Saturday, April 5, 2014

It Was 20 Years Ago Today.

On April 5, 1994 Kurt Cobain committed a shotgun suicide, which effectively killed himself, his band Nirvana, the so-called "grunge" movement, & the classic era of '90s alternative rock.

Nirvana was the unlikely spearhead of the fourth generation of rock & roll, taking their place in line after Elvis in the 1950s, The Beatles in the 1960s, & The Sex Pistols in the 1970s. They remain the last group to "save" rock & roll by bringing it back to its basics like the artists listed above. When Nirvana's Nevermind supplanted Michael Jackson's Dangerous as the #1 album in early 1992, it was more than just a fluke occurrence, but a changing of the guards from the old standbys of the 1980s to the new revolutionaries of the 1990s.

As "Smells Like Teen Spirit" propelled Nirvana to the forefront of rock music, other alternative acts began appearing everywhere—newer bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, & Stone Temple Pilots, as well as grunge stalwarts like Mudhoney & Sonic Youth. But Nirvana remained head & shoulders above the others, producing the best music, meaning the most culturally, & becoming the most influential band (&, as some like to tell it, "The Voice Of A Generation").

In the early 1990s, everyone knew a Nirvana song just like everyone knew a Beatles song in the '60s & a Michael Jackson '80s. It was the last time that a group collectively grabbed an audience. As Lester Bangs wrote when trying to sum up the cultural significance of Elvis' death, he said that Elvis was the last thing that we agreed on, & so, he wasn't going to say goodbye to Elvis, but to his fellow rock fan.

The same is true for Kurt Cobain.

So I will not say goodbye to Kurt Cobain. I will say goodbye to you.

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