kick It?
A Tribe Called Quest
185. Fascination Street
The Cure
186. One
U2
187. The Middle
Jimmy Eat World
188. Sheela-Na-Gig
PJ Harvey
189. Sex and Candy
Marcy Playground
190. Where the Wild Roses Grow
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds & Kylie Minogue
191. April Skies
The Jesus and Mary Chain
192. Start Choppin'
Dinosaur Jr.
193. Paper Planes
M.I.A.
194. 1901
Phoenix
195. Mannequin
Wire
196. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Arctic Monkeys
197. History Lesson Part II
Minutemen
198. Miss World
Hole
199. You Get What You Give
New Radicals
200. Longview
Green Day
201. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
The Smiths
202. Sugar, We're Goin' Down
Fall Out Boy
203. Clocks
Coldplay
204. Semi-Charmed Life
Third Eye Blind
205. Hey Ladies
Beastie Boys
206. Damaged Goods
Gang of Four
207. Public Image
Public Image Ltd.
208. In Circles
Sunny Day Real Estate
209. The Concept
Teenage Fanclub
210. Seether
Veruca Salt
211. Heaven or Las Vegas
Cocteau Twins
212. Soon
My Bloody Valentine
213. Totally Wired
The Fall
214. What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
R.E.M.
215. Veronica
Elvis Costello
216. The Mercy Seat
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
217. Criminal
Fiona Apple
218. Don't Get Me Wrong
The Pretenders
219. In Bloom
Nirvana
220. Ahead By a Century
The Tragically Hip
221. Let's Go to Bed
The Cure
222. Happy House
Siouxsie and the Banshees
223. Bring on the Dancing Horses
Echo and the Bunnymen
224. Everything Counts
Depeche Mode
225. Metal Mickey
Suede
226. The Last of the Famous International Playboys
Morrissey
227. Regret
New Order
228. Dreams
The Cranberries
229. Uprising
Muse
230. This Corrosion
The Sisters of Mercy
231. Hounds of Love
Kate Bush
232. Makes No Sense at All
Hüsker Dü
233. Cattle and Cane
The Go-Betweens
234. Like the Weather
10,000 Maniacs
235. William, It Was Really Nothing
The Smiths
236. Somebody Told Me
The Killers
237. The Mayor of Simpleton
XTC
238. (Nothing But) Flowers
Talking Heads
239. Spiderwebs
No Doubt
240. Violet
Hole
241. Idioteque
Radiohead
242. Miss Misery
Elliott Smith
243. Cornflake Girl
Tori Amos
244. Royals
Lorde
245. Parklife
Blur
246. My Hero
Foo Fighters
247. Head On
The Jesus and Mary Chain
248. Ironic
Alanis Morissette
249. Big Empty
Stone Temple Pilots
250. Doin' Time
Sublime
Nirvana

Radiohead


Last Updated: 2020-01-27
Newly added names are in Red