(Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of a true rock legend: Kurt Cobain.
On April 8, 1994, Cobain's body was discovered in the room above his garage, lying with a shotgun on his chest. A police investigation called the death a suicide, and estimated that he died three days earlier, on April 5.
The mysterious circumstances surrounding Cobain's death have yielded various theories — and much controversy — in the ensuing two decades. But one fact remains unimpeachable 20 years after his death: that Kurt Cobain is one of the greats, and a legend whose music will live on for another 20 years and then some.
Cobain is best known, of course, as the lead singer of Nirvana. Together with Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, the band came to define the Seattle grunge scene of the early 1990s. Their 1991 breakout album, Nevermind, catapaulted them into superstardom, reaching number one on the Billboard charts and eventually selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. The record ranks 17th on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Here's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," the band's biggest hit from that album and MTV's #3 video of all time:
After Nevermind, the band released In Utero, which sold 15 million copies and went five-times platinum. But Cobain struggled to deal with his unexpected success and the accompanying media attention.
Musically, Cobain's influences were wide-ranging, and he routinely paid tribute to decades' worth of music history in his own arrangements, in his choice of covers, and in interviews. In this video, George pays tribute to Cobain and all the music that influenced him over the course of his career:
The early pressings of Nirvana's 1992 rarities collection Insecticde included a long note from Cobain to his fans, which contained this memorable anti-discrimination plea from the Nirvana front man: