The Musicians of the 1990s Quiz

Olivia Cantor

Image: work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee via Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

The 1990s are now often looked back on as a nostalgic era that defined many aspects of global pop culture.

With the decade marking the height of the Gen-X crowd, the music, attitude, personalities and influences that came out of that crowd in that era proved to be memorable, lasting, and yes, "vintage cool!" 

But of course, the '90s are not yet that kind of vintage in the way that the '60s are really truly vintage in nature now. In fact, your Gen-X relatives now may still have their old '90s stash in their homes now, be it their toys, their clothes, and of course their records.

It's undeniable that the '90s were another pivotal decade for music, with the introduction of new genres such as grunge, and the introduction of songs that are now classics in their own right. We also saw a lot of new musicians debut back then, who have longevity up to now. We also saw the resurgence of older acts that resurfaced during that decade, wowing a new audience by producing new songs. 

So that was how the '90s scene looked like back then. Care to join this sound trip down memory lane? Then take a guess at the musicians of that era, and we'll give you some musical clues to guess. 

Cool? Rad! Let's rock!

They invited you to "Come As You Are." Which grunge act was this?

Nirvana ushered in the new era of '90s music by letting their music be the defining factor of what grunge is, epitomized by that devil-may-care attitude/laidback look, meaningful lyrics, and of course gut-wrenching rock riffs. Sadly, when the band hit it big, its lead singer and composer Kurt Cobain took his own life back in 1994, which left fans devastated.

"You Oughta Know" who this Canadian singer-songwriter is. Who was she?

The originally Canadian singer Alanis Morissette burst out into the scene in the '90s, reinventing herself as a pop-rock artist in America, away from her very bubblegum pop beginnings in Canada. Her 1995 album "Jagged Little Pill" was a great worldwide hit, whose songs became the anthems of angsty female Gen-Xers of that time, especially that heartbreak song "You Oughta Know," the contemplative "Hand in My Pocket" and "You Learn," and the ironic song "Ironic," which doesn't contain any ironies at all, as she later admitted.

She had a "Vision of Love" about her "Dreamlover." Who is this diva?

A diva that rose during the '90s is the five-octave ranged Mariah Carey, bursting onto the scene with ballad hits like "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time," and "I Don't Wanna Cry," and the danceable "Someday." She has had many other albums and hits since then, but her 1994 hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You" became a yuletide season staple since its release.

They sang an "Ode to My Family" as they "Linger." Which band was this?

Fans mourned the untimely death of the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries' singer-songwriter Dolores O'Riordan in early 2018, whose distinct voice also contributed to the eclectic sound of the '90s. Their greatest hits include "Zombie," "Salvation," "Linger," "Dreams," "Ode to My Family," "Ridiculous Thoughts," and "Free to Decide," to name a few.

If you "Wannabe" their lover, you should "Spice Up Your Life." Which girl group is this?

Girl groups also defined the '90s, and perhaps Spice Girls is the most successful and most famous of them all, since their beginnings in 1994. The English pop group released successful albums, appeared in their own movie, and even got compared to the popularity of the Beatles in their heyday.

They wanted "Jeremy" to be a "Better Man." Which band was this?

The Seattle music scene, also known as Seattle grunge, produced many noteworthy bands that hit it big nationally and internationally, including Pearl Jam. Frontman Eddie Vedder's distinct singing voice gave deeper character to this band, who came out with very thought-provoking songs and visually experimental music videos that accompanied these hits.

She declared that "My Heart Will Go On" because she had the "Power of Love." Who is this diva?

Celine Dion was born in Quebec, Canada and first gained popularity during the '80s, singing mostly in French. But when she made English-language albums in the '90s, they became worldwide hits, producing popular English songs such as "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," "The Power of Love", the movie theme song of "Up Close and Personal" entitled "Because You Loved Me," and the "Titanic" movie theme song called "My Heart Will Go On."

She sang Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U." Who is this woman?

The '90s soulful rocker Sinead O’Connor caused quite a stir sometime in 2017 when she released a video of herself having what appears to be some sort of mental breakdown, as the singer has had a slew of personal troubles since hitting it big during that decade. She now goes by the name Shuhada Davitt after converting to Islam sometime in 2018.

"Ready or Not," there they came! Who was this act?

Fugees is short for refugees, and this was the '90s hip-hop-soul group where Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean came from, both now performing as solo acts. They hit it big in the '90s with their funky cover of "Killing Me Softly," included in their Grammy-winning album called "The Score."

She wasn't "Silent All These Years" in the '90s, with a slew of hits. Who is she?

