1991: The Year Punk Broke

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1991: The Year Punk Broke
VHS box cover of 1991: The Year Punk Broke
Directed byDave Markey
Produced byWe Got Power Productions
Sonic Life
Music bySonic Youth
Dinosaur Jr
Babes in Toyland
The Ramones
Distributed byTara Films
Release dates
24 December 1992 (theatrical)
13 April 1993 (home video)[1]
13 September 2011 (DVD)
Running time
95 mins.
CountryUnited States

1991: The Year Punk Broke, released theatrically in 1992, is a documentary directed by Dave Markey,[1][2] featuring American alternative rock band Sonic Youth on tour in Europe in 1991. While Sonic Youth is the focus of the documentary, the film also gives attention to Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Babes in Toyland, Gumball and The Ramones.[3] Also featured in the film are Mark Arm, Dan Peters and Matt Lukin of Mudhoney, and roadie Joe Cole, who was murdered in a robbery three months after the tour ended. The film is dedicated to Cole.[4]

Several scenes in the film involve re-enactments and references to scenes from the contemporaneous Madonna tour documentary, Truth or Dare, such as Gordon complaining about "industry people" in the front row, or Cobain, introduced as "Costner" telling Sonic Youth that their show was "neat". At a screening of the film at the 2008 All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Monticello, New York, Markey mentioned that the working title for the film was Tooth or Hair, as a further play on this connection. A home video VHS was released by the David Geffen Company on April 13, 1993.[1] The film was again re-released on DVD on September 13, 2011, by the Universal Music Group.[5][4]


Sonic Youth
Babes in Toyland
Dinosaur Jr.

Songs included in the film[edit]

The songs included in the film are:[6][7]

  1. Sonic Youth - “Schizophrenia”
  2. Nirvana - “Negative Creep
  3. Sonic Youth - “Brother James”
  4. Nirvana - “School”
  5. Sonic Youth - “Teen Age Riot
  6. Dinosaur Jr. - “Freak Scene
  7. Babes In Toyland - “Dust Cake Boy”
  8. Sonic Youth - “Dirty Boots
  9. Nirvana - “Endless, Nameless
  10. Sonic Youth - “I Love Her All The Time”
  11. Gumball - “Pre”
  12. Dinosaur Jr. - “The Wagon
  13. Sonic Youth - “Mote”
  14. Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit
  15. The Ramones - “Commando”
  16. Sonic Youth - “Kool Thing
  17. Nirvana - “Polly
  18. Sonic Youth - “Expressway To Yr. Skull”

Tour dates[edit]

The film takes place over the course of Sonic Youth and Nirvana's 1991 European tour. The European dates, given at the beginning of the film, are as follows:

Date City Country Venue/Festival
August 20, 1991 Cork
Sir Henry's
August 21, 1991 Dublin Top Hat
August 23, 1991 Reading
United Kingdom
Reading Festival
August 24, 1991 Cologne
Monsters of Spex Festival - Tanzbrunnen
August 25, 1991 Hasselt
August 27, 1991 Bremen
Überschall 91 - Aladin Music Hall
August 28, 1991 Halle Easy Schorre
August 29, 1991 Stuttgart Longhorn Country & Western Saloon
August 30, 1991 Nuremberg Serenadenhof
September 1, 1991 Rotterdam
Ein Abend In Wien - De Doelen


Original 1993 VHS release[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
US Top Music Videos (Billboard)[8] 25

2011 DVD re-release[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
UK Music Videos (OCC)[9] 7


  1. ^ a b c Gaar, Gillian (September 21, 2023). "11 Reasons Why 1993 Was Nirvana's Big Year". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  2. ^ O'Driscoll, Des (2021). "Nirvana in Cork: The legendary 1991 gig in Sir Henrys". Irish Examiner. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  3. ^ Pearis, Bill (August 6, 2021). "1991: The Year Punk Broke,' '24 Hour Party People & more showing at "Screen Slate" @ Roxy Cinema 10th anniversary". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Spitz, Marc (September 23, 2011). "Generation X In a Time Capsule". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  5. ^ Mullineaux, Lauren. "1991 The Year Punk Broke Review". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  6. ^ "Sonic Youth - 1991 The Year Punk Broke (DVD)". newreleasesnow.com. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  7. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "1991:The Year Punk Broke". AllMusic. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  8. ^ "Top Music Videos" (PDF). Billboard. May 8, 1993. p. 55. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "Official Music Video Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 December 2021.

External links[edit]