Foo Fighters Skin and Bones[Photo Credit: RCA]
Kiss Kiss Unplugged[Photo Credit: Mercury]
Bob Dylan The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan[Photo Credit: Columbia]
Tesla Five Man Acoustical Jam[Photo Credit: Geffen]
The Rolling Stones Stripped[Photo Credit: Virgin]
Bruce Springsteen Nebraska[Photo Credit: Columbia]
Page & Plant No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded[Photo Credit: Atlantic]
Alice in Chains Jar of Flies[Photo Credit: Columbia]
Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York[Photo Credit: DGC]
Eric Clapton Unplugged[Photo Credit: Reprise]
20 years ago today the remaining members of Nirvana released MTV Unplugged in New York. Released a little more than a half a year after the tragic suicide of singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain, the scaled down versions of the band’s usually bombastic songs showed their power lay in the writing, not in the volume with which they were originally performed. The album was an immediate hit and a fitting final tribute to one of the greatest songwriters of the era.
Many rock band’s have taken turns trading in their amplifiers for acoustic guitars over the years, with or without the corresponding MTV Unplugged special. Though often used as a way to reimagine past recordings, some artists, such as Alice In Chains and Bruce Springsteen, have used the acoustic template to show a different dimension to their songwriting. Buoyed by the success of the Unplugged television series and related album releases, it almost became a musical cliché for a while, yet fans still enjoy the format and musicians still enjoy the opportunity to give their eardrums a rest. Check out our gallery of rock’s most successful acoustic albums and see who turned hard rock gold into acoustic platinum and surprised fans with their quiet(er) side.