Favorite Songs – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

I’m going to take a big leap forward in time to 1991 to add this song to my favorites list. The song of the decade of the 90s and the song that defined and made popular the grunge music movement. Grunge started in Seattle in the late 80s and burst into the mainstream with Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten, both released within a month of each other in the late summer of 1991.

Nevermind is one of my favorite albums of all time with several great songs including Nevermind, Come As You Are, Territorial Pissings, and Breed. Never saw Nirvana live and Nirvana released only one more studio of new songs prior to Cobain dying in 1994. I remember that day and what I was doing when i heard the news of his death.

April 5, 1994. I was on the West End Bridge driving from class at the community college on Pittsburgh’s North Side section to my job at a beer distributor in Heidleberg. I was listening either to WDVE, the town’s classic rock station, or WXDX, which was then and still is the city’s only alternative music station. The DJ announced during a commercial break that Cobain’s body had been found in his Seattle area home. Dead by an apparent suicide. I gasped and held my breath, an intense feeling of sadness and despair coming over me. Cobain was the leading artist at that time and was going to make great music for a long time. He was my favorite artist and now he was dead. I was really bummed and when i got to work my boss and I talked about how we couldn’t believe what had happened and how much it sucked.

In my mind music ended that day.

Cobain was ahead of his time. Talking about toxic masculinity was back in the early 1990s. Upset that frat bros would go to Nirvana concerts, mosh, bully people, pick on girls, start fights, etc. He stated he didn’t want these types of people to be Nirvana fans. But grunge is hard rock music and harder types of music attracts harder types of people. Imagine this same advocate for inclusion and peace trying to write, record, and release a song that has the word ‘mulatto’ in it in today’s hypersensitive world. He’d be shouted down and chased into obscurity.

Here’s Joan Jett. who will be getting her own entry in this series, performing with the band at their Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction.

On Saturday Night Live.

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