Remembering Kurt Cobain: Twenty Nirvana Covers

Rob Slater on April 5, 2014

They say (“they” as in Charles Caleb Colton) that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Although Nirvana was only a band for seven years, essentially ending twenty years ago today following Kurt Cobain’s suicide, their influence inspired a generation of youth just aching for a hero. Arcade Fire’s Win Butler recently stated it perfectly, when he said that the band’s breakout hit Nevermind made “misfit kids” feel like they were on the same level as everyone else. “I was sort of like a weird kid who didn’t know where I fit in or whatever and just to have that kind of voice be that big in culture, I feel like that was a magical period of alternative music where we had Jane’s Addiction and R.E.M. and Nirvana, it was like seeing these kind of freaks from all the different cities of North America and you’re like, ‘oh wow’.”

While we await Nirvana’s waltz into rock and roll immortality later this week, as the surviving members of the band enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, here are twenty Nirvana covers from twenty various artists spanning all genres, influences, age groups, etc. Few bands have aged in absence like Nirvana, generating a catalog that is truly timeless. While Kurt isn’t around to witness his great work, he, like most fallen idols, lives on through the music. As the left-handed guitarist once said, “if it’s illegal to rock and roll, then throw my ass in jail!” Well said, Kurt. Enjoy some of your favorite Nirvana tunes as seen through the eyes of the performers, all of whom grew up inspired by the quirky trio (and eventually a quartet) from Seattle.

Tori Amos: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Deer Tick: “Breed”

Muse: “School”/”Endless Nameless” Jam

Herbie Hancock: “All Apologies”

Umphrey’s McGee: “In Bloom”

Civil Twilight: “Come As You Are”

Weezer: “Breed”

Lana Del Rey: “Heart Shaped Box”

Ben Gibbard: “All Apologies”

The Disco Biscuits: “Lithium”

Phish: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

John McCauley: “All Apologies”

Best Coast: “About a Girl”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “Lithium”

Imagine Dragons: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Metallica & Lou Reed: “Aneurysm”

Seether: “You Know You’re Right”

John Frusciante: “Lounge Act”

Walk Off the Earth: “Polly”

Miley Cyrus: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”