The Day Nirvana Began Nevermind

(Gibson) On this day in 1991, Nirvana booked into Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California, for 16 days. On a budget of $65,000 and with Butch Vig producing, the band started recording what would become the Nevermind album. Gibson looks 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."

Nirvana's Sub Pop indie label was having a tough time financially, so the band began kicking around the idea of signing with a major label. There was interest on a number of fronts, especially from the Geffen Records imprint DGC Records, who eventually signed the band. By the spring of 1990, Nirvana was shoring up songs for the second album. Deciding to use Butch Vig as their producer, and with a recording budget of $65,000, they went into Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California on this day in 1991. more on this story

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