On September 24, 1991, Nirvana’s album, Nevermind, was released. One of the most influential albums of the past two decades, it ushered in a new sound that shed the gloss of the 80s, and singlehandedly defined a generation.
The success of Nevermind paved the way for Seattle grunge bands like Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden, and its influence can still be felt to this day. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this seminal album, we’ve compiled a list of things you might not know about the album that changed it all.
1. Nevermind wasn’t Kurt Cobain’s first choice for the album title. It was actually supposed to be called Sheep.
2. Dave Grohl wasn’t the only drummer on the album. Ex-Nirvana member Chad Channing, who was Nirvana’s drummer for their previous album Bleach, played the drums on the song “Polly.”
3. Inspiration for Nirvana’s biggest hit came from a line of graffiti Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna wrote on a wall, which read “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit.” It was meant to tease Kurt who was then dating Tobi Vale, also from Bikini Kill, who used Teen Spirit deodorant.
4. Sales of the deodorant Teen Spirit skyrocketed after the album was released.
5. Cobain said that playing "Molly's Lips" with The Vaselines at the Reading Festival, which was a few days after shooting the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, was one of the greatest moments of his life.
6. Kurt brought Frances Bean’s (his daughter) toys for the recording of “Drain You.”
7. The opening lines, “One baby to another said I’m lucky to have met you” in the song “Drain You” were actual words then-girlfriend Tobi Vail had spoken to Kurt Cobain.
8. Most of the songs in Nevermind were written about Tobi Vail. Although “Lithium” was written prior to meeting Vail, he re-wrote the song to reference her.
9. There are only three chords used in the song “Territorial Pissings”: A5, F5, and D5.
10. The baby on the cover of Nevermind is Spencer Elden, and has since joked that he’s “the world’s biggest porn star” since so many people have seen his penis. In 2008, Spencer recreated the cover image, although this time he kept his shorts on.
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