Kurt Cobain was influenced by The Beatles at an early age. His aunt recalled that he used to sing ‘Hey Jude’ at the age of two. In 1993, Cobain said, “My aunts would give me Beatles records…so for the most part I listened to the Beatles as a child, and if I was lucky, I’d be able to buy a single.”
Kurt’s girlfriend of the time Tracy Marander grew frustrated having to support him financially and unsuccessfully tried to force him to get a job. It wasn’t until after his death that she found out he had written the song ‘About A Girl’ about her. Marander is also said to have taken the picture on the cover of Nirvana’s album ‘Bleach’.
The title ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ stems from a conversation Kurt had with his friend Kathleen Hanna. She spray-painted “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his apartment wall (Teen Spirit being the deodorant brand his then-girlfriend wore). He thought she meant something more revolutionary than that, though…
Music – Sweet 75
Kurt Cobain first met bassist Krist Novoselic in high school, but they didn’t become friends until they regularly ran into each other at the Melvins’ practice space. Kurt wanted to start a band with Krist and gave him the demo for his band Fecal Matter. It took three years after they met for Krist to listen to the demo and agree to form a band.
Credit: PA Photos
It wasn’t until September 1990 the two were introduced to Dave Grohl (who was looking for a new band following the break up of his band Scream). They were introduced to the drummer by the Melvins’ Buzz Osborne. Krist later said of Grohl’s audition, “We knew in two minutes that he was the right drummer”.
In March 1992, Kurt Cobain decided that he wanted a larger share of royalties, since he was more involved in writing Nirvana’s music than Kris and Dave were. His bandmates were fine with the decision, until Kurt said that he wanted to apply it retroactively to ‘Nevermind’. Although it caused tension in the band, he earned a 75 percent share of royalties.
Nirvana recorded their third album ‘In Utero’ with Steve Albini. The recording process only took two weeks and cost a mere $25,000. However, they ended up having to bring in R.E.M. producer Scott Litt to help remix ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and ‘All Apologies’ (which didn’t sound “perfect”, according to Kurt), with added instrumentation and backing vocals.
When the band appeared on Headbanger’s Ball, Kurt Cobain wore a yellow ballgown because, as he said, “It’s a headbanger’s ball so I thought I’d wear a gown. (You can watch the interview here).
Nirvana’s live album, ‘From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah’, was released in 1996 and was the band’s third release in a row to debut at the top of the Billboard album chart. It had initially been scheduled for release in November 1994, but Krist and Dave didn’t want to schedule it too close to Kurt’s death.
In 2006, Kurt’s daughter Frances Bean was photographed for Elle magazine in her dad’s brown cardigan and those pajama pants. “I wore his pajamas because he got married in them to my mom in 1992 in Hawaii so I thought they would be cute if I wore them today,” she said. “He was too lazy to put on a tux so he got married in pajamas!”
In 1992, Courtney Love apparently admitted to Vanity Fair that she used heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean, as she didn’t know she was pregnant at the time. She’s since said that she was misquoted. However, the couple nearly lost custody of their daughter due to their constant drug usage.
In 1992, the band teamed up with the Washington Music Industry Coalition, actively campaigning against a proposed bill in Washington that sought to declare certain albums “erotic” based on their content (making it illegal to sell them to people under 18). They also played a benefit show for the coalition.
The three-month-old baby on the ‘Nevermind’ cover was Spencer Elden, the son of the photographer’s friend. Geffen wanted to use an alternate cover, as they thought the nudity would offend people, but Kurt would only agree to covering the area with a sticker that said, “If you’re offended by this, you must be a closet paedophile.”