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Nirvana

Prior to Nirvana, alternative music was consigned to specialty sections of record stores, and major labels considered it to be, at the very most, a tax write-off. After the band's second album, 1991's Nevermind, nothing was ever quite the same, for better and for worse. Nirvana popularized punk, post-punk, and indie rock, unintentionally bringing them into the American mainstream like no other band to date. While their sound was equal parts Black Sabbath (as learned by fellow Washington underground rockers the Melvins) and Cheap Trick, Nirvana's aesthetics were strictly indie rock. They covered Vaselines songs, they revived new wave cuts by Devo, and leader Kurt Cobain relentlessly pushed his favorite bands -- whether it was the art punk of the Raincoats or the country-fried hardcore of the Meat Puppets -- as if his favorite records were always more important than his own music.

While Nirvana's ideology was indie rock and their melodies were pop, the sonic rush of their records and live shows merged post-industrial white noise with heavy metal grind. And that's what made the group an unprecedented multi-platinum sensation. Jane's Addiction and Soundgarden may have proven to the vast American heavy metal audience that alternative could rock, and the Pixies may have merged pop sensibilities with indie rock white noise, but Nirvana pulled at all together, creating a sound that was both fiery and melodic. Since Nirvana were rooted in the indie aesthetic but loved pop music, they fought their stardom while courting it, becoming some of the most notorious anti-rock stars in history. The result was a conscious attempt to shed their audience with the abrasive In Utero, which only partially fulfilled the band's goal. But by that point, the fate of the band and Kurt Cobain had been sealed. Suffering from drug addiction and manic depression, Cobain had become destructive and suicidal, though his management and label were able to hide the extent of his problems from the public until April 8, 1994, when he was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Cobain may not have been able to weather Nirvana's success, but the band's legacy stands as one of the most influential in rock & roll history.

Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar) met Chris Novoselic (born Krist Novoselic) (bass) in 1985 in Aberdeen, Washington, a small logging town 100 miles away from Seattle. While Novoselic came from a relatively stable background, Cobain's childhood had been thrown into turmoil when his parents divorced when he was eight. Following the divorce, he lived at the homes of various relatives, developing a love for the Beatles and then heavy metal in the process. Eventually, American hardcore punk worked its way into dominating his listening habits and he met the Melvins, an Olympia-based underground heavy punk band. Cobain began playing in punk bands like Fecal Matter, often with the Melvins' bassist, Dale Crover. Through the Melvins' leader, Buzz Osborne, Cobain met Novoselic, who also had an intense interest in punk, which meant that he, like Cobain, felt alienated from the macho, redneck population of Aberdeen. The duo decided to form a band called the Stiff Woodies, with Cobain on drums, Novoselic on bass, and a rotating cast of guitarists and vocalists. The group went through name changes as quickly as guitarists, before deciding that Cobain would play guitar and sing. Renamed Skid Row, the new trio featured drummer Aaron Burkhart, who left the band by the end of 1986 and was replaced by Chad Channing. By 1987, the band was called Nirvana.

Nirvana began playing parties in Olympia, gaining a cult following. During 1987, the band made ten demos with producer Jack Endino, who played the recordings to Jonathan Poneman, one of the founders of the Seattle-based indie label Sub Pop. Poneman signed Nirvana, and in December of 1988, the band released its first single, a cover of Shocking Blue's "Love Buzz." Sub Pop orchestrated an effective marketing scheme, which painted the band as backwoods, logging-town hicks, which irritated Cobain and Novoselic. While "Love Buzz" was fairly well-received, the band's debut album, Bleach, was what got the ball rolling. Recorded for just over $600 and released in the spring of 1989, Bleach slowly became a hit on college radio, due to the group's consistent touring. Though Jason Everman was credited as a second guitarist on the sleeve of Bleach, he didn't appear on the record; he only toured in support of the album before leaving the band at the end of the year to join Soundgarden and then Mindfunk. Bleach sold 35,000 copies and Nirvana became favorites of college radio, the British weekly music press, and Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, and Dinosaur Jr., which was enough to attract the attention of major labels.

