Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain is remembered on his 25th death anniversary
Kurt Cobain Musical Legacy in Nirvana
Decades after Kurt Cobain guttural rasp seduced Generation X from its collective bedroom and into the post-punk clubs of 1990s Seattle, the late Nirvana front man remains a talisman for the young and disaffected the world over.
It is a quarter-century on Thursday, April 4 since grunge’s reluctant poster boy took his own life at the age of just 27, and Kurt Cobain former manager Danny Goldberg says he’s finally ready to reflect publicly on the legacy of an enigma and a pioneer.
In Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain published this week to mark the anniversary Goldberg remembers a Cobain ahead of his time, whose quick wit and humanity shone through the brooding melancholy.
“The impression of him in the media had become a little distorted and focused disproportionately on his death, and not as much on his life and his artwork,” Goldberg said.
“He was an incredibly soulful singer; his voice conveyed a vulnerability and an intimacy that’s rare,” the manager told AFP.
“He tuned into something that helped people feel less like freaks, less alone.”
Kurt Cobain is a legend. This emphatic quality ensured that the songwriter’s work remained relevant, Goldberg said, even to teenagers born after Kurt Cobain death, a world away from the drizzly Pacific Northwest of his formative years.
And the universality of the singer’s appeal is the reason that T-shirts with the band’s classic blank-eyed smiley logo can be seen wherever teenagers gather, from Toledo to Tokyo.
“He’s one of a handful of artists whose art transcends his time,” said Goldberg.
The cult of Kurt Cobain
The depressive but singular talent who grew up in the misty woods two hours west of Seattle morphed into a rock god seemingly overnight, when Never mind, Nirvana’s second of 3 studio albums, catapulted the alt rock group to stratospheric fame and spawned the cult of Kurt Cobain.
Goldberg met Kurt Cobain in 1990, when Nirvana were up and coming but hoping to take their unique blend of scruffy punk, raw metal and Beatles-inspired melodies mainstream.
Never-mind did just that, becoming one of the most successful albums of all time, with 30 million copies sold worldwide. The instant classic booted pop star Michael Jackson from the top of the US charts and saw Nirvana shift the course of pop culture, inspiring music, fashion and ethos.