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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Madchester, Spice, rave and grunge
Rave in 1998
Clubbing became big business
The Magazine is compiling a people's history of modern Britain - featuring your written memories and photos. We've done the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. To finish, it's time for the 90s.

It was the decade of the Gulf War, the dotcom boom, New Labour and the death of Princess Diana.

But for many of you, it is the music that lingers in the memory.

Yes, there was Britpop - Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Ocean Colour Scene - but there was also rave, US grunge (the death of its golden boy, Kurt Cobain) and boy bands.

Here is a selection of your comments.


The music was what defined the 90s for me. Not just Britpop, and the usual medley of Spice Girls/Space hits that you get on compilations.
Simon Moody in 1999
Nightclubbing was really superb, from Reel2Reel's 'I like to Move it' to M People, Corona, JX-'Son of a gun' to Euro-dance classic's like 'Mr Vain' and 'Another Night'. Indie bands hit their peak too-Animal Nitrate stands out but other bands hard to pigeon hole like Crowded House and Texas were there too. The Manchester scene was very prominent - The Mock Turtles 'Can you dig it' in 91 right through to the dynamic success and decade-defining tracks of Oasis later on.
Simon Moody in 2007
So many tracks from the decade are being re-sampled, covered and re-used in clubs nowadays and a huge cheer always goes up when they're played over the speakers. But whenever somebody says 'Nineties, I seem to immediately remember 'The Fast Show' and drinking lager on a hot summer's day waiting for the England - Scotland game to start in Euro 96, with Scatman John's 'The Scatman' playing on the jukebox-oh heady days.(The fact that I spent the majority of the decade in my 20s probably has something to do with this rose tinted nonsense too)
Simon Moody (right, in 1999 and 2007), Coventry UK

I will always remember the 90s for the era of the remix. CD singles had only started turning up at the end of the 80s but were in full swing by the 90s and this was the era of many big dance tunes such as Livin' Joy - Dreamer and Baby D - Let Me Be Your Fantasy. All the CD singles of this type of track had about eight different remixes on. I was in my 20s through this decade and spent many a night dancing in clubs to all these tracks, I have loads of them on my iPod now and can be instantly transported back to the 90s at the press of a button. Great times!!
Ryan, Beverley
The early 90s for me was an explosion of music, gone were the glam rock big hair bands and instead we had the great bands from Seattle, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and for some Nirvana ;-), the UK music scene was improving too with PWEI, Wonderstuff, Neds. There was a good feeling around this time which unfortunately dies off when the 'Nu-Metal' scene kicked in and what was once alternative became horribly commercial. Overall a good start and a poor finish. Fond memories from the early days.
Rich, Nottingham

MORE 90s MEMORIES
The 90s for me were great- being a teenager and going to club nights for under 18s was brill- made us all feel really grown up, The fashion looking back was crazy- denim shorts with Doc Marten boots and luminous coloured tops! As well as tartan trousers, baby doll dresses, plastic jelly shoes and naff naff t-shirts! Boybands were the latest thing to listen too- and argue about who was best, Take That or East 17!! I'm proud to have been a teenager of the 90s as I look at the youth of today only 10 years later and think what a change - I wasn't rude and out of control when I was a child
Charlotte

The 90s were about parties in fields and having a good time. Can't remember anything else!
Pea, Derby

I didn't get into the rave/dance scene until late (95) but think I managed to catch the buzz all the same - Belfast had a few good nights around that time and there was a real sense of anything and anyone goes in what was a pretty conservative environment. I wouldn't have minded a bit more political activism though! Oh and the advent of Playstation kept me off the streets too - Dark Forces, you have a place in my heart!
John, London

Spice Girls in 1997
Girl Power came and went. And could be back in 2007
As an ex-pat living abroad I am constantly amazed at what people do, and do not, know about life in the UK - but the one thing that never ceases to amaze me is that, even if people can't speak a word of English, even if people are in their 80s or 90s, even if people have never heard the name of a single British city, even if people wouldn't know who Tony Blair was if he walked into a room and kissed their grandma, they still, without exception, can sing along to "Wannabe" - love it or hate it, as far as the outside world is concerned, 90s Britain can be summed up in "Sporty, Scary, Baby, Ginger and Posh"!
Michael James MacKenzie Jones, Cheb, Czech Republic

The rise of the boy band must be discussed - Take That, Boyzone, East 17, 5ive. Also the Britpop movement - Blur and Oasis. Music was a massive part of this decade. Being at school, college and starting university everything seemed to revolve around music.
Louise, Lancs

Practising the Macarena and Saturday Night in my bedroom before going to a friend's disco birthday party...
Charles Oram, Cardiff, UK
Listening to OK Computer on a gorgeous night in the countryside
Simon Turner, Manchester, UK
Boy bands, there were tons of 'em! Dammit! Brit pop was ace though!
Maria, Wotton-under-edge
Andrea, Widnes
Those yellow smiley faces on everything!
Andrea, Widnes