During the summer of 1990, Nirvana released "Sliver"/"Dive," which was recorded with Mudhoney's Dan Peters on drums and produced by Butch Vig. The band also made a six-song demo with Vig, which was shopped to major labels, who soon began competing to sign the group. In August, they hit the road with Sonic Youth's Goo tour (including Crover on drums). By the end of the summer, Dave Grohl, formerly of the D.C.-based hardcore band Scream, had become Nirvana's drummer and the band signed with DGC for $287,000. Nirvana recorded their second album with Vig, completing the record in June of 1991. Nevermind was released in September, supported by a quick American tour. While DGC was expecting a moderately successful release, in the neighborhood of 100,000 copies, Nevermind immediately became a smash hit, quickly selling out its initial shipment of 50,000 copies and creating a shortage across America. What helped the record become a success was "Smells Like Teen Spirit," a blistering four-chord rocker that was accompanied by a video that shot into heavy MTV rotation. By the beginning of 1992, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had climbed into the American Top Ten and Nevermind bumped Michael Jackson's much-touted comeback album Dangerous off the top of the album charts; it reached the British Top Ten shortly afterward. By February, the album had been certified triple platinum.

Nirvana's success took the music industry by surprise, Nirvana included. It soon become apparent that the band wasn't quite sure how to handle its success. Around the time of Nevermind's release, the band was into baiting its audience -- Cobain appeared on MTV's Headbangers Ball in drag, the group mocked the tradition of miming on the BBC's Top of the Pops by Novoselic constantly throwing his bass into the air and Cobain singing his live vocals in the style of Ian Curtis, and their traditional live destruction of instruments was immortalized on a Saturday Night Live performance that ended with Novoselic and Grohl sharing a kiss -- but by the spring, questions had begun to arise about the band's stability. Cobain married Courtney Love, the leader of the indie rock/foxcore band Hole, in February of 1992, announcing that the couple was expecting a child in the fall. Shortly after the marriage, rumors that Cobain and Love were heavy heroin users began to circulate and the strength of the rumors only increased when Nirvana canceled several summer concerts and refused to mount a full-scale American tour during the summer. Cobain complained that he was suffering from chronic stomach troubles, which seemed to be confirmed when he was admitted to a Belfast hospital after a June concert. But heroin rumors continued to surface, especially in the form of a late-summer Vanity Fair article implying that Love was using during her pregnancy. Both Love and Cobain denied the article's allegations, and publicly harassed and threatened the article's author. Love delivered Frances Bean Cobain, a healthy baby girl, on August 18, 1992, but the couple soon battled with Los Angeles' children's services, who claimed they were unfit parents on the basis of the Vanity Fair article. The couple was granted custody of the child by the beginning of 1993.

Since Cobain was going through such well-documented personal problems, Nirvana were unable to record a follow-up to Nevermind until the spring of 1993. In the meantime, DGC released the odds-and-ends compilation Incesticide late in 1992; the album reached number 39 in the U.S. and number 14 U.K. As Nirvana prepared to make their third album, they released "Oh, the Guilt" as a split single with the Jesus Lizard on Touch & Go Records. Choosing Steve Albini (Pixies, the Breeders, Big Black, the Jesus Lizard) as their producer, they recorded their third album, In Utero, in two weeks during the spring of 1993. Following its completion, controversy began to surround Nirvana again. Cobain suffered a heroin overdose on May 2, but the event was hidden from the press. The following month, Love called police to their Seattle home after Cobain locked himself in the bathroom, threatening suicide. Prior to debuting In Utero material during the New Music Seminar at New York's Roseland Ballroom in July, Cobain had another covered-up overdose. By that time, reports began to circulate, including an article in Newsweek, that DGC was unhappy with the forthcoming album, and making accusations that the band deliberately made an uncommercial record. Both the band and the label denied such allegations. Deciding that Albini's production was too flat, Nirvana decided to remaster the album with R.E.M.'s producer, Scott Litt.

In Utero was released in September of 1993 to positive reviews and strong initial sales, debuting at the top of the U.S. and U.K. charts. Nirvana supported it with a fall American tour, hiring former Germs member Pat Smear as an auxiliary guitarist. While the album and the tour were both successful, sales weren't quite as strong as expected, with several shows not selling out until the week of the concert. As a result, the group agreed to play MTV's acoustic Unplugged show at the end of the year, and sales of In Utero picked up after its December airing. After wrapping up the U.S. tour on January 8, 1994, with a show at Center Arena in Seattle, Nirvana embarked on a European tour in February. Following a concert in Munich on February 29, Cobain stayed in Rome to vacation with Love. On March 4, she awakened to find that Cobain had attempted suicide by overdosing on the tranquilizer Rohypnol and drinking champagne. While the attempt was initially reported as an accidental overdose, it was known within the Nirvana camp that the vocalist had left behind a suicide note.

