Why The 90s Were Such An Iconic Era For Music

PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with Dr. Martens because it’s their bloody birthday. To mark this impressive milestone, we’re taking a look at how Dr. Martens 1460 Boot influenced the 90s – and how the 90s influenced music in turn. Keep reading to find out how you can win one of five pairs we’re giving away, or head HERE to buy some.

Look, thanks to the internet’s Big Brother M.O., we know a lot of you guys came of age during the 90s. Besides defining who you are (which we reckon it’s done a brilliant job of doing), the 90s were responsible for some of the most game-changing musicians in humanity’s history. Yep, it’s a big call, we know. That being said, we’ve got the goods to back it up. 
Although incredible in their own right, we’re not talking about the likes of the Spice Girls, Hanson or S Club 7 – we’re talking about the rebels of self-expression. Folks who moved in lesser-known circles, owned their sound, and progressed their genres into the non-mainstream mainstream. 
Anyway, we took a look at a few of our fave bands and how they shook shit up in the 90s because we reckon their noise is, and will always, stand the test of time. 
Photo: Paul Bergen / Getty.
Ask any 20-something guitarist about the first 5 songs they learnt to play and we’ll bet you a shiny dollar that at least one of them was a Nirvana tune. Bonus points if it was Smells Like Teen Spirit.
The group was comprised of guitarist / vocalist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and legendary drummer Dave Grohl who went on to found the iconic rock band, Foo Fighters.
Establishing themselves as a pillar of the US grunge scene, Nirvana’s incredibly well-received 1991 album Nevermind became the anthem for an entire generation of angsty kids.
Oozing with enough lyrical apathy to make Gandhi take up smoking, Nirvana’s messy riffs and loud choruses have influenced many of todays modern bands. Violent Soho, Blink 182, DZ Deathrays, and Basement all owe a big part of their sound to the OG grunge lords.
Photo: YouTube.
The Smashing Pumpkins took grunge to its melodic extreme, combining noisy, fuzzy guitars with moments of soft musical bliss. They were the masters of both realms and when they hit the scene, people listened.
Formed by frontman Billy Corgan and guitarist James Iha, the band’s iconic lineup also included bassist D’arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.
The ‘Pumpkins spawned hit after hit, many of which you’re sure to remember, like 1979, Tonight, Tonight, Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Zero and Today.  
Along with a persistent presence at some of the world’s biggest music festivals, Corgan and the band also made a cameo appearance in an episode of The Simpsons. You know the one.
Modern bands like Pity Sex, Silversun Pickups and A Perfect Circle are all heavily influenced by The Smashing Pumpkins (APC even stole Iha as their guitarist).
Photo: Pinterest. 
Pearl Jam do that song Alive, the one where Eddie Vedder goes “Owwaahhhh, OOHHHHHH I’m a still alive, AYYYEEEE”. You know, the one your dad always turns up when he’s listening to Triple M in the car. 
Let’s face it, Pearl Jam have been a huge influence to what is now known as ‘Dad Rock’. Bands like Creed and Nickelback all owe a piece of their success to the ‘Jam. But there’s decent bands, too. Both Kings of Leon and Band of Horses draw inspiration from Eddie and the gang, along with acts like The Gaslight Anthem and Death Cab for Cutie.
Photo: Pinterest. 
With tunes like Stupid Girl, Push It, Crush and When I Grow Up, you’ve probably heard four-piece outfit Garbage whether you know it or not (the songs have feat. in films from Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet to peak-Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy).
Fronted by Shirley Manson (no relation to Marilyn Manson or his rumoured rib-removing, cock-sucking behaviour), the alt band were essential to 90s rebellion and badass feminism. In fact, they’re still pumping, with Shirley telling people who reckon she’s too old for rock music at 50 to shove it, and same tbh.
Photo: Pinterest. 
No Doubt – comprising of vocalist Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young – have scored themselves two Grammys, five MTV Video Music Awards, and have even performed for Paul McCartney / POTUS at the annual Kennedy Centre Honours
What’s our point? They managed to create a sound influenced by ska punk, reggae fusion, punk rock, pop punk, new wave, alternative rock and pop rock that penetrated the mainstream. Yep, it ain’t easy staying true to a sound (one that traditionally hasn’t been all that much of crowd-pleaser) and have it be established as some of the most iconic tunes of the 90s. 
At its most basic level, they bridged the gap between the masses and rock-loving subcultures without pissing either party off – a task that’s easier said than done.  
Look, we’ve just touched the surface of why the 90s were such an iconic era for music. We could go on and on about The Cranberries, Green Day, Oasis, Silverchair and the like, but there’s someone else we wanna hero. 
Dr. Martens, specifically the Dr. Martens 1460 Boot, was there for it all. The first pair of ‘em rolled off the production line on the 1st of April, 1960 with the intention of being sold to blue collar folks. It was only a matter of time before they were adopted and subverted by diverse individuals, musicians, subcultures and tribes. 
To celebrate its birthday and influence on music across the board, we’re giving away five pairs of these iconic shoes. If you’re keen on scoring yourself some, enter the comp below:
If you’re not willing to let fate decide, head HERE to buy a pair. 
Photo: Pinterest.