1. Beeswax / First Studio Demo Tape / January 1988
2. Downer / First Studio Demo Tape / January 1988
3. Blew / Bleach / June 1989
4. Floyd The Barber / Bleach / June 1989
5. About A Girl / Bleach / June 1989
6. School / Bleach / June 1989
7. Love Buzz / Blew EP / December 1989
8. Been A Son / Blew EP / December 1989
9. Silver / Single A Side / September 1990
10. Dive / Single B Side / September 1990
11. Here She Comes Now / Split Single / June 1991
12. Smells Like Teen Spirit / Single A Side / September 1991
13. Even In His Youth / Single B Side / September 1991
14. Aneurysm / Single B Side / September 1991
15. In Bloom / Nevermind / September 1991
16. Come As You Are / Nevermind / September 1991
17. Breed / Nevermind / September 1991
18. Territorial Pissings / Nevermind / September 1991
19. Drain You / Nevermind / September 1991
20. On A Plain / Nevermind / September 1991
21. Lithium / Single A Side / July 1992
22. Curmudgeon / Single B Side / July 1992
1. Turnaround / Hormoaning EP / February 1992
2. D-7 / Hormoaning EP / February 1992
3. Son Of A Gun / Hormoaning EP / February 1992
4. Molly's Lips / Hormoaning EP / February 1992
5. Oh The Guilt / Split Single / February 1993
6. Heart-Shaped Box / Single A Side / August 1993
7. Marigold / Single B Side / August 1993
8. Serve The Servants / In Utero / September 1993
9. Scentless Apprentice / In Utero / September 1993
10. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle / In Utero / September 1993
11. Very Ape / In Utero / September 1993
12. Sappy / No Alternative Compilation / October 1993
13. Rape Me / Single A Side / December 1993
14. Moist Vagina / Single B Side / December 1993
15. You Know You're Right / Robert Lang Studio Session / Recorded January 1994
16. I Hate Myself And Want To Die / Single B Side / April 1994
17. The Man Who Sold The World / Unplugged In New York / November 1994
18. Something In The Way / Unplugged In New York / November 1994
19. Oh Me / Unplugged In New York / November 1994
20. All Apologies / Unplugged In New York / November 1994
21. Where Did You Sleep Last Night / Unplugged In New York / November 1994
In April 2014, Nirvana were finally inducted into the Rock 'n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Given that the earliest possible date for induction is 25 years after a band’s first recording, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise. With Kurt Cobain long gone, we all knew it was only going to be a matter of time before Nirvana were gobbled up by the industry machine and became everything he never wanted them to be; a fossilised, curated, institutionalised, museum exhibit. I can’t help but wonder what he would have made of it all.
There are many much older and wiser head’s than me who claim that Nirvana were the last truly big rock band; the last to draw a line across rocks rich tapestry and proclaim there was the time before them and the time after. And when you look at the bands who’ve followed, that claim does make a lot of sense. Radiohead are definitely up there with them but Green Day, The White Stripes, Coldplay, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire? C’mon really?
When any claim is made about Nirvana, all discussions must start and end with Kurt Cobain. As good as Kris Novoselic and Dave Grohl were they were only ever sidemen. Nirvana was all about the weedy, skunky, punk metal kid with the beat up guitar from where-the-fuck, Washington State. In his small home town, where the air smelt like industrial paper mills and logging trucks jammed the highways, he was the fucked up teen misfit, the sensitive soul who wasn’t really built for this world yet one who with his own hands would refashion modern rock culture and leave us with a couple of beautiful albums and a handful of singles to contemplate and appreciate for time immemorial.
Of course this is all the more remarkable because Nirvana came out of grunge. They were the only group able to transcend that much maligned genre because Kurt Cobain embodied the appreciation of both populism and obscurity by purposefully mashing the two together. And not just sonically either. He did what his contemporaries like Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder could not by harnessing American cock rock towards cleverer, more sensitive and subversive ends, even if that impulse for paradox wound up contributing to his own self-sabotage and destruction.
Harnessing the burnt out loser aesthetic and constantly skirting the line between celebrity and authenticity, he spat out his unabashed feelings without a mask, a troubled mind riddled with addictions, illnesses, emotional problems and complexities who formed a band called Nirvana and then died seven years later in a mental state that was the exact opposite. His death, with his brains blown out by a shotgun, was as messy as the life he’d always refused to hide from. I doubt we will ever see his like again.
These days everyone’s a hustler, our lives eroded by marketing and consumerist whoring so it’s difficult to explain to anyone under 30 how, in a pre-internet age, Nirvana weren’t the product of clever, clever corporate sponsored big dollar advertising or some hyper-targeted youth marketing campaign. Their level of success was based solely on the universal vulnerability and genius poptones Kurt Cobain built into songs that can still enthrall every switched on, mixed up teen hearing them for the first time, just as I was enthralled the year after his death.
Twenty years have passed since then yet Nirvana don’t sound like they’ve dated in the slightest, certainly not in the way that the metal, pop or gangsta rap of the era has dated. Admittedly, these days I rarely make a point of playing Nevermind or In Utero, let alone Bleach or Unplugged, but occasionally I’ll catch a blast of ‘All Apologies’, ‘Serve The Servants’, ‘Lithium’ or ‘Teen Spirit on the radio and know how, in these all too grey days, Kurt Cobain’s ghost still has the power to make me forget the bullshit minutiae of my everyday life, if only for a moment. I don’t need any Rock 'n’ Roll Hall of Fame seal of approval to tell me that.