'Bleach' to 'Batman': How Summer 1989 Shook Pop Culture - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music News

Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’ to ‘Batman’: How Summer 1989 Shook Pop Culture

Hip-hop, pop, punk and rock came to vital collision, paving the way for the Nineties

What do New Kids on the Block, Batman and Public Enemy have in common? Their big moments were in the summer of 1989.

This tight window of creative output became the cultural bedrock of the Nineties. In this nostalgic look back at a pivotal time, “Weird Al” Yankovic, C.J. Ramone and Rolling Stone journalists remember the big moments that ended the Eighties. 

1989 saw the birth of the modern-era boy band, the apex of Mötley Crüe, and the first big screen Batman film (starring Mr. Mom-actor Michael Keaton). That summer, hip-hop firmly entered the mainstream thanks to acts like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Meanwhile, a then-little-known band named Nirvana and their debut LP Bleach, released in June, sparked the basement rumblings of the indie-rock movement that changed music for the next decade.

“’89 should have been the end of the century,” C.J. Ramone says. While it wasn’t the end – it was a turning point in pop culture.


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.