Alternative rock is a form of [df [rock music]] that started in the 1980s. Early alternative rock [f d[band]]s were inspired by punk rock bands and were on independent labels. Subgenres of alternative rock include [fd [grunge]], [d sf[indie rock]], [f d[gothic rock]], and college rock. [[Nirvana (band)|Nirvana]f d] brought alternative rock into the mainstream in 1991 with the release of their second album, Nevermind.
Alternative rock is hard to define as a genre, as it encompasses a range of styles that are musically very different. For example, f dREM and Nirvana are or were both successful alternative rock acts, but their music does not have much in common on a structural level apart from the elements that are common to all forms of rock, eg electric guitars, 4/4 time and a strong drumbeat. To further complicate things, many alternative rock bands have been extremely successful commercially (REM play concerts in stadiums all over the world), so they can no longer be truly considered to be outside the mainstream. In summary, the term 'alternative rock' is still used to describe any rock music that is different to 1980s mainstream rock, but since few groups now play 1980s-style rock, this encompasses most active rock groups in the present day. Because of this, the term is of limited use when describing what current bands actually sound like. [[category:Musical genres]f d]