Music February 20, 2012
Happy Birthday Kurt Cobain: 27 Songs That Influenced Nirvana's Lead Singer

Today would have been Kurt Cobain's 46th birthday. To mark the occasion, we created a playlist of twenty-seven tracks that he pointed to as influences on his music, his style, and his approach to art.

Smells Like Kurt Cobain by George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on Grooveshark

Kurt was never shy about crediting other bands as influences: the band covered many artists, including Meat Puppets, The Vaselines, The Cars, David Bowie, The Beatles and Lead Belly.

The playlist includes some of the more well-known influences on Cobain's style - Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Melvins, Butthole Surfers, Buzzcocks, Earth - as well as nods toward various artists that Kurt admitted to borrowing some ideas from (for instance, he said "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was an attempt at writing a Pixies song, and that the main guitar figure was "so close to a Boston riff").

There are also some unexpected choices, like Terry Jacks' version of "Season in Sun" - which Nirvana recorded an impromptu cover of, and which Kurt said made him cry as a child - and "Back In Black," the first song a 14-year-old Cobain learned to play on guitar. Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin make the list because Kurt and Krist Novoselic listed those bands as influences when they were advertising for a drummer. And Creedence Clearwater Revival is in there because the first band Krist and Kurt played in was a Creedence cover band.



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