Pop Culture

Kurt Cobain: 20 years gone, still just a click away

Twenty years after the death of Kurt Cobain, a spotlight still manages to shine brightly on the Nirvana frontman, thanks in part to technology and an Internet audience that didn't exist in 1994.

Certainly the music Cobain made and the impact Nirvana had on rock music in the early 1990s is why we remember the singer. But the Internet, and social media in particular, have changed how we remember, whether an idolized rock star has been dead for 20 years or 20 minutes.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Uncredited / Kim Cobain

    Kurt Cobain

    Kurt Cobain

    The Nirvana frontman rocked the world, all too briefly, in the grunge-heavy early 1990s before taking his life at the age of 27.

  • Kurt Cobain

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    The kid Cobain -

    Kurt Cobain is pictured in his childhood home in Aberdeen, Wash., in an undated photo provided by his sister, Kim Cobain. Twenty years after the Nirvana singer's death, Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, is putting the two-story Aberdeen bungalow -- which is assessed at less than $67,000 -- on the market for $500,000. But she'd also be happy entering into a partnership with anyone who wants to turn it into a museum.

    AP / AP
  • NIRVANA  COBAIN NOVOSELIC GROHL

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    3 for the show -

    Cobain, right, poses with his Nirvana bandmates, drummer Dave Grohl, center, and bassist Krist Novoselic in 1991. Both went on to make more music after the death of their frontman, with Grohl finding great success as the leader of the Foo Fighters.

    AP / AP
  • Photo of Eugene KELLY and Kurt COBAIN and NIRVANA

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Reading to rock -

    Cobain performs with Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines onstage at the Reading Festival in Reading, England on Aug. 23, 1991.

    Redferns / Redferns
  • USA - Nirvana in Swimming Pool in Los Angeles

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Things are going swimmingly -

    Grohl, Novoselic and Cobain pose for an underwater portrait during an October 1991 photo shoot in North Hollywood, Calif. The band's second album, "Nevermind," with a cover featuring a baby swimming after a dollar bill on a fish hook, was released on Sept. 24, 1991.

    © Kirk Weddle/Corbis / © Kirk Weddle/Corbis
  • KURT COBAIN

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Smoking guitar player -

    Cobain once told Guitar World magazine in an interview that he preferred low-end guitar models because that's what he could afford, and as a left-handed player it wasn't easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality guitars.

    AP / AP
  • Kurt Cobain Performs At MTV Awards

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Did he ever really want his MTV? -

    Cobain performs with Nirvana at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 1992.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: File photo of Kurt Cobain arriving with wife Courtney Love, holding their daughter Frances Bean Cobain, for the MTV Music Awards show in Los Angeles

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Say hi to Axl -

    Cobain arrives for the MTV Video Music Awards with wife Courtney Love, holding their daughter Frances Bean, in Los Angeles on Sept. 9, 1992. The event was notable because of a backstage feud between Cobain, Love and Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • 1992 MTV Video Music Awards

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Smells like a couple VMA wins -

    Cobain poses with Grohl and Novoselic at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. Nirvana won the awards for best new artist and best alternative video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit." They lost to Van Halen's "Right Now" for video of the year.

    FilmMagic / FilmMagic
  • Image:

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Rising rock star -

    Cobain surfs over the crowd during a Nirvana show in Frankfurt, Germany, on Dec. 11, 1991.

    Paul Bergen via Getty Images / Paul Bergen via Getty Images
  • Kurt Cobain

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    Smile for the camera -

    Cobain is pictured in a 1993 file photo. "I'm a much happier guy than a lot of people think I am," the rocker once told Rolling Stone.

    AP / AP
  • MTV Unplugged: Nirvana

    Kurt Cobain

    of

    'Unplugged' Cobain -

    Cobain performs in New York for MTV "Unplugged" on Nov. 18, 1993. The acoustic performance featured, among others, cover versions of songs by The Vaselines, David Bowie, Meat Puppets and Lead Belly.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Kurt Cobain

    of

    A sad goodbye -

    Cobain's body is taken to a medical examiner's van after the Nirvana singer was found dead at his Seattle home on April 8, 1994. Police determined that he died three days earlier of a self-inflicted shotgun wound. A suicide note was found next to his body. He was 27 years old.

    AP / AP

Growing up in the age of Nirvana and grunge music meant getting yourself to a live show or sitting in front of MTV if you wanted to see the band perform. Today, there's a sizable collection of videos on YouTube, including stylized mainstays such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Heart Shaped Box" and raw live versions of "Breed" and "Negative Creep." There are also numerous songs from the ever-popular, cover-filled "Unplugged" session.

Twitter is another place to go a for a hashtagged remedy to fill your Nirvana void. Media outlets around the world are publishing varying forms of remembrances, and SPIN magazine tweeted out a link to its 1994 cover story on Cobain's death. KEXP in Seattle paid tribute to the singer on Friday and tweeted a blog post featuring videos of Nirvana covering other people's songs. The Grammys' feed pointed us to a unique collection of 10 songs in which Cobain was name-dropped by other artists.

View+our+list+of+10+songs+that+name-check+#KurtCobain+http://t.co/C0vlqXaVLI+pic.twitter.com/XrapZ1F6NP

—+The+GRAMMYs+(@TheGRAMMYs)+April+4,+2014+

Seattle photographer Charles Peterson, who made a career out of capturing Nirvana and the music scene that spawned a worldwide phenomenon, shared 10 rare and unseen Cobain images with Billboard. In a Q&A with the mag, Peterson explained why he thought Cobain and Nirvana had remained so important. "I think that grunge and Nirvana was this last big musical movement before everything was virtually connected in real time all the time. Now things just move so quickly that there's really no ability for something to bubble up organically and be meaningful, not for an entire generation or world."

At least a new generation is still reacting positively to Cobain's lasting legacy. A viral video posted last month by TheFineBros Youtube site offered a glimpse at what teens today think when they hear Nirvana. "I've heard this song before" and "Who doesn't love Nirvana?" should be sweet music to the ears of anyone who worries about whether the music holds up among the Miley generation.

A post on the photo app Trover aims to give viewers a virtual tour of Seattle's grunge landmarks with the "spaces and places critical to this era" in the history of music.

Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Wash., paid tribute to him on his Feb. 20 birthday with the unveiling of an awkward crying statue. The town already has a Kurt Cobain Park, and some would like to turn his childhood home into a museum. A video which surfaced on YouTube last month offered a look inside.

The nearby town of Hoquiam, Wash., where Cobain lived briefly, will hold its Nirvana Day on April 10, the same day the band is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And finally, cartoonist Ward Sutton, in a piece for the Village Voice, preferred to imagine what Cobain's life would have been like if he'd chosen not to kill himself. "In Bloom: The Alternate History of Kurt Cobain" draws on the years Cobain has missed and how his presence might have humorously impacted them.




0:00
 
0:00
Your video begins in
0:00
TOP