Posts Tagged ‘Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame’

Nirvana dropped their often overlooked debut album Bleach in 1989. 25 years later, they were inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, the first year they were eligible for the honour. Their illustrious career spanned only five years, but what they left behind was legendary.

Nirvana made their first big splash with their single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off of their sophomore album Nevermind. Sentiments of apathy, angst, and social alienation were put in the forefront, and understood by far more than anyone imagined. Nirvana’s music was raw, painful, emotional, and most importantly, relatable. Especially amongst young people, because let’s face it, all teenagers go through a rough time. The unpopular, the uncool, the unnoticed ones, finally had a voice, and everyone had someone to turn to during darker times. Their lyrics were real, honest , and addressed actual issues. The band’s image was the epitome of minimalist: ripped jeans, t-shirts, plaid shirts, and unkempt hair. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became the anthem for the newly termed Grunge music, and Kurt Cobain was its unintentional poster boy.

Blame it on drugs, blame it on the unwanted fame, blame it on mental issues; whatever the reason, Cobain took his life in 1994, at that magical time, right before Nirvana hit their peak. It was unfathomable that someone in his position would want it all to end, and it was even more difficult to grasp that there would never be another Nirvana album. It felt like they were just getting started. Maybe that’s why their fans never really got over his suicide. Why some people continue to theorize that it was all a conspiracy, and he was in fact murdered. Other grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden also emerged around that time, but none of them were as monumental as Nirvana, and the genre which had been led to the spotlight, slowly faded away.

A large part of my high school years revolved around a music genre essentially created by Nirvana. There was never a moment when those melancholic voices, those angst-filled lyrics, and those heavy distortion sounds, were not around. Every basement birthday party was full of mosh pits and headbangers. Grunge became a culture. Everyone dressed like it, listened to it, wanted to be a part of it. Any time I hear any of their tracks, all I can think about is that particular time, those specific memories, like they became part of that life’s soundtrack. No one knew it at the time, but we were part of something big.

As teenagers, we all think we are invincible, that everything is going to last forever, that nothing is going to change. When Cobain committed suicide, we were stunned because we could not imagine the rest of our lives without them. As adults, we realize we are destructible, that nothing lasts forever, that everything is going to change. I still sometimes wonder what Nirvana could have been, if Kurt Cobain was still around. Maybe what he already gave the world was all he had in him. Maybe he had so much more.

You often hear people talk about what it was like in the 60s hippy era, the 70s funk times. I always wondered what it would be like to witness something like that, to, in a way, be a part of history. To live through the rise and fall of an entire musical movement.  Nirvana allowed me to experience that.  Now 25 years later, all I can do is wonder if my life would have been the same without that music, without that band, without Nirvana.

Hats off to Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic. This was a long time coming.