Remembering legendary Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain

Vincent Barreras

This past Feb. 20 would have been the 50th birthday of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. While he may have passed away at the early age of 27, he left behind a plethora of material; both musical and journalistic.

Kurt Donald Cobain was born on Feb.20, 1967 in Aberdeen Washington. From an early age, Cobain became increasingly interested in music and art. In fact, the first musical instrument he had was a drum set.

Kurt grew up in an emotionally abusive and tough nosed community, which will become the basis for his later adult ideological perspective of society, and how men and women are perceived by the conscious group of American society.

Feeling out casted, Cobain gravitated towards the guitar and drug experimentation. As he grew older he befriended Buzz Osbourne, a member of the local Aberdeen band “The Melvin’s.” It was at this time Cobain’s life changed, as he was introduced to the world of punk rock, and bands such as: The Clash, the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Bad Brains, and most notably, Iggy Pop.

Cobain’s first band, “Fecal Matter,” was started in 1985. Later, Kurt would hook up with bassist Krist Novoselic, and many other drummers before Chad Channing joined, and thus, Nirvana was formed. Nirvana signed to Sub Pop Records and released Bleach in 1989, which costed only $600 to produce.

In 1991, Nirvana, along with newly added drummer Dave Grohl, jumped to a major record label, Geffen Records, and released “Nevermind.” Their single “Smells like Teen Spirit” propelled them atop the charts into superstardom.

This was the beginning of the end for Cobain, as he became addicted to heroin around this time. Around the same time, Cobain met Courtney Love. The two eventually got married and welcomed a daughter, Francis Bean. The couple were a modern-day Sid and Nancy, as they both feed into each other’s heroine addition.

In 1993, Nirvana released “In Utero,” which would prove to be their last LP. In it, Cobain opened up more about people, the music establishment, and the anonymous persona he would like to keep rather than being labeled a “rock star.”

Guitar player magazine described the album as having, “a startling level of anger, energy, and jaded intelligence.”

One of their most notable shows was MTV’s Unplugged in New York, which Cobain played during one of the most vulnerable moments in his life. Kurt would later spiral out of control when on March 4, 1994 he attempted suicide by overdosing on prescription medication.

He was in a coma, due to the overdose.

Cobain eventually checked into a rehab center but left after a few days. On April 5, 1994, a day which shocked the music world forever, Kurt Cobain committed suicide in his Seattle home.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were some of the most influential pieces of musical genius this world has ever seen. Kurt’s overall ability to dominate the stage, his simplicity, and his passion were unmatched. His journals, which have since been published, are an intense look into his mind where he states his political beliefs and challenges social expectations society places on the individual. Truly, ahead of his time thinking. In my opinion the greatest musician of all time.

His legacy lives on in his music and his journals.

In response to a list I saw on an article covering his recent birthday, I’ve conducted my own top 10 Nirvana songs:

  1. “Come as You Are” (1991)
  2. “Aneurysm” (1992)
  3. “Territorial Pissings” (1991)
  4. “On A Plain” (1991)
  5. “Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” (1993)
  6. “Sliver” (1992)
  7. “Breed” (1991)
  8. “Floyd the Barber” (1989)
  9. “Paper Cuts” (1989)
  10. “Milk It” (1993)