4 of the Best Cover Songs Nirvana Has Ever Performed

Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain was one of the most beloved songwriters in 1990s rock music. The band’s original music is timelessly brilliant, but they’ve also performed a few killer covers of other artists’ songs throughout their short but meaningful career. Let’s look at some of the best cover songs Nirvana has ever performed; most of which were performed live at some point.

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1. “Lake Of Fire” by Meat Puppets

Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set was legendary. It’s still incredible to watch and listen to today. One of the smartest choices the band made during that performance was to bring out their cover of Meat Puppets’ “Lake Of Fire”. According to some age-old rumors, the network was trying to get the band to whip out someone from Pearl Jam or another mainstream hitmaker. Instead, Nirvana brought Curt and Cris Kirkwood from Meat Puppets out for a cover-slash-collaboration live on stage.

2. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” by Lead Belly

Another stunning cover from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” bore all of the emotion you’d expect from a vocalist like Cobain, without losing the original energy of the Lead Belly track. Still, Cobain’s version is heartwrenching to hear, and it was fitting that they made it the last song of their Unplugged set.

3. “Molly’s Lips” by The Vaselines

This upbeat cover of a Vaselines song is a deep cut loved by many Nirvana fans. The band also covered “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam”, which is quite a bit more emotional than “Molly’s Lips”. Still, the latter is a particularly fun remix on a twee/indie pop classic, made different with Nirvana’s cranked-up distortion and grungey sound.

4. “And I Love Her” by The Beatles

This is probably the most well-known song that Nirvana ever covered. But The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” sounds virtually nothing like Cobain’s version whatsoever. The OG “And I Love Her” is a soft 1960s boy band ballad, while Cobain’s version is a stripped-down, almost folky and ghostly version of the original song. It’s comparable to “Something In The Way”, which is essential listening, by the way.

Photo by Frank Micelotta

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