26 years ago today the world lost grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain
Kurt Donald Cobain, born February 20, 1967, Aberdeen, Washington died April 5, 1994 in Seattle, Washington. Yet another tragic member of the 27 Club. He was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the grunge rock band Nirvana. Regarded as a Generation X icon, he is considered to be one of the most iconic and influential rock musicians in the history of alternative music.
He died by suicide on April 5, 1994. His body was discovered inside his home in Seattle, Washington, three days later by Gary Smith, an electrician, who was installing a security system in the suburban house. Despite indications that Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, killed himself, several skeptics questioned the circumstances of his death and pinned responsibility on his wife, Courtney Love.
The Nirvana rocker was in a downward spiral that led to his death. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s close friend, Mark Lanegan, hadn’t heard from the rocker for about a week in April 1994 when he began to fear the worst. “Kurt hadn’t called me,” he told Rolling Stone later that year. “He hadn’t called some other people. He hadn’t called his family. He hadn’t called anybody… I had a feeling that something real bad had happened.”
Lanegan’s intuition proved to be correct. On the morning of April 8, an electrician found 27-year-old Cobain dead of an apparent suicide in a greenhouse above the garage of his Seattle home. According to Rolling Stone, a 20-gauge shotgun was lying across his chest, and, as a medical examiner’s report later revealed, Cobain, who had already been dead two and a half days at that point, had a high concentration of heroin and traces of Valium in his bloodstream. The magazine also reported that he was identifiable only by his fingerprints.
During his life, Kurt Cobain was a pioneer for grunge and rock music with his band Nirvana. To celebrate the life he lived, we picked out five Nirvana tracks.
5. ‘Drain You’
“Drain You” was famously written on the spot at Sound City Studios during the Nevermind recording sessions. Cobain never revealed who inspired the love song, but it was written just three months after he met Courtney Love.
4. ‘Come As You Are’
Thanks to radio play, this song as the second single from Nevermind helped launch Nirvana from a popular band into a massive global success.
3. ‘Heart-Shaped Box’
This song still sounds incredible and genre-defying to this day. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Courtney Love recalled hearing Kurt work on ‘Heart-Shaped Box.’ “We had this huge closet,” she said. “And I heard him in there working on ‘Heart-Shaped Box.’ He did that in five minutes. Knock, knock, knock. ‘What?’ ‘Do you need that riff?’ ‘Fuck you!’ Slam. [Laughs] He was trying to be so sneaky. I could hear that one from downstairs.”
2. ‘All Apologies’
These days it’s hard to hear this song as anything but a suicide note. “I wish I was like you,” he sings to his huge global audience. “Easily amused.” It ends with him repeating the line “all in all is all we are” 13 times.
1. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
Look, you’re not cool for pretending to not like this song. Leaving it off this list would just be offensive. Despite its popularity, however, Kurt Cobain was not a fan. “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song,” Cobain told Rolling Stone in 1993. “I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies . . . It was such a clichéd riff.”