History of Nirvana

Monday, August 1, 2022

Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and best-known being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture.

Nirvana was initially influenced by punk rock bands like the Melvins and Mudhoney, as well as 1980s alternative bands such as Sonic Youth. After signing to major label DGC Records in 1991, Nirvana found unexpected success with "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the first single from their second album Nevermind (1991). The song's popularity brought increased mainstream attention to Nirvana and alternative rock in general. Nevermind was a critical and commercial success; it became the first album by an alternative rock band to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled "the flagship band" of Generation X, and Cobain found himself reluctantly anointed the generation's "spokesman". Cobain resented this, believing his message and artistic vision had been misinterpreted by the public, and media attention exacerbated his discomfort. In 1992 and 1993, Nirvana released the singles "Come As You Are", "Lithium", and "Heart-Shaped Box" from their third album In Utero (1993), which challenged both grunge's mainstream success and Cobain's uncomfortably high level of celebrity. These singles were followed by a greater critical and commercial backlash against Nirvana; In Utero would be the band's last studio album before Cobain's death.

On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle at the age of 27; police determined that he had died three days prior on April 5. The circumstances surrounding his death remain controversial. Since their debut album Bleach was released on June 15, 1989, Nirvana has sold over 25 million albums in the United States alone, and over 75 million albums worldwide.

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