To say that Smells Like Teen Spirit blew me away when I first heard it would be a gross understatement. The opening guitar rifts went straight from my ears to my stomach, actually causing me physical discomfort. I could barely understand the words, but one snippet latched itself onto my brain: oh well, whatever, nevermind. This song, by a band I had never heard of, spoke to me, to my life, and I knew at that moment that music would never be the same again.
This past weekend marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind, an album that ranks 17 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. A quick search on Google will give you numerous articles and websites that have covered the news. Better writers than I have analyzed the album, given us the inside scoop on its creation, examined the band’s influence on rock, detailed the birth of grunge and alternative rock, and have interviewed the remaining band members, so I won’t even bother chiming in with my two cents. But for those of you who missed out on the music scene of the early 90s, I will recommend the following books and DVDs.
The rough guide to Nirvana, by Gillian Gaar. Gaar, a Seattle music journalist who personally interviewed many of those involved with Nirvana’s story, traces the band’s history from its early years to the untimely and tragic death of its leader, Kurt Cobain, covering the music they recorded, both in the studio and live, and everything else written or filmed about them (including musical tributes or covers of their songs).
Nirvana: the biography, by Everett True. British rock journalist True was friends with the members of Nirvana. Here, he assembles his own recollections, published sources, and hundreds of interviews into a detailed biography that recounts instances of drug and domestic abuse, suicide attempts, spirited stage shows, recordings, and business travails. True also provides a smart analysis of Seattle grunge sound and puts Nirvana and other grunge bands into their proper context.
Nirvana & le grunge : 15 ans de rock underground américain, par Florent Mazzoler. Avec la révolution de Nirvana en 1991 grâce à l’album ” Nevermind ” ; c’est tout un pan du rock alternatif américain qui rencontre un succès universel. L’envol du groupe a sorti de l’ombre le rock grunge, qui émergeait à peine d’un monde hermétique de clubs, de fanzines et de labels indépendants. Le rock alternatif s’est finalement imposé comme un nouveau genre dominant au début de la décennie 1990 et de nombreux artistes ont été propulsés, dans le même temps, sur la scène internationale.
Nirvana live! Tonight! Sold out! Originally conceived by Kurt Cobain, LIVE! TONIGHT! SOLD OUT! is a video document of Nirvana’s rise from a scruffy trio from the Pacific Northwest into one of the most iconic and important bands in the history of rock music.
Nirvana: live at Reading. This live DVD, released in 2009, chronicles Nirvana’s 1992 performance at the Reading Festival. Bootlegged for years following the performance, the new issues present the performance for the first time mastered and color corrected.
We all know how Nirvana’s story ended on April 5, 1994.. But for now, I’m just going to sit back, listen to Nevermind and remember how it all began. Oh well, whatever, nevermind…