The Day Nirvana Unplugged

(Gibson) On this day in 1993, Nirvana recorded their MTV Unplugged special at Sony Studios, New York. Gibson takes a look back: In their early days, Nirvana and MTV Unplugged sort of ran parallel paths.

Nirvana released their debut album on indie label Sub Pop in 1989. MTV Unplugged, conceived as an acoustic showcase for musicians, debuted on its namesake cable channel in 1989, with performances from Squeeze, Syd Straw and Elliot Easton. Two years later, Unplugged became a bigger deal, with high profile shows featuring Paul McCartney and LL Cool J. Around the same time in 1991, Nirvana became one of the biggest bands in the world with the release of Nevermind and the angsty anthem "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

From that moment, MTV producers were dead set on getting Nirvana to do an Unplugged show for the network. Kurt Cobain and Co. resisted initially, mostly because they weren't too thrilled with the series. Drummer Dave Grohl remembers: "We'd seen the other Unpluggeds and didn't like many of them, because most bands would treat them like rock shows play their hits like it was Madison Square Garden except with acoustic guitars."

In the meantime, both Nirvana and Unplugged continued to gain fame. Nirvana continued to release hits off Nevermind and toured the world. Unplugged drew bigger and bigger stars such as Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton (who won Grammys for his Unplugged performance) and Nirvana's grunge pals Pearl Jam. Finally, in the fall of 1993, following the release of In Utero and while on tour with the Meat Puppets, the band agreed to play Unplugged. more on this story

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Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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