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Nevermind Changed Seattle. Then It 'Shook the World'

Kurt Cobain widow Courtney Love, Dave Grohl, others mark 30th anniversary of Nirvana's hit album
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2021 11:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – It was the album that helped catapult grunge and the Seattle music scene onto the national stage. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, the band's second studio album, frontman Kurt Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, talks to the Los Angeles Times and admits she's rarely talked about the smash album and probably never will again. She says if she'd had her druthers, she wouldn't have made "Smells Like Teen Spirit" the breakout single, but "In Bloom," which she says was a better song, and which would've slowed "Nirvana's dizzying fame, and that of ... Cobain," per the Times. "Life would have turned out simpler and better had I been heard" by Cobain, drummer Dave Grohl, and bassist Krist Novoselic, she says. More swirling around the internet on the 30th anniversary:

  • On Cobain: Love, a singer-songwriter who's mom to 29-year-old Frances Bean, whom she shares with Cobain, says her late husband would've been "happy" to know Nevermind is still a hot topic, though she adds that he put on a bit of a show in seeming to hate all the attention it brought. "Here was a man who liked pleasure, who enjoyed things, and yet he wasn't supposed to," Love says. Meanwhile, she adds that "it's taken me a couple of decades to realize that not only am I not as good a songwriter as Kurt, but nobody is." Much more from Love here.
  • 'That magic moment': Writing for the Seattle Times, Charles Cross dives into how Nirvana and Nevermind forever altered Washington state's biggest city, writing that the album's release "represents a moment in time when everything about Seattle culture changed." Cross notes that he still hears "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the radio almost as much as he did in 1991.
  • It 'shook the world': That's how Arwa Haider describes Nevermind for the BBC, writing that the album, which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, offered "a subversive outlet" for music listeners who stretched from the US to as far as Brazil, Poland, and Japan.
  • The making of the album: Like Love, Butch Vig, the drummer for Garbage and producer of Nevermind, hasn't talked much about putting together the album, but he's opening up now. "Nirvana may have come across as punk slackers, but that's definitely not who they were," Vig tells Yahoo of their work ethic. Still, "at that point I could never see them becoming these huge rock stars. There was no way to know something like that could even happen."
  • Another big underestimation: Grohl remembers that when they were recording the album, "nobody really paid too much attention to 'Teen Spirit,'" per NME. "We just thought it was another cool song for the record."
  • Baby blues: One person who's probably not celebrating: Spencer Elden, the now-30-year-old who was photographed as a naked 4-month-old for the cover of Nevermind. He's already filed a complaint over the cover, claiming it's child porn. Now he's demanding the band not use his photo on any future covers, including for the anniversary editions, per TMZ.
  • A reissue: Pitchfork reports that Geffen and UMe will be releasing standard and "Super Deluxe" reissues of Nevermind, complete with remastered songs, full concert videos, and more. The reissues are due out Nov. 12.
  • Smells like it's Friday: Head into the weekend with a listen to the most famous song from Nirvana's Nevermind, still a head-banger 30 years later. Heck, here's "In Bloom," too. You're welcome, Courtney.
(Read more Nirvana stories.)

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