Cobain returned to Seattle within a week of his hospitalization and his mental illness began to grow. On March 18, the police had to again talk the singer out of suicide after he locked himself in a room threatening to kill himself. Love and Nirvana's management organized an intervention program that resulted in Cobain's admission to the Exodus Recovery Center in L.A. on March 30, but he escaped from the clinic on April 1, returning to Seattle. His mother filed a missing persons report on April 4. The following day, Cobain shot himself in the head at his Seattle home. His body wasn't discovered until April 8, when an electrician contracted to install an alarm system at the Cobain house stumbled upon the body. After his death, Kurt Cobain was quickly anointed as a spokesman for Generation X, as well as a symbol of its tortured angst.

Novoselic and Grohl planned to release a double-disc live album at the end of 1994, but sorting through the tapes proved to be too painful, so MTV Unplugged in New York appeared in its place. The album debuted at the top of the British and American charts, as a home video comprised of live performances and interviews from the band's Nevermind era, titled Live! Tonight! Sold Out!, was issued at the same time (the project began prior to Cobain's passing and was completed by surviving bandmembers). In 1996, MTV Unplugged in New York's electric counterpart, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, was released, debuting at the top of the U.S. charts. Following Cobain's death, Grohl formed the Foo Fighters (early rumors that Novoselic would also be a member of the band ultimately proved to be false), releasing their self-titled debut album in 1995, followed by The Colour and the Shape in 1997 and There Is Nothing Left to Lose in 1999. Novoselic formed the trio Sweet 75, releasing their debut in the spring of 1997, and also appeared along with former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and former Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil on the 2000 live set Live from the Battle in Seattle under the name the No W.T.O. Combo.

By the late '90s, Novoselic began research for a proposed box set of previously unreleased songs from throughout Nirvana's career. The project was supposed to surface in the fall of 2001 (to coincide with the tenth anniversary release of Nevermind), but legal issues delayed its release. Finally, the Nirvana LLC partnership -- which included Grohl and Novoselic plus Courtney Love, who manages Cobain's estate -- came to an agreement and the album-length compilation Nirvana was released in October of 2002. Although that release included only one unreleased song, the long-awaited box set, titled With the Lights Out, appeared in late 2004, including three discs of rare and unreleased material plus a live DVD that featured material filmed as early as 1988. The band's 1992 set at the Reading Festival was released in 2009 as Live at Reading. The same year, Sub Pop began a Nirvana studio album reissue campaign with Bleach; special 20th-anniversary editions of Nevermind and In Utero followed in 2011 and 2013, respectively. In 2014, Nirvana was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. Cobain's place in the induction performance was taken by several vocalists, including Joan Jett and Kim Gordon. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: With The Lights Out

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
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Track List: In Utero (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe)