As a music fan, how glad was I to see the 80s go and the slick modern 90s arrive? The end of electro-pop and big hair rock, and the arrival of decent indie and grunge music like the Pixies, Nirvana, Wonder Stuff, REM and great things from "Madchester", leading us into that glorious mid 90's era known as Brit-Pop. I began the 90s aged 19 and left it aged 29, a fantastic time to grow up and be alive around a thriving, eclectic music scene !
Allen McLaughlin, Paisley, Scotland

My fondest memory of the 1990s is rave culture. It was punk for my generation who were too young to appreciate previous youth sub cultures. In the early years I'd go to raves in England and meet people from all over the place. I'd travel miles just to go and dance for hours, no one cared what you wore or where you were from because you were there. Anyone could make a record (and they did!) or be a promoter. Sadly Britain rapidly became more apathetic towards the new millennium, (thanks to the Tories Criminal Justice Act amongst other things) and pop culture became a regurgitation of what went on before. Ideal for the oncoming "Blairism".
Amanda Andrews, Cardiff

I was 15 in 1990 and had just lived through a decade I disliked for so many reasons. I was nearing the end of my school life and things looked up. The music suddenly changed from acid house and techno to grunge and rock, Nirvana happened, as did the Manic Street Preachers and Radiohead. I suddenly became aware or the world around me and knew I had more options than my parents. We had an almost 60-ish optimism and an idea that things could change. Sadly that feeling died too quickly without much having been done, but the music and the attitude is still there to keep me happy.
Heather, Wolverhampton

Oasis in 1996
Oasis changed lives
Born in 1975 I was 15 when the 90's came in. I remember NKOTB (I was sure that I was going to marry Jordan Knight!), Vanilla Ice, dodgy Europop music, Hooch lemon alcopops, begging older siblings to buy us all a bottle of Peach Concorde (ahem) from Vicky Wines, stone roses, baggy jeans, LA gear trainers, Reebok basketball trainers with the orange pumpy thing on the front, Joe Bloggs hooded tops, Eldorado, Beverley Hills 90210, The Wonder Years, getting educated through the most read book at school (Forever - Judy Bloom), Just Seventeen mag, sweet dreams books, Gazza crying at the world cup, pop swatch watches, debating Blur v Oasis at uni, oasis at Knebworth, bob cuts, body suits, A line skirts, knee high boots, American tan tights........and my son being born at the end of the decade!
Alison Jones, Stockport

I was 7 in July 1990 and ended the decade as a 16 year old. The 90s were my growing up years and I really loved it, I wouldn't have wanted to grow up in any other decade. I loved Take That in the early 1990s and remember 13 February 1996 (Take That split) very clearly. In the later part of the decade I liked the Spice Girls and All Saints and I was influenced by girl power. I also remember Titanic coming out in 98 and watching it about 20 times!
Katie, Manchester (born in Kent)

As a teenager in the 90s I was mainly concerned about convincing my friends that Oasis were better than Blur. A great decade for music and being young.
Emily, Maidenhead
I remember Kurt Cobain killing himself as being the big event. It was also the decade in which all my deeply unfashionable cardigans became momentarily fashionable. Almost.
Lizz, Calne, Wiltshire
The 1990s can be summed up by the music of one band. Oasis. They captured the mood of the nation in there music, and still are the greatest band of all time.
Craig, Maidstone

Rave On.... in the beginning of the 90s it was the boom of the warehouse parties which then went on to create a change in night clubs, and 'clubbing' was re-invented. Indie music made a comeback with the Madchester sound being led by Stones Roses, Inspiral Carpets and The Happy Mondays.
Junior, Manchester

Acid house raves. I left school in 1990 what a time to come of age. Your only mission in life was to get to Quadrant park night club Friday and Saturday night. When it finished you went looking for rave on some obscure industrial estate in a car full of people you never met happy, happy days indeed.
Rob Carton, Skelmersdale

For me the 90s began where 1989 left off: a new musical youth movement that was for a time the natural successor to what had ended with the demise of flower power. Call it rave, the second summer of love or whatever, the fact was that it shaped a lot of people's lives. For a couple of summers, it became fashionable to be nice to people who you didn't know and would probably have feared or despised. Football terraces became gentler and the clubs calmer. Sunday lunch suffered for a while but it was a really great time if you were there and felt important. The poll tax riots, Tribal Gathering etc and then the laws that banned mass, spontaneous parties will seal its place in history for a long time to come. Rave on!
Alex Johnson, London, England

Wow, the 90s... I turned 19 in 1990, I was done with school but I didn't really want a job, I wanted to play music. The 90s was the decade when I mostly drank and took various substances, played music, had sex, slept in, and avoided work if possible. It was easy to sign on in 1990, much harder later in the decade. I went to uni in '92 before all the grants were abolished. Students became a lot 'straighter' while I was at uni. They probably worked harder too, or maybe they just weren't in such a mess from smoking dope, I don't know. Music: Reading Festival in 1994(?) what a line-up! Pulp just before 'Common People', Gravediggaz, Primal Scream, Chilli Peppers before they went soft, Ice Cube, Frank Black, Hole, Manic Street Preachers (sadly sans Richie)... glorious! And then program-selling at Phoenix the next year, danced to Tricky, Chemical Brothers, The Orb, enhanced by home-made cookies. All this fun and debauchery ended and for some reason I got a job in a BT call centre, which was truly horrible.
Richard Graham, Newcastle

