1991: Nirvana’s first televised performance of Smells Like Teen Spirit and Kurt is unplugged and contracted in a Radio Shack

TWENTY years ago, Nirvana released In Utero. Anorak bought it. And played it loud. In 1991, Nirvana appeared on MTV’s 120 Minutes to perform Smells Like Teen Spirit. Grunge went mainstream.

Cobain told Rolling Stone 1994 how the song’s greatest line came about:

“…when you’re standing around with people in a room, it’s really boring and uncomfortable. So it was ‘Well, here we are, entertain us.’”

The title of the song was inspired by Kathleen Hanna, who spray painted across Kurt’s wall: “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Teen Spirit was a brand of deodorant worn by his girlfriend.

This is what Cobain sounded like alone:

Did Nirvana comes form nowhere. Well, no. They came from a garage in Aberdeen, Washington.

In this video Nirvana Plays in a Radio Shack, the day after recording their first demo tape. It was 1988.

And then they scored a record contract:


Sub Pop notes: “Six hundred bucks well spent—not that we had it at the time.”

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