On September 24, Nirvana's epochal Nevermind turns 20 ... a milestone that's not only given us pause (since it's downright unfathomable to anyone who came of age during that era) but has caused us to reflect on what, in retrospect, was a pretty staggeringly great year for rock music in general.
Because, while Nevermind gets the majority of the headlines, there were no shortage of other iconic albums released that year, too ... a fact we illustrated last week, when we shone the spotlight on some of '91's greatest; everything from alt-rock tent poles like the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Pearl Jam's Ten to big-budget blockbusters like Metallica's Black album and Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion series and overlooked indie gems like Fugazi's Steady Diet of Nothing and Slint's Spiderland.
In a lot of ways, it seems like 1991 was the last year rock truly rocked. But, is that really the case? Well, we've decided to find out. We've taken a look back at the past 30 years of rock music — since, you know, MTV just celebrated its 30th anniversary — and come up with five other years that could possibly touch 1991's legacy ... and we're going to let you vote on which is really the greatest in rock history.
But first, here's a look at our nominees.
Notable Rock Releases: Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A., Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade, Metallica, Ride The Lightning, Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime, Prince, Purple Rain, the Replacements' Let It Be, Van Halen's 1984.
Notable Rock Releases: Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel Of Love, Def Leppard, Hysteria, Guns N' Roses, Appetite For Destruction, INXS, Kick, Mötley Crüe, Girls, Girls, Girls, Pixies, Come On Pilgrim, U2, The Joshua Tree.
Notable Rock Releases: Alice in Chains, Dirt, Beastie Boys' Check Your Head, Faith No More, Angel Dust, Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power, Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted, Rage Against The Machine, Rage Against The Machine, R.E.M., Automatic For The People, Sublime, 40 Oz. To Freedom.
Notable Rock Releases: Beck, Mellow Gold, Blur, Parklife, Green Day, Dookie, Hole, Live Through This, Live, Throwing Copper, Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral, Oasis, Definitely Maybe, Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, R.E.M., Monster, Weezer, Blue album.
Notable Rock Releases: Beck, Sea Change, Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head, the Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights, Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf, Red Hot Chili Peppers, By The Way, the Vines, Highly Evolved, the White Stripes, White Blood Cells (okay, so it was reissued that year), Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
So, which year reigns supreme for rock? It's time to cast your vote!
Polls close at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 21. So vote now and vote often!