All I seem to remember as a young American student abroad, are the dizzying number of raves that popped up all over the country. They became pretty popular over the years.
CJ, Plano, Texas, USA
I remember that the 'battle' between Blur and Oasis seemed to be forever! Although Oasis appeared to have won, I have a feeling that Damon Albarn probably had the last laugh with his reincarnation via Gorillaz.
Clare, Turnford, Herts

Early 1990s, the illegal raves around Cambridge where I met my fiance! White hats, white gloves, whistles and charlie
Jo Harrington, Great Dunmow Essex

I was in my late teens / early 20s in the 90s and have fond memories of my "youth". The decade began with a roar, with the 1990 World Cup with Gazza's tears and Gary "lovely legs" Lineker's goals and the rousing Nessum Dorma by Pavarotti. Also, the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 where Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell triumphed on the track. It was a great decade for music too with lots of great dance tunes - and some not so memorable - remember the Smartees with a remix of the Sesame Street tune? And there were the Britpop boys too such as Blur and Oasis. The fashions were one to forget though, who can forget shell suits and the like! And what about the day-glo rave wear which (gulp) seems to have made a comeback this year. How I miss the 90s - there will never be another decade like it!
Beckie, Birmingham

For me the 90s was all about brilliant music. I couldn't have picked a greater decade to grow up in as a teenager as I was caught up in the era of Oasis, Blur and the Prodigy, not to mention the latest and greatest rave scene 'jungle'. England's football team grew out of the lowest pits to almost cover the nation in glory in 1996 and fashion brought back Ben Shermans. What a great time. The down points? Tony Blair jumping on every bandwagon he could after 1997. Tottenham being amazingly woeful after 1991.
Andy, Bromley, England

The 90s was a bit of a strange one I think. Well certainly from 1990 to 1994, nothing appeared to happen for me. I was 14 in 1990 and whilst I still remember the 80s and my childhood with great fondness, the period in the early 90s just holds no real memories for me. It was only when I reached 17/18 and started taking a big interest in music and one band changed everything for me, Oasis! That's when the 90s started for me. I had lots of mates, a great social life and I used to travel up and down the country watching really good bands. That's really what I remember about the 90s!
Lomax, Swansea

My best memory is discovering music and escaping from my parent's collections. First the rave music, who can forget aceeeeedddd! and then as I matured a bit more discovering Britpop and especially Oasis. I spent many an evening listening to definitely maybe and playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the Megadrive. It seems a long time ago now the mid-90s and it especially feels like a lifetime ago.
D Richards, Coventry
I became a teenager in the mid-90s. I remember listening to Nirvana and hearing that Kurt Cobain had killed himself, and then the chart battle between Blur and Oasis (I bought Country House). Reading the NME and wishing I lived in Camden during Britpop, Global Hypercolour t-shirts that wore out after three washes, the death of Princess Diana and the summer of Euro 96 when everyone seemed to become more friendly to each other.
Sam, London, UK

As I was in my late teens/early 20s it was still all about "Madchester" clubs and raves for me in the early 90s. Sharing the driving with friends to go to parties up and down the country. My bedroom walls were full of flyers and I listened to DJ mix tapes non-stop on my Walkman. We wore lots of brand named designer gear [mostly fake!] and started texting each other on our new mobile phones [it was free then!]. Other memories include getting Sky TV, the start of the Premiership, Man United winning everything and Euro96.
Garry, Sydney, Australia (previously Burnley, Lancs)

As a teenager in the 90s, the main things that spring to mind are the Blur/Oasis chart battle, the ubiquity of Chris Evans and the painful end to Euro '96. Looking back now, it seemed a brief period of calm between the end of the Cold War and the start of the problems following September 11th.
Sam, London

Watching England lose to Germany at football (twice), Oasis v Blur, great music, The X Files. All things that made the 90s great (and bad)
Stephen Taylerson, Wolverhampton, England
Here's to swaggering down the street wearing round Lennon-esque sunglasses and a Burberry shirt and a can of Carling in your hand, listening to 'Definitely maybe' on your walkman...Montgomery, Shrewsbury, UK


I reckon being a teenager in the mid 90s was probably the best time to be a teenager in the last 20 years, but I am slightly biased. It was all about the music and which bands you were into; those which stand up to the test of time: Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Radiohead, and those which really don't: Menswear, Sleeper, Northern Uproar. I was 15 in 1995 when Britpop was in full swing - I saved up all my money to go and watch Blur play at Mile End, all our money went on gigs and drinking hooch in the park. Oh, and when it came to Country House vs Roll With It, I copped out and bought both.
Elaine, York





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