Kurt Cobain would have turned 46 today, but nearly two decades on from the death of the Nirvana frontman; his and his band’s impact on the music scene can still be massively felt.
Cobain’s untimely death may have secured him the status of a musical deity that many lay at his feet, but it was his work with Nirvana that made the world fall in love with him in the first place and music world sit up and take notice of a wave that nearly consumed them all.
While Bleach had gotten Nirvana a following and secured them a major label record deal, it was still not enough to make Nirvana anything much more than a cult hit band. However, it was enough to show the world how skilled a song writer Cobain was, who despite always saying that the lyrics came after the melodies was still able to produce incredibly powerful rhymes.
Nevermind came out of nowhere. No one expected the album to become a worldwide smash hit, even the band wee massively taken back by the sensation their record had created, all fuelled by the utterly brilliant Smells Like Teen Spirit, a song that hit the music scene with all the destructive force of a cruise missile.
It may still be the single greatest entrance track to any album out there, with Smells Like Teen Spirit destroying every thought in your little head from the very first to the last note. Thankfully, the rest of Nevermind lives up to the incredible intro, with the shredding guitars and Cobain’s incredible vocal giving the album an incredible power over the senses.
It showed that music didn’t have to be mass produced and fit into traditional radio-friendly norms to be friendly. In fact, it changed what those norms were completely. Smells Like Teen Spirit became the rallying cry for the MTV Generation, a call to arms that saw million pick up their guitars and start to really let rip. To this date, Nevermind is one of the highest selling albums of all time, having shipped over 30 million copies worldwide and cementing its place amongst the pantheon of great albums.
Nevermind not only stands one of the best albums of the nineties, but also as the album that defined a generation like no other record did that decade. Without this album, there would be no Green Day. There would be no Foo Fighters. There would be no Fall Out Boy, Audioslave or Alanis Morissette.
Nirvana may have only dominated the musical world for the next two years before Cobain tragically ended his own life, but the ripples they made will last forever in the world of music.