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15 Years Later: Remembering Kurt Cobain

On April 5, 1994, Kurt Cobain, the enigmatic lead singer of Seattle's successful grunge-era band Nirvana, took his own life. I can't believe it was 15 years ago today because it still feels like just yesterday that my little teen self was trying to process this terrible news. I listed Nevermind as one of my favorite albums of all time in part because "Smells Like Teen Spirit" seemingly came out of nowhere to capture all my adolescent angst in one song.

Many of Cobain's lyrics seemed nonsensical or hard to decipher but there was something about the raw emotion in his voice that hit a global nerve. After only three years in the spotlight his death unleashed a shock wave that reverberates to this day.

Do you remember where you were when this news broke? How did his music affect you?

After the jump I've included some of my favorite performances by the band on MTV's Unplugged. Rocking out to Nirvana is good times, but there was something so stunning about the band's stripped down Unplugged performance, I thought it would be an appropriate way to look back. To watch,


"All Apologies":

"The Man Who Sold the World":


Join The Conversation
Louie Louie 8 years
I remember when he died, I must have been 14 but it didn't have a huge impact on me. I was more devastated when I found out Jeff Buckley had died.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
He was so high during the unplugged performance, hadnt bathed in a week!! The set was supposed to look like a funeral home, but I never got that impression, did anyone else?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I was in 8th grade when he died - Nirvana was really the band that got me into music, and I still love their music 15 years later. Their Unplugged performance was pretty amazing, for sure.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
Thanks CG, I knew he entered rehab several times but never stuck through to the end and/or always ended up going back to his true love his drugs. I have to read that book, believe me I really enjoyed his music but that is it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Pink, he sought treatment, and rejected it. the last time he was in a facility he jumped the wall to get out. If you ever want to know what happened read "heavier than heaven" its a good insight to Kurt and his family and Nirvana.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
CG I see what you are saying to an extent, I loved Nirvana as a band, some of the best music came from that band, but I will never condone or except that he killed himself and selfishly left a daughter, I hate when people take the easy way out, he would be so depressed if he wasn't using and sought intense treatment, or maybe he would I don't know.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
was the rolling eyes necessary? really? I said it was my opinion, kind of makes the point that its not everyone's doesn't it? so an obvious statement gets an eye roll? don't take it so personally next time.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
I was 10 when he died. I loved his music. I felt him in his music..whether he wanted to die or not :oy: I heard the news right on MTV while at a friends party. We all cried but we weren't crying because we were going to miss him. Obviously we didn't know was more his music. I still play his songs.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I never liked nirvana (not my kind of music) , I was 21 when he kicked it. I think he was a troubled man, who wrote from his heart, who had a major drug problem and a self image problem, He didnt want help, didnt care about his child or bandmates or wife and wanted to die. I dont get the continued worship of him to this day, he is nothing to idolize in my opinion.
caroline_1 caroline_1 8 years
i was 8 and had no idea who he was, but my babysitter was so distraught by his death that it made an impression on me that way.. i would later find Nirvana and fall in love with their music and his voice, but i have never stopped being fascinated by his life and death. hopefully he found the peace he was seeking
Sarana Sarana 8 years
I was 14 and was at a wedding when my niece told me he had died. I didn't believe her but when I cam home I saw the news....
mellie_608 mellie_608 8 years
I will never forget that weekend. a bunch of my friends had a cabin outing planned that weekend and when we all heard about it, it ruined our trip. Everyone moped around the cabin playing their music over and over. Being from Seattle, we all felt we had a connection to Kurt having seen him in concert many times before they actually broke out and became huge. It was so great being a teenager in Seattle during the grunge rock scene!
Kaelinj Kaelinj 8 years
I was 2, so I didn't really know anything about Nirvana, or much for that matter. It wasn't until I was around 10 years old that I really learned about Nirvana with the constant playing of their music from older siblings. I would've never thought that they would become my favorite band, probably because when I first listened to them I couldn't understand a word. Then I started to understand the meaning behind the songs. Not a day goes by without me thinking of what life would be like if Kurt Cobain was still with us today. 15 Years of pain, we love you Kurt!
kmckay kmckay 8 years
i was 15- i was in the height of my loving nirvana, teen angst. i just remember kurt loder on the screen and repeating the news. i hated kurt loder after that :) every time i hear 'all apologies' i cry.
brendanmckenna brendanmckenna 8 years
I was 12. Nirvana was my first deluge into the world of mainstream rock and roll. I discovered them on Easter of 1994- just after Kurt died. Weird Al's cover of Teen spirit was given to my younger brother as an easter gift. After listening to Smells Like Nirvana- I remember thinking"who are these guys?". I was so touched by the sound- something intangible and imposable to ignore. My mother told me of Kurt's suicide after I asked her about Nirvana- what she knew about them. The idea of someone killing themselves was so foreign to me at that time- I was stolen by the mystery- by the tragedy. It lent a colour to their music- to the time and the genre. I don't think I'd be who I am without that man- that band. Their music had a profound influence on my life. I can hardly begin to imagine what Kurt would be doing right now... What other way's he would have touched the world... I have had many heroes in my life... Kurt is one I can't seem to let go of.
Cris1192 Cris1192 8 years
I was 2... But last year i saw a play called something like "Don't worry blue eyes" it was about the night Kurt Cobain toke his own life but right before he does it he gets a visit from Frank Sinatra's ghost and he tries to convince him not to kill himself. I cried at the end, even tough I knew he was gonna die anyway
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I was only 5 when he died but I remember listening to Nirvana songs constantly with my parents when I was little. I became a huge fan of Nirvana when I hit high school and they are still my favorite band. It's tragic that Kurt died so young, he had a lot of potential.
angiebaby16 angiebaby16 8 years
I love kurt, he was a legend<3
emalove emalove 8 years
I don't think I've ever gotten over this!!! I was a junior in high school, 17 years old when this happened...Nirvana had been one of my most favorite bands since I first heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in 1991. I loved Kurt so much :(
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
I was a senior in HS when Kurt died I remember watching Kurt Loder on MTV talking about Kurt's death, but no one was really surprised because he'd overdosed in Rome previously. I had been a huge Pixies/Mudhoney/Sonic Youth fan, super into indie/alternative music, and by then, my circle of friends had pretty much moved past Nirvana because they were so popular. I started listening to Nirvana again because of the Unplugged show...I loved the Meat Puppets and I felt like such an asshole for dismissing Kurt just because everyone loved him.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
I was 6 when this happened... I don't recall much, obviously- but my dad was/is a huge fan and I just remember singing in the car with my dad all the time... I don't remember anything about Kurt's death until I was about 12 or so, I think... I really have a horrible memory... but thats when I guess I started caring about artists AND their music, rather than just the music.
new new 8 years
great band, such a tragedy. it was the band that got me interested in rock music and I still love them. I remember hearing on the radio that he died, but I was 10 years old then. I already felt the impact of his action then. years later I realised they were talking about him.
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