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Icons in Focus: Kurt Cobain

Today we celebrate the birthday of the iconic Nirvana frontman, the late Kurt Cobain. He would have been 47.

Photo via Modern Art + Style

It’s no secret that Kurt Cobain, despite gaining an unprecedented amount of fame during and even beyond his lifetime, lived a troubled but all the same interesting life. As a youngster, Cobain was described as “happy and excitable, while sensitive and caring”; however, his disposition made a complete turnaround and he became rebellious and withdrawn, characteristics that apparently manifested following the divorce of his parents when he was seven years old. When he was in his early teens he started turning to drug use, a problem that hounded him for the rest of his life.

Despite this, Cobain was actually a gifted individual. At a very early age he displayed signs of interest and exemplary competence in music and the arts. One of his first songs, reportedly written when he was only four years old, was played with the piano and talked about a trip to the park. The walls of young Cobain’s bedroom served as his canvass, with accounts claiming that he used to draw his favorite characters from the movies and cartoons on them. When he was 14, his uncle gave him a used guitar with which he learned to play covers and, eventually, his own compositions. Cobain carried these talents throughout adulthood.

Cobain came from a family of musicians and artists. The Beatles was among his biggest musical influences. He loved listening to hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, and alternative bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Queen, Kiss, Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Melvins, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Sonic Youth, and R.E.M. among many others. As a songwriter Cobain drew inspiration from these influences, as well as from most of his previous experiences and romantic affairs.

Nirvana in 1993. Photo via Nirvana.com

Two years before forming Nirvana with bassist Krist Novoselic in 1987, Cobain was among the co-founders of the short-lived punk rock band Fecal Matter. Nirvana’s classic lineup comprised of Cobain, Novoselic, and Dave Grohl, and for the seven years that they were together, the grunge band was able to carve a name for itself in music history. It can’t be denied that to this day, Nirvana and its music remains relevant, having become not only a mere commercial and critical success but most of all one of the major influences that defined the ‘90s and an entire generation.

The Cobains. Photo via Biography

Toward the last five years of his life, Cobain became a family man after marrying fellow musician Courtney Love. 1992 saw the birth of their only child, Frances Bean. With Nirvana, Cobain attained massive mainstream success beginning from the release of their second album Nevermind. But fame came with a price, and Cobain had troubles dealing with it. At the same time, he also struggled with heroin addiction, illness, depression, and personal and professional pressures brought upon him and Love. In April 1994, Cobain was found dead with a shotgun wound to the head in his home in Seattle. Even in death people talked much about Cobain, with what was later on officially ruled as suicide becoming a subject of heavy debate and speculation up to this day.

Nevertheless, Cobain is remembered today as “the spokesman of a generation” and one of the most influential rock musicians in alternative music. He’s regarded as an icon of the Generation X, even hailed as high as being “a messiah and martyr…” in a written account by MSNBC’s Eric Olsen. Despite living for only 27 short years, it can’t be argued that Cobain certainly made an invaluable difference in music as we know it today.

Nirvana performing one of their biggest hits, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Video via NirvanaVEVO

All information in this article were sourced from Wikipedia.

Like this article? Check out the Icons in Focus and Today in History series in the Lomography magazine!

You might also want to check out these related articles: Today in History: Kurt Cobain’s 18th Death Anniversary, Kurt Cobain’s 17th Death Anniversary, The 27 Club: Music Greats Who Died at 27, and PYHOF: The 27 Club.

written by chooolss

2 comments

  1. kleinerkaries

    kleinerkaries

    who are the people on the third photo?

    6 months ago · report as spam
  2. chooolss

    chooolss

    Hey @kleinerkaries, it appears that I've uploaded the wrong photo! Just replaced it with the correct one featuring Kurt, Courtney, and Frances :)

    6 months ago · report as spam