All of the following albums were released 20 years ago in August, 1990.
N.W.A. – 100 Miles and Runnin’: The follow-up EP to the band’s seminal Straight Outta Compton album. This EP marked the departure of Ice Cube (who would soon launch his own successful music and acting careers). Despite the fact that “100 Miles” is an EP containing only five songs, it went platinum (selling more than one million copies) two years later in 1992.
Alice in Chains – Facelift: The debut album from one of the original grunge bands. “Man in the Box” quickly took MTV and radios by storm, while “We Die Young”, “Sea of Sorrow” and “Bleed the Freak” are all classic tracks from this album as well. Alice in Chains went on to great success, and their debut album has been certified double platinum.
Vanilla Ice – To the Extreme: Laugh all you want, but I guarantee if you’re my age, there was a point in time when you thought Vanilla Ice was cool. As Vanilla Ice himself once said, “It’s amazing that nobody admits to owning this album, and yet ‘To the Extreme’ sold eleven million copies.” Sadly, I owned one of those copies.
LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out: “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” The song “Mama Said Knock You Out” got heavy rotation through MTV Raps as did “Around the Way Girl”, solidifying LL’s reputation as both a lover and a fighter. This is another double-platinum album, selling two-million copies in a short period of time.
Extreme – Pornograffitti: Although the band had a couple of radio singles with their debut album, Extreme didn’t blow up until the release of this album. Songs like “Kid Ego” (from their first album) and “Get the Funk Out” showed off the band’s chops, but singles “Hole Hearted” and “More than Words” turned the band into (wimpy) superstars.
Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual: Jane’s Addiction’s second and most successful studio album. “Been Caught Stealing” helped put both the band and alternative rock on the map. This was one of the first albums I remember being released with alternate covers so that it could be sold at Wal-Mart. “Ritual de lo Habitual” went on to sell 3 million copies and was (by far) Jane’s Addiction’s most successful album.
Garth Brooks – No Fences: Growing up in Yukon, Oklahoma (the same town as Garth) made ignoring Mr. Brooks rocket to fame impossible to ignore — especially when they painted his name on our town’s water tower. (I wish I was kidding.) “No Fences” includes “Friends in Low Places” and “The Thunder Rolls” and a bunch of other songs I never heard. Sorry, I didn’t buy this one, but 17 million people did. This album is the reason half of the people at my senior prom wore cowboy hats.