Alterntive rock is the field of music resigned for acts made up of bedroom loners, introverts and eccentrics. Originally, the term represented groups who who didn't conform to the more widely accepted forms of music.
The '80s saw hair metal as the defining mainstream champion of rock. For close to a decade, leopard print leggings, tangle teased hair, and lyrics that celebrated hedonism, were what constituted a rock scene. But in the underground, alternative rock acts - who were tired of the shameless arrogance, and the formulaic nature to songwriting - were slowly gaining traction.
As the '80s transitioned into the '90s, grunge broke out in Seattle; pop punk and alt rock, broke out across California, and in the UK, jangle pop morphed into Britpop. The alternative soon became the conventional, but that's not to say there wasn't some standouts.
With a term that encompasses so many sub-genres, alt rock spans vastly varying sonic soundscapes. And, for a genre that's main defining characteristic is non-conformity, its leading frontmen are as odd and eccentric as they are brilliant.
10. Morrissey - The Smiths
Since his days as the darling of mournful indie music, Morrissey has become a pop culture icon shrouded in as much ambiguity as controversy. He's one of the more eccentric individuals in pop culture - which has only bolstered his image as the lone wolf of morbid, emo poetry. The ambiguity about his sexuality; the sophisticated nature of his early lyricism; and his propensity for doing things his own way, has all fed into his persona as one of the most celebrated and polarising frontmen going.
Although the Smiths only lasted a mere five years, the four studio albums they released were monumental in shaping the indie and alternative scenes of the '80s and '90s. And, even today those albums are still considered formative forces on modern music. Augmented by Johnny Marr's jangly, '60s-inspired guitar parts, Morrissey's lyrics turned the music scene on its head.
He wasn't espousing his own virtues, or making commentary on specific cultural events or trends, rather he seemed to sum up the entire notion of human existence (as he saw it), through exclamations of personal misery and despair. All the doom and gloom was lapped up by fans, who found a cathartic escape, in hearing someone who had fame and money, admit to alienation.