Nirvana’s late leader Kurt Cobain was unapologetic in his adoration for The Beatles. They were a band that meant the world to him, but, there was one member in the group that he could relate to on a visceral level and declared his favourite part of The Fab Four.
Following Cobain’s tragic death in 1994, his bandmate Dave Grohl revealed during an appearance on BBC Radio 2 to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ iconic album Abbey Road that the 1965 song ‘In My Life’ holds a special place in his heart after the track played at Cobain’s funeral service. This act signifies just how high esteem The Beatles held in Kurt Cobain’s heart. His love for that song has altered how Grohl thinks of The Fab Four, and he can no longer listen to that song without being reminded of his old friend.
“It means a lot to me because it was the song that was played at Kurt Cobain’s memorial,” Grohl explained to Radio 2. “That day, after everyone had said their piece, this next song came over the speakers and everyone got to celebrate Kurt’s love of The Beatles one last time together.
“Still to this day, when I hear it, it touches a place in me that no other song ever will. It’s called ‘In My Life’ and knowing how much of a fan Kurt was of The Beatles, and how much of an influence they were, to everything we’ve done ever done… I’d like to play this one for him.”
Cobain, who once spoke about his love of The Beatles in an interview with Rolling Stone in 1993, professed about how Lennon being “disturbed” made him relate to the bespectacled Beatle. Although he didn’t hold back his less than favourable thoughts on Paul McCartney, stating: “John Lennon was definitely my favourite Beatle, hands down. I don’t know who wrote what parts of what Beatles songs, but Paul McCartney embarrasses me. Lennon was obviously disturbed [laughs]. So I could relate to that.”
The Nirvana frontman then continued: “From the books I’ve read — and I’m so sceptical of anything I read, especially in rock books. So I just felt really sorry for him. To be locked up in that apartment. Although he was totally in love with Yoko and his child, his life was a prison. He was imprisoned. It’s not fair. That’s the crux of the problem that I’ve had with becoming a celebrity — the way people deal with celebrities. It needs to be changed; it really does.”
Cobain then talked about the parallels between how he and Lennon struggled with coping with the dark side of fame: “No matter how hard you try, it only comes out like you’re bitching about it. I can understand how a person can feel that way and almost become obsessed with it. But it’s so hard to convince people to mellow out. Just take it easy, have a little bit of respect. We all shit.”
There are undoubtedly similarities between Kurt Cobain and John Lennon. Although their music was gravely different on the surface, their approach and attitude towards life were full of resemblance. They were both obscenely famous because of their immense talent, but the issues that came thanks to their respective bands’ success soured their lives, and they struggled to cope with the adjustment that fame had forced upon them. These two men’s stories are among the great tragedies of music, but their legacies will continue to live on for eternity.