10 things you never knew about Nevermind by Nirvana



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September 23, 2021, 16:52 | Updated: September 23, 2021, 5:22 PM

Nirvana in October 1990: Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic.

Photo: Hanne Jordan / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo


It’s been 30 years since Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl released their generation-defining album Nevermind. But what do you know about this classic record? Radio X has a few surprises in store for you …

Nirvana second album no matter released in America on Tuesday, September 24, 1991 (in Britain it sneaked into stores 24 hours earlier on Monday). The group’s first outing for the powerful Geffen label, it marked a change in the way alternative rock was marketed and accepted by the general public.

There were so many memories, anecdotes and myths on the album. Who was the baby on the blanket? What does “Smells like teen spirit” really mean? Radio X takes a look at the lesser known legends of Nirvana …

  1. Lots of songs on Nevermind were written about Kurt’s ex-girlfriend Tobi Vail

    Vail, who was in the Riot Grrl group Bikini kill, inspired the “Kurt Smells Like Teenage Spirit” graffiti because of the deodorant she used. She had seen Kurt Cobain for about six months, before ending their relationship in November 1990. Kurt was devastated and much of his pain ended up in Nevermind’s songs.

    Tobi Vail performs with Bikini Kill for the Rock for Choice concert at the Hollywood Palladium on April 30, 1993

    Tobi Vail performs with Bikini Kill for the Rock for Choice concert at the Hollywood Palladium on April 30, 1993.

    Photo: GettyLindsay Brice / Getty Images


    The B side of Smells Like Teen Spirit, AneurysmThe chorus of “I love you so much, it makes me sick” was addressed to Tobi, while Empty yourself was a description of their relationship. As Cobain told Musician magazine in January 1992, the lyrics “felt that emptiness of death that the person feels in the song: very lonely, sick.”

    According to Nirvana biographer Charles Cross, Nevermind could have had a “Girl” side and a “Boy” side; the “Boy” side would have been Kurt’s stories about the characters and his inner life, the “Girl” side would have been the songs about Tobi.

  2. A line in Lounge Act refers to Kurt’s tattoo

    One of Kurt’s acts intended to impress his girlfriend Tobi Vail was to get a tattoo on the K records logo on his arm, a label that came out of Olympia, Washington and included Bikini Kill, Chicks On Speed, Beat Happening, Modest Mouse and Shônen knife on their list.

    The K Records logo, which Kurt Cobain had tattooed on his forearm

    The K Records logo, which Kurt Cobain had tattooed on his forearm.

    Image: Press


    A line in Lounge Act refers to the tattoo: “I’ll stop, I’ll wear a shield / I’ll do my best to make a deal to you.”

  3. The original title of Breed was apparently “Imodium”

    Yes, one of the no matter tracks was a tribute to the diarrhea drug, used regularly by Tad doyle, frontman with another Sub-pop artists TAD.

    TAD, with singer Tad Doyle, in London, April 1991. The group toured the UK with Nirvana in 1989.

    TAD, with singer Tad Doyle, in London, April 1991. The group toured the UK with Nirvana in 1989.

    Photo: GettyMartyn Goodacre / Getty Images


  4. Nirvana recorded in the same studio as cult killer Charles Manson

    Part of Nevermind was recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California. The complex was opened in 1969 and soon after, it was here that Charles Manson recorded some of her demo songs – just months before Manson was at the center of the “Family” criminal insanity that saw the actress Sharon tate and others horribly murdered.

    Sect leader Chalres Manson arrived in court for murder in June 1970. The year before, he had posed songs at Sound City Studios.

    Sect leader Chalres Manson arrived in court for murder in June 1970. The year before, he had posed songs at Sound City Studios.

    Photo: Getty Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images


    Sound City was also visited by Guns N’Roses, Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer and Queens of the stone age. Dave Grohl was so impressed with one of the recording tables used at Sound City that he bought the thing and set it up in his own studio.

    Recording tools at Sound City Studios in December 1991, a few months after NIrvana finished Nevermind there.  The studio was renowned for being able to capture the perfect drum sound.

    Recording tools at Sound City Studios in December 1991, a few months after NIrvana finished Nevermind there. The studio was renowned for being able to capture the perfect drum sound.

