Kurt Cobain is one of the most important musical figures in Rock ‘n’ Roll history. The impact he had in the early 1990s not only helped sky rocket grunge and flannel to mainstream popularity, but also inspired a wide range of musicians from all corners of musical genres. In honor of the 20 year anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain, here’s a playlist dedicated to all the bands and artists his music and image helped to inspire for today’s world.
1. “Creep” by Radiohead– Radiohead is one of the many bands who drew inspiration from early Nirvana tracks. The song “Negative Creep” off of Nirvana’s Bleach album has been referenced by numerous groups over the years, but most notably can be found in Radiohead’s “Creep.”
2. “Big Me” by Foo Fighters–Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl got his first claim to fame by being the fourth and most successful drummer for Nirvana. After the band came to an end he went on to start Foo Fighters, which would become one of the most popular contemporary hard rock bands.
3. “Adam’s Song” by Blink-182–Blink loves Nirvana, so much so that if you sit and listen to “Adam’s Song” closely, you will hear that they directly quote Nevermind‘s song “Come As You Are” in tribute to both Kurt Cobain and anyone who has fallen prey to or contemplated suicide.
4. “Pork and Beans” by Weezer– Weezer once held a show entirely dedicated to the works of Nirvana and their use of witty, strange, but socially relevant lyrics should attest to their direct influence from the grunge band.
5. “National Anthem” by Lana Del Rey–Lana Del Rey is notorious for her love of Cobain, as the two both seem like very troubled, yet kindred spirits. Del Rey is also known for taking social taboos and rearranging them to bring up debates and conversation, much more formally than the way Cobain did it.
6. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes–Jack White and Kurt Cobain have both been incredibly innovational to the music industry, in fact Jack White has even been compared to the Kurt Cobain of this generation, and his song writing and guitar playing skills truly help support that notion.
7. “Powder” by Yellowcard–Yellowcard is a pretty well-rounded band famous for using an electric violin as a main component of their sound. Vocalist Ryan Key has cited Nirvana and Cobain as one of his biggest musical influences and this can be exemplified in both his lyrical and musical content.
8. “All Around Me” by Flyleaf–Flyleaf has also cited Nirvana as a huge influence on their music, in fact the popularization of soft vs. loud verse/chorus song structure can be derived from Nirvana’s influence on the band and help lead to the intense vocals of Flyleaf vocalist, Lacey Mosley.
9. “Holy Grail” by Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake– In perhaps one of the strangest Cobain references in music, Jay-Z decided to flip the lyrics of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the title track of his last album, both paying homage to Cobain, but also questioning the current state of the music industry.
9. “3 a.m.” by Eminem–Personas are kind of Eminem’s thing, whether he is Eminem, Marshall Mathers, or Slim Shady, he’s always channeling subconscious messages the way Cobain did with his alter ego Kurdt Kobain. Also “3 a.m.” was inspired by Silence of the Lambs which just makes it that much creepier.
Bonus: “Sliver” by Nirvana–“Sliver” is one of the lesser known Nirvana songs off of the single Incesticide but is also one of their best songs with a great music video featuring a Cobain with dyed hair and his iconic oversized sweater and absent stare.
Natasha Van Duser
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