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October 2, 2011 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Nirvana Month!

In the words of Jon Stewart, the sound of Nirvana was like “The Beatles had swallowed Black Flag”.

By 1991, this small, three-piece band from Aberdeen, Washington was on to its fifth drummer and was getting ready to become a part of music history. Even though the band were only together for a short time, Nirvana created music that is still loved by fans and sung by artists today (Miley Cyrus, bless her heart, but for heaven’s sake don’t Google her rendition of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’).

On 24 September 1991, Nevermind, Nirvana’s breakthrough album hit the shelves. The record company they signed with, DGC, estimated that the band would reach perhaps 40,000 units of the album in the USA and around 30,000 in the UK for that year. However, the release of the breakthrough single ‘Smell Like Teen Spirit’ a few weeks earlier, ensured Nevermind album sales skyrocketed. The shipment of records DGC had sent out sold out quickly and the album was unavailable for days in some areas.
It surpassed all pre-conceived record sales that Geffen’s marketing department had guessed and the album reached both Gold and Platinum status by the end of 1991. Nevermind became Nirvana’s first number one album on January 11, 1992, knocking Michael Jackson out of the number one spot in the Billboard charts. By this time, it was selling a ridiculous number of around 300,000 copies a week internationally.

As Butch Vig said, Kurt wanted the album to sound really heavy, as the songs themselves were very simple and poppy. The band themselves shot to superstar status, headlining festivals and spawning legions of imitation bands and a whole generation of grunge kids who looked up to Nirvana, and Kurt Cobain in particular, as their leaders. Other bands from Seattle playing a similar style of music became hotly contested by record labels, eager to cash in on the new sound and style of grunge culture.

Three more singles were released from the album that year—’Come as you are’, ‘In Bloom’ and ‘Lithium’—all of which just added to albums sales.

In 1999 Nevermind was certified Diamond, and has continued on to sell over 30 million records worldwide. It was ranked number 17 on Rolling Stone’s Greatest 500 Albums of All Time. Not bad for a three-piece band who didn’t use any form of auto-tune to record their album.

While the history of the band is well-documented, and the tragic suicide of Cobain saw the band only release three studio albums, their music, and particularly Nevermind, has established itself firmly in the Rock and Roll canon. Nevermind changed the face of popular music, and inspired a generation of teenagers in a way that only a handful of bands have ever managed.

For the anniversary of the original release, a four CD/DVD Super Deluxe Edition of Nevermind has been released and is available now. NOW, I TELL YOU!

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  1. Gertrude says:

    That hits the traegt perfectly. Thanks!

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