Grunge Union Jack
Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a subgenre of alternative rock and a subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop and that region's underground music scene. By the early 1990s its popularity had spread, with grunge acts appearing in California, then surfacing towards other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.
Grunge became commercially successful in the first half of the 1990s, due to releases such as Nirvana's Nevermind, Pearl Jam's Ten, Soundgarden's Superunknown, Alice in Chains' Dirt, Stone Temple Pilots' Core and Hole's Live Through This. The success of these bands boosted the popularity of alternative rock and made grunge the most popular form of rock music at the time. Although most grunge bands had disbanded or faded from view by the late 1990s, they influenced modern rock music, as their lyrics brought socially conscious issues into pop culture and added introspection and an exploration of what it means to be true to oneself. Grunge was also an influence on subsequent genres such as post-grunge and nu metal.
Grunge fuses elements of punk rock and heavy metal, such as the distorted electric guitar used in both genres, although some bands performed with more emphasis on one or the other. Like these genres, grunge typically uses electric guitar, bass guitar, a drummer and a singer. Grunge also incorporates influences from indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth. Lyrics are typically angst-filled and introspective, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, concerns about confinement, and a desire for freedom.
A number of factors contributed to grunge's decline in prominence. During the mid-late 1990s, many grunge bands broke up or became less visible. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, labeled by Time as "the John Lennon of the swinging Northwest", appeared unusually tortured by success and struggled with an addiction to heroin before he died by suicide at the age of 27 in 1994.
The Union Jack,[note 1] or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The flag also has an official or semi-official status in some other Commonwealth realms; for example, it is, by parliamentary resolution, an official flag in Canada and known there as the Royal Union Flag. Further, it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union Jack also appears in the canton (upper left-hand quarter) of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions.
The origins of the earlier flag of Great Britain date back to 1606. James VI of Scotland had inherited the English and Irish thrones in 1603 as James I, thereby uniting the crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland in a personal union, although the three kingdoms remained separate states. On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England (a red cross on a white background, known as St George's Cross), and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire on a blue background, known as the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross), would be joined together, forming the flag of England and Scotland for maritime purposes. King James also began to refer to a "Kingdom of Great Britaine", although the union remained a personal one.
The present design of the Union Flag dates from a Royal proclamation following the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George of the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland (which two were united in the first Union Flag), and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland.
Notably, the home country of Wales is not represented separately in the Union Jack, being only indirectly represented through the cross of St George, which represents the former Kingdom of England (which included Wales).