Kurt Cobain would have turned 50 today.
There has been a lot – okay, way too much – written about every element of Cobain’s life, but still his songwriting tends to be underrated, obscured by myth and flannelette.
To celebrate his life, here are five of his very best songs, none of which made it onto an official studio album – or even onto their B-sides and rarities collection, Incesticide.
It’s an impressive, varied collection, and solid proof of his songwriting genius. Enjoy!
CLEAN UP BEFORE SHE COMES
A moody song with layered round-style vocals about attempting to make a shithole slightly more bearable in an attempt to impress a visiting girl. A tale as old as time!
I HATE MYSELF AND I WANT TO DIE
This was originally the title of In Utero until a record company suit vetoed it, perhaps realising there’s a limit to how widely an album with that name will be stocked. This surprisingly sunny pop song ended up as a hidden track on the Beavis and Butthead Experience soundtrack, and was slated to appear as the ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ B-side, before this was shelved following Cobain’s suicide.
Another song with a less-than-ideal title for the suits at Geffen. This was the B-side for ‘All Apologies’ and features a chorus where Kurt wails the word ‘marijuana’ over and over. What’s not to love?
It’s hard to see why this classic, hooky pop song was left off Nevermind, unless it was simply too catchy to fit comfortably on an album already teeming with pop hits. One of Cobain’s very best songs.
A screaming, squawking song that is the polar opposite to its A-side ‘Lithium’. One of Cobain’s more raw vocals, and a pointer to In Utero.
and… MARIGOLD aka THE BEGINNING OF FOO FIGHTERS
The only Dave Grohl-penned track to feature in the Nirvana catalogue, and also the only song in which he sang lead vocals. This could be seen as the moment where Foo Fighters started (although he recorded the Pocketwatch demo tape the previous year). When Grohl re-recorded the track in 2006 for the Fooey’s Skin and Bones album, it became the only song to feature in both band’s catalogues.