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Friday, 25 June 2010


Information from Wikipedia;

Nirvana was an American rock band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990.
The band established itself as part of the
Seattle music scene, releasing its first album Bleach for the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989. After signing to major label DGC Records, Nirvana found unexpected success with "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the band's lead single from its second album Nevermind (1991). Subsequently, Nirvana entered into the mainstream, bringing along with it a subgenre of alternative rock called grunge. As Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain found himself referred to in the media as the "spokesman of a generation," with Nirvana being considered the "flagship band" of Generation X.[1] Cobain was uncomfortable with the attention and placed his focus on the band's music, believing the band's message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, challenging the band's audience with its third studio album In Utero (1993).
Nirvana's brief run ended following
the death of Cobain in 1994, but the band's influence and popularity endured in the years that followed. In 2002, "You Know You're Right," an unfinished demo from the band's final recording session, topped radio playlists around the world. Since their debut, the band has sold over twenty-five million albums in the US alone, and over fifty million worldwide.[2][3]

This is just a brief summary of the band's history from the internet but after having read one of Kurt Cobain's biography's I know a lot more about the band and how their amazing popularity and success eventually led to Kurt Cobain's downfall.

The band were among the first of it's kind when they first began and their career didn't take off easily, as they had many failed performances and numerous bad events that hindered their success. Kurt Cobain was very troubled anyway for many reasons and had experienced rejection in his life from so many people including his family, so the added rejection from potential crowds was always a huge knockback to Kurt and this had a domino effect on his band mates as they struggled to keep up with his drastic mood swings. This led to many changes in the band members because even though he was sometimes extremely introverted he also was very particular about his music and how it should be played.

Many factors effected Nirvana's success, mainly coming from Kurt Cobain's insecurities which were reinforced by many things and people throughout his life. However, when they finally got the credit they deserved for their groundbreaking music and their fanbase grew they had a lot of respect in the grunge/metal world and they were extremely popular. This popularity was one of the things that had a negative effect on Kurt Cobain as he felt that people had got the wrong idea about his music and just when they really started to become successful he tragically died. There is question over whether he commited suicide or was murdered but the most likely seems to be that he commited suicide. He went missing for a few days and was found dead in his garage with a shotgun and a joint. The story that most people believe is that he had one last joint before he ended his life (he had attempted suicide many times in his life previously but never succeeded).

Nirvana fans went into mourning for a long time as it was felt that a great musical genius' life had been ended too soon and that he could have brought so much more to the world of music. Many conspiracy theories have emerged since his death such as the idea thatCourtney Love (his wife/mother to his child) had murdered him as they often had very aggressive fights and the police were often called to their home.

However, Nirvana as a band still contributed significantly to the world of music whilst they were still together as they were so completely different from any pre-existing bands. They started a new wave of musical creativity and they sung about issues that were significant to them and they were not afraid of being controversial; in fact it could be said that Nirvana was the band that paved the way for other bands to really send a message with their music and music videos rather than just to sing a song to get the most plays on the radio etc. For example, the video for their song Heart Shaped Box is extremely controversial and was typical of Kurt Cobain's radical ideas that were never fully explained to the public. Also the cover for their album Nevermind was very controversial because of the baby on the front;

Nirvana were a band that left you wondering what meanings they were trying to convey through their music or whether they had any true meanings in the first place...


Studio albums
Bleach (1989)
Nevermind (1991)
In Utero (1993)

Compilation albums
Incesticide (1992)
Nirvana (best of album) (2002)
With the Lights Out (rareities box set) (2004)
Sliver: The Best of the Box (2005)


The band received several awards and nominations in their debut year in 1992, including nominations for Favorite New Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist from the American Music Awards, Best Alternative Music Performance for Nevermind from the Grammy Awards, and Video of the Year and Viewer's Choice for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from the MTV Video Music Awards. They received the Best Alternative Video award for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Best New Artist from the MTV Video Music Awards in the same year. The song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was also nominated for Best Rock Song at the 1993 Grammy Awards, but it lost to "Layla" by Eric Clapton. Clapton's win over Nirvana would later be named one of the "10 biggest upsets" in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly.[55] After receiving five nominations from the Grammy Awards without winning any of them, the band finally received the Best Alternative Music Performance award for MTV Unplugged in New York in 1996. Overall, Nirvana has received nine awards from twenty-two nominations.
American Music Awards
American Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony created by Dick Clark in 1973.[56
Here is an interview of Nirvana discussing their thoughts on MTV and awards, etc. and this emphasizes their controversial/anti-establishment attitude and how misunderstood they felt as a band. Perhaps this was part of their appeal to a young audience because they felt misunderstood too.

They did many live tours and were an extremely successful band up until Cobain's death in 1994 and the two remaining members of the band went on to be successful musically without him but Nirvana was never reinvented after his death. Dave Grohl (drummer) went on to be the lead singer of popular band Foo Fighters and Krist Novoselic went on to be part of many different popular bands.

Nirvana's live shows were notorious for being slightly mental, purely because of their unpredictable antics. There are numerous accounts of Cobain's ridiculous acts on stage such as coming onstage in a straight jacket and smashing up his guitars, etc.

Nirvana are one of my favourite bands of all time and I have a lot of respect for what they achieved musically and how much they influenced rock music. It is interesting to see that the band's popularity increased further after Cobain's death and this seems to be what is happening recently with new bands. For example, in this year alone, three influencial musicians have passed away and have therefore increased the popularity of the band.

It took a lot to get Nirvana to where they were as Kurt Cobain even was forced to work as a caretaker in the school he got kicked out of in order to earn some money for the recording studio (this is why Cobain chose to have lots of blatant shots of a caretaker in their famous video for Smells Like Teen Spirit)

After researching into Nirvana's history - successes and failures - it seems to me that Nirvana could be placed in the category of one of the most influencial and unique bands that the rock genre has ever seen. By being so completely controversial they managed to start off a whole new genre within a genre. Also, their story as a band (Kurt's death, etc.) gave them as much popularity as their music did. Perhaps it is just because I love their music that I am bias, but it seems to me that it was an unbeliavably tragic shame to lose such a talented and unique musician and fans almost feel an obligation to make sure that people know about Nirvana in order to keep their music alive.
Here is the news report that broke the news of Kurt Cobain's death;