Five Little-Known Facts About Kurt Cobain

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Videos by American Songwriter

The lead singer and frontman of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, was known for his angst-fueled songwriting and anti-establishment persona. He was one of the biggest rockstars of the ’90s and is considered one of the most influential musicians in the history of alternative rock.

Dressed in flannel and occasionally the iconic oval sunglasses, Cobain and Nirvana made grunge a mass movement in the city of Seattle with the release of Nevermind in 1991. A year later, Cobain embarked on the love story of the century with Hole lead singer, Courtney Love. They married shortly after and in 1994 Cobain took his life, causing the tragedy to ripple throughout the world. With all of that being said, or written in this case, what is left to discover about the grunge rock icon?

Read below for a few little-known facts about Kurt Cobain.

1. Cobain hated playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

When you think of ’90s grunge rock, you think of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” But, Kurt Cobain didn’t want to linger on the first hit. He wanted more of what was to come and got sick of the song when it blew up. The intention behind “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Cobain said, was to make a hugely successful record and to rip off the Pixies. He often would refuse to play the smash-hit live and when he would, he would intentionally butcher it.

2. He didn’t like the Grateful Dead

Cobain would often sport a shirt with a duck wearing a “punk’s not dead” shirt and the words “Kill the Grateful Dead” on it. On the topic of the Dead’s shirts, Cobain said, “I wouldn’t wear a tie-dyed tee-shirt unless it was dyed with the urine of Phil Collins and the blood of Jerry Garcia.”

3. When Cobain saw himself on TV for the first time, he called his mother.

The music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” premiered on September 29, 1991, on MTV’s alternative music show 120 Minutes. Cobain watched the video from The Roger Smith Hotel in New York City and picked up the phone to tell her that he was on TV.

4. Bob Dylan admired the prince of punk

Nirvana’s song “Polly” has an extremely tough story to it and a true one too. When Bob Dylan heard them play “Polly,” he said about Cobain, “The kid has heart.” By the time of his death, Cobain became the voice of Generation X and was considered the most influential musician since Bob Dylan.

5. Cobain came up with his daughter’s middle name “Bean”

Frances Bean Cobain is the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Cobain passed when Frances was just 20 months old. But, when she was born she was named Frances after Frances McKee of The Vaselines. She got her middle name Bean because Cobain thought she looked like a kidney bean on the ultrasound.

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