My wife and I were driving along on the Monday after Independence Day and listening to a CD I made almost 6 years ago for a trip we were making to Sausalito (now we live in the Bay Area–Yeah!). I put on this CD only songs I knew my wife liked (except Dire Straights “Calling Elvis”–love Mark Knopfler’s voice on that!) and I started noticing how many great female singers used to be played on “Alternative” radio.

Garbage with Shirley Manson for one. She had an interesting rock voice that had a hefty bit of defiance in it while also being melodic. There was also that haunting almost waltz-like song “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star that included the magnificent yearning vocals of Hope Sandoval. If you play that song now it’s like the “go to” tune for instant 90’s coffee house nostalgia. Real black-haired Alyson Hannigan “How I Met Your Mother” stuff.

Remember Republica? Remember the group they always got confused with, Luscious Jackson? Remember which one sang “Naked Eye”? I’ll give you a hint, Republica sang “Ready To Go.”

Remember when Sarah McLachlin was considered “alternative” (as in the radio not the lifestyle)? Tora Amos used to get played right next to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. And No Doubt! Gwen Stefani, before she “hollaback”d, was all over this format.

That format, incidentally, lives on only in internet HD sites or indepedently run stations. It was a fun format. It was stuff that sounded so different from all the Bonnie Raitt and Whitney Houston getting played at the time. 90’s Alternative had a lot of the new mixed in with great stuff from the 70’s and 80’s.

Oh my god! I almost forgot Jamie Osbourne and her “God” song! Yes, that brings you back to the 90’s. She’s incredible live, by the way!

Comment below about your favorite 90’s female act, and we’ll revisit this topic later! Thanks for reading!