Friday on My Mind: Seminal Seattle Artists

Happy Friday everyone. It’s time for another round of Friday on My Mind,  when we present you a different musical idea every Friday.  These posts are a joint effort between KEXP and King 5 News. This week, we’re discussing three seminal Seattle artists.


One of the world’s most influential bands of the past 20 years is Seattle’s Nirvana. In the early 90’s, Nirvana single-handedly altered the landscape of rock music and the Kurt Cobain penned “Smells like Teen Spirit” brought grunge to the forefront of the world’s mind, and confirmed the city of Seattle as a hotbed of musical inspiration. The song and band’s popularity were further established by the memorable video, which featured the destruction of a high school gym and anarchy cheerleaders. The success of Nirvana helped pave the way for other Seattle bands and cemented  the status of the Seattle music scene as influential and legendary. Here’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”:

Jimi Hendrix

Before changing his name, Jimi Hendrix was born and raised in Seattle as Johnny Allen Hendrix. The significance of his impact on guitar playing is considered by many as immeasurable. Hendrix’s popularity skyrocketed and his legend was sealed in 1967 after a epic performance at the Monterey Pop Festival where he closed out the performance by setting his guitar on fire. Sadly, like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix tragically died at the young age of 27 in 1970, but still to this day his praises are still sung by younger generations. His influence lives on to this day. Seattle is proud to call Jimi Hendrix its son. Here’s “The Wind Cries Mary”:

Pearl Jam

Seattle band Pearl Jam’s legacy was recently documented in the Cameron Crowe directed documentary Pearl Jam Twenty. The band rose from the ashes of earlier local Seattle bands Green River and Mother Love Bone. Like Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit”, Pearl Jam’s “Alive” is yet another anthem of the grunge era and provided another opportunity for the world to get a look at the fertile music scene in Seattle. The video for “Alive” is Seattle through and through and gives a visual slice of Seattle 90’s music history. The footage was filmed in August of 1991 at the beloved, but now defunct RKCNDY music venue. Though they’ve ditched the flannels, to this day Pearl Jam are still going strong and representing Seattle to packed arenas and stadiums all over the world. Here’s the video:

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