‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, by Nirvana is one of the world’s most iconic songs ever written. Kurt Cobain’s classic vocal captured the feeling of a generation and has continued to fuel angst-ridden teenagers who believe in Mr Cobain more than anyone else. Hey, we’ve all been there.
Yet while Cobain’s vision, lyrics and vocals were one thing, Krist Novoselic’s nous for authenticity was another, much of the song’s success can be pinned under the name of Dave Grohl, the band’s imperious drummer.
Cobain has said that the song gave Nirvana the proverbial gateway into mainstream and stated he was even trying to write the “ultimate pop song” when composing the song. Lyrically the song is a perfect balance of the anthemic and the intricate, something mirrored in Grohl’s performance.
Released in 1991 on September 10 from album Nevermind the iconic song initially didn’t chart and only really had an impact on the band’s fanbase at the time. But soon enough ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ began finding airtime on local radio stations and across the country the song began to pick up notoriety. When it hit MTV everything changed.
Suddenly the group would find themselves in the blinding glare of the spotlight. Their album began to fly off the shelves and they were given prime spots on late-night TV shows. They quickly rose up the charts and Nirvana’s name had been set in stone as the forefront of this new thing called grunge. The legend will go down in the history of music and none of it would’ve been possible without that song.
Dave Grohl, lead singer of Foo Fighters, way before the Foos were even an idea was, of course, Nirvana’s iconic drummer. As much as Cobain’s vocals it was his powerful drumming style the moved the band on. Their previous drummer Chad Channing had been a more than the respectable player but Grohl entered the fray as a man possessed. A relative kid, the young drummer was another face of generation X making his name.
Often overshadowed by the legacy Cobain left behind, Grohl’s contribution to the band should not be forgotten. When you get down to it and listen to the precise and powerful percussion with the help of the isolated drum track below, it is easy to see how the song is given extra weight by Grohl.
Often classed as the reason Nirvana eventually ‘made it’ out of the Seattle underground scene, his drumming is the perfect punctuation to Cobain’s words. The track has so much force behind it, it hooks in whole generations.
Right from the get-go ‘Teen Spirit” starts with a drum fill that is instantly recognisable. He doesn’t hold back, and he never gives up, dropping bomb after bomb and enjoying every furious minute of it. Listen below to Dave Grohl’s isolated drum track on Nirvana’s anthemic ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.