Kurt Cobain Biography- Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer-songwriter who rocked the music world with his band Nirvana. He had displayed artistic qualities since childhood. However, he had a troubled youth as his parents separated. Finding solace in music, he started playing the guitar and eventually delved deep into the world of music. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
Albums such as ‘Bleach,’ ‘Nevermind’ and ‘In Utero’ were some of his very popular. Signing ‘Nirvana’ with ‘Geffen Records’ came as a major achievement in his career. Although he continued to grow rapidly on the professional front, his personal life was affected by his severe drug addiction. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
Plagued by health and family issues, he struggled with constant depression and drug addiction issues throughout his life. However, his exemplary songwriting skills helped ‘Nirvana’ sell over 25 million copies in the US and over 75 million records worldwide, making him an iconic figure in the field of rock music. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
Childhood And Early Life
- Cobain was born on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington, United States, to Wendy Elizabeth, a waitress, and Donald Leland Cobain, an automotive mechanic. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
- He was a happy child who was fascinated by art. His penchant for art was evident in the paintings of cartoon characters on the walls of his room, which featured pictures of Donald Duck and the creature from the ‘Black Lagoon’. His source of inspiration was his grandmother Iris Cobain, who was an artist by profession.
- Cobain was attracted to music since childhood. By the age of four, he could play the piano and even write simple songs about going to a local park. He was inspired by bands such as the Ramones and Electric Light Orchestra. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
- He enjoyed listening to Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Motorcycle Song’, ‘The Beatles’, ‘Hey Jude’ and many more.
Seeing his parents separated at the young age of nine, his nature changed a lot. He became introverted and at times rebellious.
- Cobain used to visit his mother on weekends but stayed with his father. Seeing her mother suffer at the hands of her second husband, who was abusive, made her even more depressed.
- His father was not able to keep his promise not to remarry for a long time. They remarried and brought up two children, resulting in much bitterness in Cobain’s attitude towards his father and his new family.
- As he went through a troubled childhood, his behavior in public became unkind. When he was taken to a doctor, he advised his parents to stay together for the well being of their son.
- When his parents failed to work together, full custody of Cobain was passed on to his father. However, Cobain’s behavior did not improve and he was sent to the home of a family friend, Jesse Reed.
- During the initial phase of living with newcomers, he became fascinated by Christianity and began attending church services. However, this new attitude of his was short-lived.
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- At his father’s insistence, he joined the school’s wrestling and baseball team, but performed poorly, much to the dismay of his father. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
- He started associating with gay boys. When people questioned his sexuality, he claimed to be gay to stay away from people.
- He started living with his mother during his second year in high school. He dropped out of school just as he was about to complete his graduation. On this his mother threw him out of the house.
- Cobain met his future bandmate while studying at Aberdeen High School. Although they didn’t connect at first, they eventually bonded because of their mutual love for punk rock. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
- Right after leaving high school, Cobain formed a rock band called “Fecal Matter” in 1985, rehearsing on original material such as “The Ramones” and “Led Zeppelin” and the band’s covers. The band disbanded a year later, but the tapes recorded by Cobain helped with the early days of his future band, Nirvana.
- It was in 1988 that Cobain finally decided on a name for his group Nirvana. The band had Cobain as lead vocalist and guitarist, Krist Novoselic as bass guitarist, and Aaron Burkhard on drums. ‘Nirvana’ came with their first single ‘Love Buzz’ which was released by a small label called ‘Sub Pop Records’.
- His debut album ‘Bleach’ was released in 1989. It featured the album’s punk bass with its signature heavy metal sounds. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
- Aaron Burkhard left the group and was replaced by Chad Channing, who was later replaced by Dale Crover. Later, Dale Crover was replaced by Dave Grohl.
- ‘Nirvana’ was becoming famous in places like Seattle. Around the same time, Cobain began trying his hand at writing songs such as ‘About a Girl’.
