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Exactly 19 years ago, one of rock’s most legendary icons took his own life. Kurt Cobain’s fateful decision left a void, not only in his family and band, but in the hearts of all of his fans; yet the gravity of his absence should attest to how loved he truly was, as an inspiration to many.
At the peak of his career in January 1994, Cobain told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview that he originally, “never wanted to sing…I just wanted to play rhythm guitar – hide in the back and just play.”
After meeting bassist Krist Novoselic through Novoselic’s younger brother, however, Cobain’s latent talents started emerging, culminating in the branding of the group called Nirvana, which later added future Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, on drums.
Cobain recalled during the Rolling Stone interview that, “’Teen Spirit’ was such a clichéd riff. It was so close to a Boston riff or "Louie, Louie." When I came up with the guitar part, Krist [Novoselic] looked at me and said, ‘That is so ridiculous.’ I made the band play it for an hour and a half.’”
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" went on to become the band’s most recognizable single, peaking at #6 in 1991 on the Billboard Hot 100, and to date, the music video has drawn over 100 million YouTube hits.
In 1992, Cobain married the lead singer of Hole, Courtney Love. She would give birth to the couple’s daughter, Frances Bean, later that same year. Though they loved each other, Cobain and Love’s relationship was famously tumultuous, and both fueled the other’s tendency for drug abuse.
Though it seemed like his career was only beginning, Cobain’s personal demons would prove to be too much, and he ended his life at the young age of 27, becoming an unfortunate member of the “27 Club.”
Grohl and Novoselic haven’t played a Nirvana song to date in honor of their late frontman, yet Cobain’s legacy perseveres. If not through the continuing devotion of his family, friends, and fans, then through the vocals that continue to evoke his raw emotions and the unrelenting grit of the riffs through which he pioneered a new genre of rock.
Rest in Peace, Kurt Cobain. You are truly missed.
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