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#ThrowbackThursday: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” From Nevermind DGC Records

by Sean Smith

This past Monday HBO aired a new documentary about Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. The rock doc was directed by Brett Morgen and is titled Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Co-produced by HBO Documentary Films and Universal Pictures, Montage of Heck takes a deep and personal look into the life of the late Kurt Cobain through the examination of Kurt’s artwork, interviews with those that knew him well, and even some home video footage.

There have been a number of documentaries over the years that have aimed to explore the troubled life of the Nirvana frontman, but this new film may just give fans the best window into the mindset of Cobain to date. The film delves into the singer’s troubled childhood as well as his struggles with drug addiction and battles with depression during his shortened lifetime. Kurt Cobain committed suicide on April 5, 1994. He was just 27 years young.

Cobain and Nirvana first achieved mainstream success with their second studio album Nevermind, released in September of 1991. The album served not only to break Nirvana into popular music, but by January of 1992 Nevermind had climbed all the way to the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart. In the years since its release, the album has been certified Diamond by the RIAA, shipping 10 million records. The album is also credited by many, as being one of the albums responsible for ushering alternative rock music into the mainstream..

Much of the initial sales success of Nevermind can be attributed to the success of the lead single from the album “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The song soon became a huge popular hit when it was adopted by a younger audience who took it on as an apathetic anthem of sorts. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” would top the Billboard Alternative songs chart as well as reach as high as the number six spot on the more pop centered Billboard Hot 100 chart. Another reason for the success of the song can be attributed to the video the band shot for it, which would later go into heavy rotation on MTV. The video begins by showing the band playing in a high school gym as uninterested teenagers look on. As the song progresses, and gets louder, the teenagers start a mosh pit and eventually begin to break stuff.

In light of the new documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck airing earlier this week on HBO, today we take a moment to remember Cobain’s Nirvana, and their first hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Enjoy.


“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

From: Nevermind

DGC Records 

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
HBO Documentary Films/Universal Pictures