- The year 1990 brought more engagement to ‘Nirvana’ and the band began collaborating with prominent figures in the rock and roll genre. Eventually, he got a chance to hang out with the popular rock band ‘Sonic Youth’.
A major milestone was achieved in 1991 when ‘Nirvana’ joined hands with ‘Geffen Records’, which was followed by the release of ‘Nevermind’. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
- ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was the single from ‘Nirvana’ which earned him acclaim in the music world. The song also made Cobain the best songwriter of the generation at the young age of 24.
- Another album titled ‘In Utero’ was released in September 1993 and was a huge success. The album is about his bitter life experiences and struggles.
- He took another leap in the recording league through his single ‘Radio Friendly Unit Shifter’. The single, which was part of the album In Utero, describes the influence of the band’s last hit single Smells Like Teen Spirit.
- Although Cobain progressed well on the professional front, he was slowly drifting away from his band members on a personal level. After this, he did a gig for MTV’s Unplugged series. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
- The rising popularity soon became a burden for Cobain, making him more apprehensive about his future. Unable to handle the pressure and expectation, he turned to drugs.
- Cobain was ranked as the 12th greatest guitarist of all time by David Frick of ‘Rolling Stone’ in 2003.
- She was ranked number seven on MTV’s list of the ’22 Greatest Voices in Music’. In 2006 on the ‘Hit Parader’ list of the ‘100 Greatest Metal Singers of All Time’, he was ranked 20th. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
- The Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee put up a sign saying ‘Come As You Are’ in Cobain’s honor in 2005 in Aberdeen, Washington.
- Following the sale of the ‘Nirvana’ song list, Cobain replaced Elvis Presley as the highest-paid deceased celebrity in 2006. The following year, Cobain was replaced once again by Elvis.
- Cobain was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 along with two of his bandmates, Novoselic and Dave Grohl. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
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- A book titled ‘Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana’ was published by Azerrad, who wrote every detail about ‘Nirvana’ and its members since the band’s inception.
Personal life and Legacy
- Cobain suffered from chronic bronchitis and stomach problems throughout his life.
- Troubled family and health issues made him indulge in alcohol and drugs. He started using drugs at the age of just 13 and by 1990 he had become a serious addict. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
- He was also arrested several times for spray painting buildings and roaming the streets in a drunken state.
- In 1987, Cobain began seeing a girl named Tracy Marander, with whom he moved to Olympia. Although they were struggling financially, the couple enjoyed their life together. However, their relationship did not last long as Marander left her due to his drug addiction.
- In 1990, Cobain became involved with a rocker named Courtney Love, whom he had met during a show at a nightclub in Portland, Oregon. In February 1992, the two married while Courtney Love was serving as lead vocalist and guitarist with ‘Hole’. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
- Their daughter Frances Bean Cobain was born on 18 August 1992. Due to Cobain and Love’s heroin addiction, they become embroiled in legal matters with the authorities. Subsequently, child-welfare agents took away custody of their baby girl. After months of talks, the couple finally got full custody of their daughter.
- On 4 March 1994, during a family tour of Europe, he attempted suicide by taking a drug overdose, but escaped death. After this incident, Cobain became lonely with suicidal tendencies.
- Cobain goes for a detox program at the ‘Exodus Recovery Center’ in Los Angeles, California on March 30, 1994. The next night, he crossed the fence of the rehabilitation center and flew back to Seattle and spent the next few days walking around the city. (Kurt Cobain Bio)
- His friends and family members were unaware of his whereabouts. On April 8, his body was discovered by an electrician at his home on Lake Washington Boulevard. According to the coroner’s report, he died on 5 April 1994. He was only 27 years old.
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- A final ceremony in his honor was held by his mother on 31 May 1999, which was attended by Marander and Courtney Love. His ashes were scattered by his daughter Frances in a Buddhist ceremony in the MacLean Creek stream. (Kurt Cobain Biography)
- He is a well-known member of the ’27 Club’, a list of musicians and actors who died at the age of 27. Several books, documentaries and films based on the life and death of Cobain were released after his death.
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