    Photo: Lindsay Brice / Getty Images


  5. The title of the album could have been “Mouton”

    The original name of the LP was an ironic reference to music fans who followed fashion rather than their own instincts. One of Cobain’s diaries features a fake recording ad that says “Sheep: Because you don’t want to, because everyone is. ”Nirvana biographer Charles Cross adds that Krist Novoselic ‘The explanation was: “We thought we called him sheep because we were so cynical.”

    A fictional parody of what Nevermind might have looked like if the original title "Sheep" had not fallen out of favor with the group

    A fictional parody of what Nevermind might have looked like if the original track “Sheep” hadn’t fallen out of favor with the band.

    Image: Press


  6. The opening of Territorial P * ssings is Krist Novoselic singing an old hippie song

    “Come on, people are now smiling at your brother, everyone is gathering …”

    Originally recorded by folk act The Kingston trio in 1964, Young Bloods‘1966 cover of Meet was a hit in the United States and gained even more fame when it was used in a radio commercial for a religious organization. It has since become known as the “hippie national anthem”, which makes his appearance on one of Nirvana’s raucous songs all the more ironic.

  7. Smells Like Teen Spirit had several alternate lyrics

    In his book Heavier Than Heaven, Charles Cross states that Smells like Teen Spirit debuted live on April 17, 1991 at the OK Hotel in Seattle. The song went through a number of different drafts, which included the original line: “Here we are now, we are so famous / We are so stupid, and Vegas. “

    Other unused lyrics included the premonitory “The best day I have had is when tomorrow never came “ and “Who will be the king and queen of the teenage outcasts? “ – which apparently refers to Kurt and Tobi.

  8. The original idea for the album cover was too expensive

    Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl had watched a TV documentary about underwater births and suggested to the Geffen artistic director of the label Robert fisher they create a picture of a newborn baby swimming after a dollar bill.

    When Fisher investigated the idea, he found a few photos of an actual underwater birth, but not only was the imagery too “graphic” for Geffen’s liking, the company that owned the photos wanted $ 7,500 per. an for the label to use on the cover.

    Since Nevermind was considered a budget outing, this was way too much, so it turned out to be cheaper to have their own baby swimmer photoshoot. And the rest is history …

    The original vinyl edition of Nirvana's Nevermind

    The original vinyl edition of Nevermind from Nirvana.

    Photo: CBW / Alamy Stock Photo


  9. The day Nevermind came out, Nirvana performed in Boston

    The no matter The release party took place on Friday, September 13 at the Seattle Re-Bar (an event the band was kicked out of for their unruly behavior). However, on the day the album was actually available in US record stores, Nirvana performed at Axis Club in Boston, opening with their version of Petroleum jellyJesus doesn’t want me for a ray of sunshine and throw a blanket of The satisfaction of the Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) for good measure.

    The set also includes a lot of Nevermind gear – including Tin Spirit, drain yourself and Come as you are, but also Pouliot mint tea, which would later appear on the band’s third and final album In utero in 1993.

    It doesn't matter upside down;  displays dates for Nirvana's Australia tour in January 1992

    It doesn’t matter upside down; poster for Nirvana’s Australian tour dates in January 1992.

    Photo: Incubus / Alamy Stock Photo


  10. Nevermind’s original CD issue does not include the hidden Endless Nameless track

    One of the most famous of all “hidden tracks” albums, Endless without a name started life as a failed attempt to record the song Lithium. After Kurt collapsed and smashed his guitar, the resulting racquet was to appear at the very end of Nevermind’s CD edition – after ten minutes of silence after the “final” track Something In The Way.

    However, due to a record label error, Endless Nameless was left out of Nevermind’s first CD pressing, which led to Kurt calling the mastering engineer. Howie weinberg and asks, “Where the hell is the extra song?”

    Kurt Cobain in concert with Nirvana at the Roxy in LA, August 15, 1991

    Kurt Cobain in concert with Nirvana at the Roxy in LA, August 15, 1991.

    Photo: Kevin Estrada / Shutterstock


  11. The monkey on the back of the album cover is called Chim Chim

    Chim Chim was a cartoon monkey from japanese cartoon Speed ​​runner and a character who became Kurt Cobain’s personal mascot – he gave Courtney love a sticker representing the simian when they first met, which she put on her guitar case.

    A plastic Chim Chim toy appears on Nevermind’s back cover in front of a Cobain collage of raw meat, very much like wallet art. leprechaunsclassic album Doolittle. There must also be a photo of the group TO KISS in there too, but we still can’t see it.

    Nirvana's Nevermind album back cover

    The back cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind album.

    Image: Press



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