20th Anniversary of the Beginning of Nirvana's Nevermind

05/02/2011
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On this day in 1991, Nirvana entered Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California with producer Butch Vig and a budget of $65,000 to record their album Nevermind. Gibson takes a look back: Nearly 20 years after its release, the impact of Nirvana's groundbreaking album Nevermind still reverberates in the music industry. It can be strongly argued that it is the single-most influential album in the history of recorded music. Hyperbole? Not even remotely, not when you consider just how suddenly the paradigm of popular rock music that had remained relatively static from the mid-'80s through very early '90s, was shattered by an album in particular, a song from a little-known alternative band from Seattle.

Formed by singer-songwriter-guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic, Nirvana released their debut album Bleach in 1989 on the indie Sub Pop label. Their drummer at the time, Chad Channing, was replaced in 1990 by former Scream drummer and future Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl. Cobain and Novoselic had seen Grohl perform at a Scream show, and they were more than impressed.

At the time, Cobain had been growing weary of the heavier rock sound so prevalent in the grunge scene in Seattle. He'd been listening to groups like R.E.M. and the Pixies, and his writing was evolving as he experimented with infusing more melody into his songs. In 1990 Nirvana released the single "Sliver," which Cobain later remarked "was like a statement in a way. I had to write a pop song and release it on a single to prepare people for the next record. I wanted to write more songs like that." more on this story

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