ROCK Sex feels that "all in all is all we are".
Today's Kurt Cobain's birthday. This is a tribute to his memory.
One of the first tributes was on the heels of Nirvana's breakthrough hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Tori Amos stripped the Grunge down to the fragile heart at the core of the song with this haunting ballad rendition.
TORI AMOS -"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Live, 1992)
In the wake of losing Kurt, many were moved to give back some of the galvanizing energy he had given them. Sinead O'Connor made a luminous elegy out of his "All Apologies".
SINEAD O'CONNOR -"All Apologies" (1994)
Kurt was supposed to work with R.E.M., and this lament is Michael Stipes calling his spirit.
R.E.M. -"Let Me In" (1994)
When Kurt died, he referenced a Neil Young lyric, "it's better to burn out than it is to rust", in his farewell note. Young himself, familiar with the symptoms of Kurt's increasingly self-destructive behavior, had tried in vain to reach him before it was too late. Deeply hurt by the loss and pained by the lyric, Young and Crazy Horse dedicated their "Sleep With Angels" album and song to Kurt.
CRAZY HORSE -"Sleep With Angels" (1994)
Taking a cue from his Beatles-inspired song "About a Girl", Patti Smith responded with "About a Boy". She later recorded a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
PATTI SMITH -"About a Boy" (1996)
The leader of Living Colour made this textural elegy.
VERNON REID -"St. Cobain" (1996)
After four hard years, Courtney Love spoke to her pain in HOLE's "Reasons To Be Beautiful". She transforms Neil's lyric into the admonition "It's better to rise than fade away". The uplift and agony in the last minute of this song still brings me to tears.
HOLE -"Reasons To Be Beautiful" (1998)
Dave Grohl wrote a song about his friend while they were recording the NEVERMIND album, but didn't release it until 2008.
NIRVANA -"Friend Of A Friend" (2008)
V E R S I O N S
Here are some heartfelt and explorative interpretations of Kurt's songs in many styles.
CHARLIE HUNTER TRIO -"Come As You Are" (1995)
SONIC YOUTH -"Moist Vagina" (1998)
CIBO MATTO -"About A Girl" (1999)
KRISTIN HERSH -"Pennyroyal Tea" (1999)
FLIPPER -"Scentless Apprentice" (2001)
VITAMIN STRING QUARTET -"Breed" (2005)
HOOVERPHONIC -"In Bloom" (2008)
THE BAD PLUS -"Lithium" (2009)
CHRISTOPHER O'RILEY -"Heart Shaped Box" (2009)
LITTLE ROY -"Dive" (2011)
JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD -"Lounge Act" (2011)
CHARLES BRADLEY and The Menahan Street Band -"Stay Away" (2011)
MARGOT AND THE NUCLEUR SO And SO'S -"Something in the Way" (2011)
EMA -"Endless Nameless" (2011)
LANA DEL REY -"Heart-Shaped Box" (2012)
ROBERT GLASPER -"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (2012)
As a friend,
As an old memory..."
© Tym Stevens
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist