Happy birthday Nevermind.
You’re twenty years old!
You changed the landscape of rock.
You ushered in Grunge.
You made flannel trendy.
You launched a musical genius.
And a short time later saw his demise.
Nirvana – A brief spark in the music timeline.
You were an unlikely success.
This is your story.
“That’s what music is—entertainment.
The more you put yourself into it,
the more of you comes out in it.”
– Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic met while attending Aberdeen High School in Washington. They didn’t connect musically until sometime later after Novoselic listened to a demo tape Cobain gave him of his Fecal Matter project. They got together to form a group and over the next couple of years the rotation in the drummer’s chair was constant. Finally Dave Grohl, formally of the hardcore punk band Scream took his place at drums just before the Nevermind sessions. Nirvana was a band.
Before moving any farther I have to add, I never got on the Nirvana bus. The music was okay but I was not convinced the band worthy of the attention and certainly the atmospheric sales of Nevermind. Since their debut, Nirvana has sold over 25 million albums in the US, and over 50 million worldwide. My tastes don’t always follow the crowd so on the juke box of life my opinion doesn’t mean squat.
Nirvana’s first release was 1989’s Bleach, recorded at Reciprocal studios in Seattle, Washington between December 1988 and January 1989. When first released it saw modest sales in the 40,000 units range based mostly on the strength of independent college radio airplay.
Expressing dissatisfaction with their label, Nirvana began shopping around for a new production group and finally signed with DGC Records in 1990. They immediately went to work on the Nevermind project with talented producer/mixer Butch Vig.
Since release Nevermind has gone triple diamond selling over 30 million copies worldwide.
To say Nevermind was a phenomenon is like saying The Beatles was just a band.
“We didn’t do anything. It was just one of those
‘Get out of the way and duck’ records.”
– Geffen president Ed Rosenblatt to the New York Times
The band’s next release In Utero which included the singles Heart-Shaped Box and All Apologies deputed in September of 1993. It released at number one on the billboard shart. Although very successful on its own was no Nevermind.
Early in 1994 the band rolled out of town for a European tour and immediately after Cobain’s inner circle grew increasingly worried about his state of mind. At the stop in Rome, Cobain’s wife Courtney Love found her husband unconscious in their hotel room.
The rest of the tour was canceled and shortly after friends and family sprung an intervention on Cobain and he was convinced to enter a treatment program for Heroin addiction. Within the first week he climbed the wall of the facility and returned to Seattle. A week later, Friday, April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head in his Seattle home. Like Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison, Kurt Cobain was 27 years old.
“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
– Neil Young
written on Cobain’s suicide note
Happy Birthday, Nevermind.