Top 10 Rock Songs of 1993

Eddie Vedder was the jam 20 years ago

With the grunge era in full swing, 1993 saw huge hits from Pearl Jam and newcomers Stone Temple Pilots. And as always, rock elder statesmen such as Sting and Aerosmith muscled alongside the whippersnappers. Let’s take a look at who ruled 20 years ago.

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Blind Melon - "No Rain"


All I can say is that life stopped being plain for hippiesque singer Shannon Hoon and his breezy pals when this mellow jam hit the airwaves. Not only did Hoon become an unlikely sex symbol, but the music video’s precocious Bee Girl became an icon for ’90s alienation.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Soul To Squeeze"

Warner Bros.

Though it’s one of the Peppers’ most contemplative, sinewy numbers, “Soul To Squeeze” came to fame on the Coneheads movie soundtrack. (Well, Flea’s bass licks are out of this world…) Its snaky, slow-tempo burn served as a stopgap between landmark album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) and the experimental free-for-all One Hot Minute (1995).

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Nirvana - "Heart-Shaped Box"


Most bands get softer with age, but when it came time for Nirvana to release their third and final studio album, In Utero, they went for broke in the ballsiness department. Classic single “Heart-Shaped Box” contained all the pith and sludge of the trio’s first album, Bleach. Kurt Cobain allegedly wrote the song about a stash of old love letters his wife, Courtney Love, was given by former flame Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.

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Soul Asylum - "Runaway Train"


It took more than 10 years for Minneapolis band Soul Asylum to make an impact in the rock world, but when they did, they hit like a… freight train. “Runaway Train” was in the vein of hair-metal ballads like Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” but David Pirner’s street-kid fashion made it feel more sincere. The mournful acoustic tune, whose video put out APBs on real missing children, won a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 1994.

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Sting - "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"


"If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" is where former punk-reggae rocker Sting started to go New Age. The once-prickly-around-the-edges Brit welcomed light strings and a bit of tantric spirituality into his art. The lyrics dramatically rejected faith, science and the gods of war, and devoted all of the singer’s love to his wife, Trudie Styler.

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Stone Temple Pilots - "Plush"


Stone Temple Pilots often got a bad rap for being post-grunge posers, but the foursome’s grasp on the charts was undeniable. Scott Weiland’s raspy vocals and Robert DeLeo’s frothy, instantly recognizable riff made for a perfect time capsule for 1993. "Plush" won a Grammy the following year for Best Hard Rock Performance.

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Pearl Jam - "Black"


“Black,” a bleeding-heart love song with accompanying piano and a Stone Gossard guitar solo that’ll slice right through you, almost didn’t travel to radioland. Eddie Vedder vehemently refused to make the deep track off Ten a single-- he insisted the subject was too personal and that any commercializing of it would neuter the intensity. Nevertheless, the epic remains one of the most beloved rock songs of the 1990s.

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Aerosmith - "Livin' on the Edge"


Boston bellowers Aerosmith were mostly known for tongue-in-cheek sauciness in song, but “Livin’ on the Edge’ tackled more serious ordeals. Steven Tyler observed in the lyrics the turmoil of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which were related to the acquittal of four police officers accused of beating Rodney King after he was pulled over during a freeway pursuit. The song was a wish for peace and prosperity for all, in spite of the perils of modern life.

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Lenny Kravitz - "Are You Gonna Go My Way"


With that scorching opening measure and dreadlocks flying, Lenny Kravitz went for the jugular on this 1993 hit. He had the swagger of Jimi Hendrix and the pomp of Robert Plant, and brought that into a ’90s-friendly package. His incendiary theme continues, starring as Cinna in the Hunger Games film series.

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Pearl Jam - "Daughter"


A harrowing narrative about learning disabilities and child abuse, “Daughter” brought high praise and Grammy nominations to Pearl Jam. The rubbery acoustic pattern and Eddie Vedder’s storytelling prowess solidified this Vs. track as one of the Seattle band’s most important songs. “She holds the hand that holds her down” painted a heartbreaking picture of longing for acceptance.

Chart positions courtesy