The classically trained singer-songwriter Tori Amos sang of many important issues in the '90s, covering topics that touched upon aspects of religion, sexuality, politics, relationships, feminism, and even domestic abuse, with a particular song written about her rape called "Me and a Gun." Her '90s hit songs display her interesting musical style range, and they include "Crucify," "Silent All These Years," "Caught a Lite Sneeze," "Professional Widow," and Cornflake Girl," to name a few.

She was so sure that "You Were Meant For Me." Who is this gal?

Jewel is a kind of yodeling poet who hit it big back in the '90s, with acoustic songs that came out of her best-selling debut album called "Pieces of You." Aside from producing hit singles like "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "Foolish Games," she also published a book of poetry and even dabbled into acting in the late '90s.

They sang "Under The Bridge" because they had a "Soul to Squeeze." Who is this group?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers was formed back in the early '80s in Los Angeles, but they only hit it big, big time, when they came out with their 1991 album called "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," and they also hit it big with another '90s album called "Californication." Singer Anthony Kiedis and guitarist Flee remain the most recognizable members of this band to this day since they have had many other musicians who came and went with them as the decades passed.

She declared "That's The Way Love Goes" so she also wanted to "Runaway." Who is she?

Like brother Michael, Janet Jackson had media appearances and performances even when she was just a child, but she came to her own in the '80s as a singer-performer. This continued into the '90s, but she was repackaged with a much sexier look, especially for her albums called "Janet" and "The Velvet Rope."

We all knew that at the "End of the Road," they all got down "On Bended Knee." Which musical group was this?

The '90s saw the success of an originally a cappella act that became an R&B vocal group called Boyz II Men. They hit it big with songs like "Motownphilly," "I'll Make Love To You," "End of the Road," "On Bended Knee," and their performance with Mariah Carey called "One Sweet Day."

They "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" yo, but they don't like "No Scrubs," too! Who was this group?

TLC stood for the girl group's names, namely T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili, whose distinct vocal styles and fashion outfits gave funky '90s teen girls something to emulate. Their songs were also popular because they spoke of certain issues that talked to women's issues and concerns as well, such as "Creep," "Unpretty," "Waterfalls," "What About Your Friends," "No Scrubs," and the very sex-positive song "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" sung from a female point of view.

They had a "Wonderwall" and experienced a "Champagne Supernova." Who are they?

Oasis was an English band that performed mostly rock-oriented songs, hitting it big with hits like "Don't Look Back in Anger," "Wonderwall," and "Champagne Supernova." Brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher are the most recognizable members of the group, which disbanded in 2009.

While they were "Losing My Religion," they also observed that "Everybody Hurts." Who is this group?

The American alternative rock band R.E.M. started in the '80s, but their genre burst out into the mainstream only in the '90s, which propelled them to greater heights than the previous decade. They came out with great albums such as "Out of Time," "Automatic for the People," "Monster," and "New Adventures in Hi-Fi."

You'll never get their lovin' if you don't "Free Your Mind." Which girl group is this?

Another female vocal group that became popular in the '90s is En Vogue, with albums such as "Born to Sing" and the highly successful "Funky Divas." Their hits include "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," "Giving Him Something He Can Feel," "Don't Let Go (Love)," and the dance track "Free Your Mind."

He was sippin' on "Gin and Juice" during this decade. Who is this gangsta rap dude?

Snoop Dogg may have mellowed down this decade as a gangsta rapper, appearing on a lifestyle cooking show with Martha Stewart to boot, but he has never turned his back from his musical origins in making new music. He burst into the rap scene with his album called "Doggystyle" in 1993, made in collaboration with iconic rap producer Dr. Dre, and has made several other successful albums since then.

She said that "A Change Would Do You Good" and pursue it "If It Makes You Happy." Who is this singer-songwriter?

The folksy-bluesy-rock-acoustic sound of Sheryl Crow was a huge hit in the '90s, as well as her signature laidback look with the wavy hair and guitar in tow. She came out with the album called "Tuesday Night Music Club" which contained the hits "All I Wanna Do," "Strong Enough," and "Leaving Las Vegas."

They don't like "Spiderwebs" so they told us "Don't Speak." What group is this?

The ska punk-sounding band No Doubt was formed in the late '80s, but they hit it big with their 1995 album called "Tragic Kingdom." Some of the popular songs in that album include "Just a Girl," "Spiderwebs," "Sunday Morning," and the huge hit "Don't Speak."

She said, even if you're Brad Pitt, "That Don't Impress Me Much." Who is this woman?

The country music-sounding Shania Twain is actually a Canadian artist, and she is called the Queen of Country Pop due to her international success. Her '90s hits include "From This Moment On," "That Don't Impress Me Much," and the huge hit ballad "You're Still the One."

Well it's "3AM" so they asked not to "Push." Which band was this?

