KURT COBAIN – 50 years old Today, Born 20th February 1967

Posted: February 20, 2017 in MUSIC
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Kurt Cobain, lead singer for the US grunge rockers Nirvana, performing at the Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo during their 1992 Asian-Pacific tour

Kurt Cobain would have turned 50 today. The Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who defined grunge and the rise of alternative rock, would have turned 50 on this Monday. He remains an enduring cultural presence

The 27-year-old shot himself at his home in Seattle on April 5th, 1994, ending his life, his suffering and, at least symbolically, the grunge movement. Rock has kept evolving since his suicide yet “Nevermind,” Nirvana’s brutal 1991 masterpiece, is still widely considered as one of the most influential albums in history.

“He remains one of the most important musicians of the last two decades in music, with an album that is still one of the last great rock records,” said Charles R. Cross, who has written three books on the artist including “Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain.”

To Cross, Cobain’s key contribution is opening the way for songwriters to tackle a wider emotional range. Nirvana’s songs included “Lithium,” a frank exploration of Cobain’s manic depression, and the searing “Rape Me.” “His impact on songwriting was that he made it okay for songs to be about painful emotions, such as angst, and depression.

There has been a lot – okay, way too much – written about every element of Cobain’s life, but still his songwriting tends to be underrated, obscured by myth and flannelette. To celebrate his life, here are five of his very best songs,  of which never made it onto an official studio album – or even onto their B-sides and rarities collection, Incesticide.

It’s an impressive, varied collection, and proof of the quality of his songwriting .

CLEAN UP BEFORE SHE COMES A moody song with layered round-style vocals about attempting to make a shithole slightly more bearable in an attempt to impress a visiting girl. A tale as old as time!

I HATE MYSELF AND I WANT TO DIE, This was originally the title of In Utero until a record company suit vetoed it, perhaps realising there’s a limit to how widely an album with that name will be stocked. This surprisingly sunny pop song ended up as a hidden track on the Beavis and Butthead Experience soundtrack, and was slated to appear as the ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ B-side, before this was shelved following Cobain’s suicide.

MOIST VAGINA, Another song with a less-than-ideal title for the suits at Geffen. This was the B-side for ‘All Apologies’ and features a chorus where Kurt wails the word ‘marijuana’ over and over.

SAPPY,  It’s hard to see why this classic, hooky pop song was left off Nevermind, unless it was simply too catchy to fit comfortably on an album already teeming with pop hits. One of Cobain’s very best songs.

CURMUDGEON, A screaming, squawking song that is the polar opposite to its A-side ‘Lithium’. One of Cobain’s more raw vocals, and a pointer to In Utero.

MARIGOLD , The only Dave Grohl-penned track to feature in the Nirvana catalogue, and also the only song in which he sang lead vocals. This could be seen as the moment where Foo Fighters started (although he recorded the Pocketwatch demo tape the previous year). When Grohl re-recorded the track in 2006 for the “Skin and Bones” album, it became the only song to feature in both band’s catalogues.

thanks to Tone Deaf

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