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RIP Kurt Cobain (February 20, 1967 - April 5, 1994)

Kurt Cobain 1967-1994
Kurt Cobain 1967-1994
Courtesy Photo

April 5, 2011 marks the 17 year anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, a rock icon of the 1990’s known for spearheading the grunge rock movement with his band Nirvana.

Born in Aberdeen, Washington, just outside of Seattle on February 20, 1967, Cobain would spend his most of his adolescence in the Pacific Northwest before touring the world with the band that helped spread punk rock across the globe. Nirvana’s first album, Bleach,was released through Seattle-based Sub Pop Records in 1989 to favorable reviews and helped create a buzz about the band, as they would eventually sign with major label DGC for the remainder of their brief career. Nirvana released their follow-up album, Nevermind, in September of 1991 to critical acclaim as the album catapulted the small power trio, Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, into the global spotlight and helped fuel the beginning of what would become the popular grunge movement.

Nevermind was a milestone for the punk rock movement as it became the first alternative album to reach number one on the Billboard Top 100, ushering in a new era of alternative rock into mainstream America. Fueled by the success of the single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” the song’s Pixies-inspired guitar riff and unintelligible lyrics would become the new teen anthem for disgruntled youth in the '90s. Nirvana released their third album, In Utero,in September 1993, and it debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 100. A subsequent tour in support of the album brought Nirvana to The San Diego Sports Arena, where they performed on December 29, 1993 with opening acts Chokebore and Butthole Surfers. This was the last appearance Nirvana made in San Diego, when four months later on April 5, 1994 Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Cobain’s legacy lives on through his music and his unfortunate widow Courtney Love, who has made a spectacle of Cobain’s estate in recent years, most notably selling 25 percent of her publishing rights’ to Nirvana’s music, allowing Cobain’s songs to be used in video games and commercials; something Cobain was vehemently against. Cobain’s 18-year-old daughter, Francis Bean Cobain has lived a relatively normal life and recently inherited 37 percent of her late father’s estate. Nirvana only released three proper albums in the band's short lifespan, but the impact Cobain would have in popular music reached far beyond what anyone could imagine.

His suicide in 1994 marked the beginning of the end for the grunge rock movement, and inevitably created a sustainable pallet for the influx of indie rock bands that currently dominate popular culture.

RIP Kurt Cobain (February 20, 1967 - April 5, 1994)