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Comments

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I've done my research and completely agree that Kurt did not commit suicide.
He will always be missed and special place in our hearts.
May he forever rest in peace��
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Kurt Cobain did not commit suicide. F**k all who think he did.
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What's an aqua sea from shame?
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freakin awesome band
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kelpio
Oops sorry the song was spank through. I thought I was on the song page...but it's the nirvana page! ☺️
I love Kurt ❤️
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kelpio
I love this song, it used to make me laugh so much. It's in muddy banks. It's still funny, but i used to find it hysterical ☺️
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❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌
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When nirvana became successful , copycat bandwagon jumping bands started singing just plain Mumbo jumbo words with absolutely no sense, even some loser satanic messages of kill yourselves were sung - that's why record companies were forced to provide lyrics ( words )
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It's f**ked up how rock and roll music has been affiliated with satan over the years ❌
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It's about time pandora played something from In Utero. It is after all the bands best album. Never mind has lost its teeth. It's overplayed, and it is hard to imagine the impact it actually had when it first came out. In Utero still packs a punch.
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Bleach is still my favorite
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nicko252008
Smells like somebody is Jelly of Nirvana. HAAA!
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damien777
Who writes these bios? Prior to one Seattle garage band, no money was being made on Alt music? Jesus, kid, read a book.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured(but won't die) in two days now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five other songs in the next 143 minutes when your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen with big letter this is so scary because it actually works
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soccerx88
I've been on a nirvana obsession since I saw montage of heck a couple weeks ago when it premiered.it s almost like I rediscovered them.im 31 and was old enough to remember when their music and them were everywhere.i was a huge fan then and lately I remembered I still always was.rip Kurt you have always been missed by so many and still are.
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R.I.P. Kurt Cobain
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Listening to smells like teen spirit (live) freaking awesome
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I wish I was around to see them play they are one of my favorite bands. R.I.P Kurt Cobain. I would have loved to see him and talk to him :,(
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Nirvana ROCKS LOVE THEM!
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Nirvana fans are a bunch of weak minded conspiracy freaks. You bunch of dummy's blame everyone but him. No one else pulled the trigger . He was jealous of Courtney Loves blossoming career.
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Love them
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Brite eyes....blue holes....had a need to bleed his soul.peace sir. Hope we meet again
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If you like nirvana you should try green day or the foo fighters or cage the elephant, they are all great bands❤️
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I lived through the 90s. it was better in the 80s when toys from america were worth money in the future.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured (you won't die) in two days. Now that you have started reading this don't stop. Post this on at least five other stations/ song's in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary this actually works.
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jbyrne70
Daddy's little grrrl, ain't a grrrl no more!
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Aye cobain fanboys and Courtney h8rs follow for a follow
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preston_98
Red
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Then there was Kurt Cobain and music was never the same for me again. Forever a fan.
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The nature of the beast is always to blame someone else. It's easy for me to look at you rather then to look at myself. Addiction is disease of obsession & compulsion, & drugs are just are just symptom of that disease.
The feelings that come as a result of this symptom are horrific. Shame, guilt, dereliction, degradation & this is a hard pill to swallow. :( :( :( :(
Some of us find a way through recovery or whatever their process is, and some find a way out through death.
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Hmm....
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@gc.perkins- I saw it the first night it premiered. I agree w/u, he was soo misunderstoo d by many. Its sad cause he was so talented. Growing up he just wanted love and for family to accept him for who he was and to support his dream of being a successful artist/music i a n - I think he felt no one gave a crap about his music. He felt alone. RIP Kurt Cobain
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gc.perkins
I watch the movie montage of heck the other night it was off the hook I have never seen nirvana in concert sorry to say but I will see the Foo Fighters coming September I guess that's as close as I'm ever going to get lol I will make sure I will wear a Kurt shirt he was misunderstoo d truly and very talented and gifted songwriter and singer an artist he is still Shirley missed by so many R I P Kurt Rock on
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Really just watched Montage of Heck, that documentary was great #Nirvana #KurtCobain
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Love smells like teen spirit
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h311t
One of the best bands from the 90's. If you like Nirvana, then you should check out the Foo Fighters and Sweet 75.
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courtney love killed kurt cocaine
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My favorite band in the f**king world
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I love Nirvana but the cutie that sings it died and i don't know how ��
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hoopti3001
If Nirvana came out today it would be better than most of these hippster bands that all sound like 80's bands. This crap is shoved down our throats first through Ford and Suburu commercials then pretentious top ten radio stations. To many happy songs nowadays. What happened to the Cobain's, Yorke's, and Corgan's? (Just to name a few) I Guess They've been replaced by Swift's, Levine's, and any other happy one hit wonder bands.
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And I swear that I don't have a gun
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Has anyone had that problem when people say that when you have a no problem you have a cobrainer!UG H ! I HATE PEOPLE...
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One band that I will listen too for forever
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Nirvana is the best band because of Smells like teen spirit lithium and come as you are
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Pretty good



If you're a litta wanksta liek mehself
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sandymcleod1 7
AWESOME BAND
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As a friend..... what could have been....
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Dave killed Kurt. He wanted to start his own crappy band. The only thing in his way was Kurt.
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beckyandjami e
We love you guys!! I miss you, Kurt
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tlandry043
This grunge music was just a fad. Kurt was jealous because Courtney Love was the talent behind the music .
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