Matchbox Twenty came out with their highly successful debut album called "Yourself or Someone Like You" in 1996, and this album hit the platinum record mark. Rob Thomas is their lead vocalist while Kyle Cook plays lead guitar, Paul Doucette plays the drums, and Brian Yale is on bass; Adam Gaynor used to play rhythm guitar until 2004.

He compared you to a "Kiss From A Rose" when he was going "Crazy." Who is this singer?

Seal hit it big in the '90s with his 1991 hit song "Crazy" and the 1994 hit "Kiss from a Rose," which appeared in the "Batman Forever" soundtrack. He also gained popularity as the husband of international model Heidi Klum, but they got divorced back in 2014.

He all wanted us to tune in to the "Next Episode" yo. Who is this performer-producer?

If you watch the 2015 biopic called "Straight Outta Compton," you would see how Dr. Dre first emerged as an artist, then later as a producer of successful rap albums, helping many popular rap acts to gain popularity. He was an original member of N.W.A. together with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren, and is now recognized as one of the most respectable hip-hop music producers and performers of this time.

They wanted to "Disarm" us "Tonight, Tonight." Who is this band?

The Chicago-based alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins hit it big in the '90s with popular albums such as "Siamese Dream" and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." The band was formed by Billy Corgan, D'arcy Wretzky, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlain, but Wretzky left in 1999, so they had to replace her.

He was always ready to "Bump N' Grind." Who is this R&B guy?

Grammy Award winner R. Kelly snagged one of those precious gramophone statuettes for his song "I Believe I Can Fly," which appeared on the soundtrack of "Space Jam." In between his musical gigs, he also became a professional basketball player, signing up with the United States Basketball League (USBL), playing for the Atlantic City Seagulls, carrying the number 12.

They promised that they "Only Wanna Be With You" so they asked you to "Hold My Hand." Who is this R&B act?

Hootie and the Blowfish released their R&B-sounding debut album called "Cracked Rear View" back in 1994, and it was certified platinum. The bestselling album contained the hits "Only Wanna Be with You," "Let Her Cry," "Drowning," and "Hold My Hand."

At her best, she declared that "You Are Love." Who was this singer?

The Brooklyn-born and Detroit-raised singer Aaliyah had a successful debut album released in 1994 called "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number." Unfortunately, at the age of 22, she died on a plane crash at the Bahamas, but some of her work got released posthumously, specifically her starring role in the Anne Rice novel-turned-film called "Queen of the Damned," which gave viewers a rather eerie interpretation due to her death.

He was so sure that "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over." Who was this singer?

Aside from being known for his cool guitar-heavy funky songs, Lenny Kravitz was also known as the hubby of popular "The Cosby Show" star Lisa Bonet, whom he divorced in 1993. Nowadays, he is known as actress Zoe Kravitz's dad, as well as playing the character of the clothing designer Cinna in the "Hunger Games" films.

They don't want to tell their "Name" so they just "Slide" with "Iris." Which band was this?

The band called Goo Goo Dolls was formed in 1986, but they gained popularity in the '90s upon the release of their album entitled "A Boy Named Goo." One of their biggest hits was the song "Iris," which was part of the "City of Angels" movie soundtrack.

One time he said "My Name Is" then the next he said "I'm Shady." If you know who this rapper is, please stand up, please stand up!

Eminem is one of the most controversial rappers to come out of the American music scene, mainly since his lyrics are quite controversial and often offensive in nature. Nonetheless, he produced some good music, often with the help of iconic hip-hop producer Dr. Dre, and they also collaborated on some songs together.

When they weren't being a "Paranoid Android," they were being a "Creep." Which band was this?

The English rock band Radiohead was established back in the mid-'80s, but hit it big during the '90s when they released their debut album called "Pablo Honey." "Their 1992 single "Creep" remains to be their most identifiable hit song, but they continued releasing many albums, even releasing some through digitally downloadable torrent versions.

They know they got it, the right stuff, when they sang "Step By Step." What boy band is this?

Many teen hearts fluttered during the late '80s and '90s when New Kids on the Block burst into stardom, touring the world with their music. The Boston-originating boy band now goes by the name NKOTB, and they are still active, going on many co-headlining tours with other artists such as the Backstreet Boys, Paula Abdul, Boyz II Men, and other notable acts that would surely be appreciated by people who grew up in the '90s.

She had to "Rush, Rush" because she was "Blowing Kisses in the Wind." Who was this singer?

Paula Abdul was discovered while she was performing and choreographing the Laker Girls, and later became Janet Jackson's choreographer as well, before bursting out into the pop scene with her signature tap dance moves to the beat of her pop hits. She was also briefly married to actor Emilio Estevez, and also became one of the original judges on "American Idol" with Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

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