That was the year: 1991

© Charles Peterson/Retna Ltd./Corbis

It's 20 years this week since Nirvana's all-conquering grunge classic Nevermind was released. To mark the anniversary we're delving into the GT achieves and travelling back two decades to reminisce about guitars, music and world events from the year grunge crossed over…


Chesney Hawkes declares he's The One And Only, Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit, Metallica demands Enter Sandman, the Clash wonder Should I Stay or Should I Go, Queen suffer an Innuendo (with guitar assistance from Steve Howe), Extreme offer More Than Words and Iron Maiden suggest you Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter.

Media mogul Robert Maxwell dies under strange circumstances; also gone are Steve Marriott, Miles Davis, Steve Clark (Def Leppard), Freddie Mercury, Serge Gainsbourg, legendary guitar builder Leo Fender, composer Doc Pomus, and Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek. Baby Gabriella Cilmi arrives like a breath of fresh air and Luciano Pavarotti celebrates his thirty years in opera by singing to over a 100,000 people in Hyde Park.

Iraqi forces fail to meet the United Nations deadline to withdraw from Kuwait so Operation Desert Storm is activated, dominating news channels until the Cease Fire Agreement in April. The collapse of the Soviet Union begins as President Mikhail Gorbachev is put under house arrest and several union members declare independence. Even the KGB stops operations.

Peavey launches the 6505 Plus 112 Combo in answer to the demands of many players who simply love the high-gain head. The 60-watt combo has lead and rhythm channels with independent three-band EQ and the circuit boasts five 12AX7 preamp valves and a pair of 6L6GCs in the power amp section.

Eddie Van Halen collaborates with Music Man to produce his first signature model guitar. Surprisingly the guitar is a single cutaway design with a quilted maple top, a pair of uncovered humbuckers, vibrato system, single volume control and a three-way selector switch. Colours include Amber Quilt, Trans Black, Purple Quilt, Trans Blue and Sunburst.

Formula One driver Michael Schumacher makes his debut in the Belgian Grand Prix; MI5 gets its first female director general, Stella Rimington; the Super Nintendo games machine is released in the States and the Dead Sea scrolls finally become available to the public.

The Bank Of England closes the Bank of Credit and Commerce International following allegations of fraud and the loss of millions of pounds invested by local authorities. The Council Tax is brought in to replace the unpopular Poll Tax; unemployment rises above 2,500,000; and British hostage Terry Waite is freed after four-and-a-half years of Lebanese captivity.

Gibson introduces the Jimi Hendrix Flying V, but as a limited edition with only a single run of 400 guitars to be made. The guitar features an unadorned black body, gold hardware, twin humbuckers, a large Hendrix signature on the white pickguard, 'arrow' inlays and '25 years' on the truss rod cover.