The music industry is one of ups and downs. Waves of popularity and interest crest and break with all the predictability of a violent sea.
In 1987, U2 was "Rock's Hottest Ticket," according to Time magazine. A decade later, the Irish mega-group released Pop, a funky, dance-y departure that failed to resonate with fans.
Similarly, in 1996, Oasis was sitting on universal adulation from fans, critics and mainstream media. After a performance in front of 250,000 at Knebworth, it appeared Oasis' stock could only go up. In 1997 the band released their third album, Be Here Now. It became the fastest-selling album in U.K. history, with more than 1 million units sold in the first two weeks. But the hurried follow-up to (What's the Story) Morning Glory? was panned by critics and fans alike, and the band has since been unable to reclaim their mid-Nineties success.
And then there was grunge. As a movement, grunge was the defiant but earnest response to the indulgent buffoonery of late-Eighties pop metal. But little more than halfway through the decade, the alternative rock scene turned self-deprecation into self-mockery. It was the beginning of the end as grunge became the very farce it had fought so hard to alienate itself from.
There was, however, Radiohead and OK Computer. Indie rock now had a stepping stone to propel itself into the modern rock arena. Thus, the ubiquitous but ever elusive underground found a new darling, and the tide began its turn.