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Kurt Cobain’s mother recalls the first time she heard 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'


At a time when live music appears nothing but a distant memory amid strict social distancing measures, the current health crisis has offered us the opportunity to dive into the Far Out Magazine archives to remember some of our favourite aspects of iconic acts gone by. Here, we look at those closely connected to Nirvana and, more specifically, the band’s uncompromising frontman Kurt Cobain.

Cobain’s mother, Wendy Cobain, once retold the story of how she first came to listen to the now-legendary Nirvana track ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. The song, which arrived as the opening track and lead single from the band’s second album Nevermind, was ultimately released on DGC Records and is undoubtedly Nirvana’s biggest hit.

Recalling the time she heard the material for the first time, Wendy Cobain explained how her son was typically modest before playing the track on the family stereo: “‘Mom, can I put a tape on the stereo? It’s my recording’,” she remembered him asking on a Sunday during a visit home.

“You’ve been here for three days… I’m just hearing about this now?” she said in reply. Kurt then offered to keep the volume down because his stepfather was watching football, but she told him: “You don’t need to hear football. Turn it up!” with clear excitement.

Wendy also explains how she warned her son of the impending success of the band, saying it will “take him to the moon and back” and added how she feared he wasn’t ready for the fame, a key aspect which would tragically prove to be painfully true.