Kurt Cobain and his epoch making band, Nirvana, were the music definers of the Nineteen Nineties. They made grunge cool. They also made a lot of money and die-hard fans. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became an anthem all across the world. The quality of grunge was unparalleled, and the record executives could not get enough of Kurt.
The quantity of work that Nirvana put out wasn't as significant as their predecessors; this is what endeared them most to marketers. The band was still fresh, and great success was to come their way. Then Kurt died. He committed suicide at the age of 27, by shooting himself with a shotgun. Kurt was dead, the band imploded, and the dream was no more.
Kurt was born on the 20th of February 1967, in Hoquaim, a small town around 90 miles southwest of Seattle. His mother was a cocktail waitress, and his father was an auto mechanic. His parents divorced when he was seven. This had a lasting effect on him, and was the source of some of Nirvana's best music.
It was during this period that he met future Nirvana bassist Kris Novoselic. Both of them became great fans of the British punk-rock groups―Sex Pistols and Joy Division. Kurt formed a number of bands in the mid-eighties, before finally settling down with Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl as Nirvana.
In 1989, after playing a lot of shows and coming out with a number of demo tapes, they recorded their first album 'Bleach' for a local Seattle independent label called Sub-Pop. The promise in the band was unmistakable, and they were rewarded when Geffen bought out their contract.
Bleach got them a lot of recognition in Great Britain, but it was the next album 'Never Mind' that catapulted them onto the world stage. It included a series of different, crunching, and screaming songs. 'Never Mind' went on to sell ten million copies, and made $550 million, leaving Nirvana overnight millionaires.
The 24 year old Kurt Cobain was overwhelmed, and turned to heroin to deal with the constant attention and pressure. He found it difficult to deal with the fact that his lyrics were contorted by the fans as it suited them. One of the songs on Never Mind called 'Polly' was an anti-rape song, sung by 2 of his fans as they repeatedly raped a young girl.
In February 1992, Cobain married the already pregnant Courtney Love. Later in the year, Nirvana released 'Incesticide', which was followed by the birth of his daughter Frances Bean Cobain. In early 1993, 'In Utero' was released, and headed straight to the top of the charts.
'In Utero' was a lot more open than Nirvana's previous albums, and contained songs that were especially close to Kobain's heart. Apart from music, Kurt loved guns, and had several with him. The constant touring and heroin combined once led to him consuming close to fifty prescription painkillers with champagne. He was rushed to hospital in a coma.
On the 5th of April, 1994, Kurt's body was found sprawled in his house in Seattle by an electrician. He had committed suicide by shooting himself with his favorite shotgun. There was a note that was addressed to his wife and daughter.
In his suicide note, he alluded to two things that had brought him to suicide―the stomach pain that had haunted him for years together, and his agony over his music, about which he wrote, "don't have the passion anymore." The note ended with the words "I love you, I love you."
Two days after Kurt Cobain's body was found, close to 5,000 people gathered in Seattle for a candlelight vigil. The distraught crowd filled the air with profane chants, burnt their flannel shirts, and fought with police.
Even in death he was worth a lot of money. Cobain merchandise hit the stands in no time. The media created so much about his death, life. One senior music executive said, "The only thing that wasn't done for Kurt was putting him in a straitjacket, locking him in a room. But I'm sure that there are a lot of people who are thinking now - Why didn't I do that?"