Today the music lovers of the world reflect upon the memory of Kurt Cobain who died twenty years ago today as the result of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. He was 27 years old at the time.
Historically speaking Cobain was best known as being the primary creative force in the band Nirvana where he was not only the singer but also the guitarist and principle songwriter. The band also featured Krist Novoselic on bass and Dave Grohl on drums. The band was viewed as leaders of the Seattle Sound music scene and for many fans of this time period had set the ball in motion with their debut album “Bleach”. The group and Cobains music would explode to tremendous proportions with the release of “Nevermind”, an album that was received with incredible accolades.
Despite the successes of his song-writing Cobain was a troubled individual and for the last few years of his life was struggling with various illnesses, depression and of course heroin addiction. He was never really comfortable with being a success in the music business nor did he seem to like being such a public face and yet despite this his music spoke to the generation and made a big difference in many, many lives. He was married to musician Courtney Love and is the father of Frances Bean Cobain. Although the news of his suicide reached the world on April 8th, the coroners report stated that he had been dead for at least three days which makes today the sad anniversary. As I think back on Cobain and the music of Nirvana I recall that it was on my friend Rebel’s radio program that I first heard of them. He had a Metal radio show but would periodically make room for interesting Heavy Rock releases such as this. I remembered that it was “Nevermind” that was the album he first keyed my interest in and I would explore “Bleach” later on my own. When the news of Cobain’s death was making its way around the airwaves (there was not the Internet we have today to broadcast such things on back in 1994) it was one of the managers that told me. He had a radio on in his office and said “Hey Ken, that guy from Nirvana was found dead today”. As a fan for a couple of years already and someone who had turned on the people in his own circle to their sound, my head grew heavy and my heart cold for a few minutes while I realized this news had just been shared with me. What a shame.
According to the bands Wikipedia entry, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, have sold over 25 million albums in the US, and over 75 million worldwide. That is certainly a commendable amount of albums. Below are links to Nirvana’s releases for your purchasing pleasure in the event that you might still need them. It was truly an interesting time in music and his was a tragic loss for many. Feel free to leave your own reflections on Cobain and how his music affected you as a fan in the comments which have been left open.