15 Great Kurt Cobain Moments

February 20, 2019

February 20th, 2019 marks what would have been Kurt Cobain's 52nd birthday. So to celebrate the life and legacy of Nirvana's short, yet impactful life, we wanted to share some of his most classic moments.

  1. The time Nirvana overly-faked their "Top of the Pops" performance

    Nirvana was booked to perform on the UK show Top Of The Pops. However, the program had a policy that all of their musical acts had to perform using pre-recorded instrumental tracks. The result was Cobain playing his guitar like an animatronic character from Chuck E. Cheese while singing like Morrissey, Novoselic thrashed around on his bass, and Grohl just wailed his drumsticks around in the background.

  2. The time he wore pajamas to his own wedding

    Kurt and Courtney Love were married in Honolulu, HI on February 24th, 1992 on Waikiki Beach. Love, who was pregnant at the time, wore a dress that belonged to actress Frances Farmer. Cobain admitted to being "too lazy to wear a tux" showed up wearing his green checkered pajamas and a Guatamalan purse thrown over his shoulder.
  3. The time he laughed off his feud with Axl Rose

    Backstage at the 1992 MTV VMAs, Cobain and his wife Courtney Love were joking around when they asked Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses to be the godfather of their child. Rose, unamused, told Cobain "You better keep your wife's mouth shut, you embarass everybody." In response Cobain jokingly turned to Love and said, "Shut up, bitch."

  4. The time he worked as a janitor for the school he went to

    Before touring the world as one of the greatest rock stars on the planet, Cobain worked as a janitor at Aberdeen High School (where he used to attend). After cleaning toilets and mopping floors, Cobain saved enough money to pay for Nirvana's demo recordings. The janitor seen in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video is a reference to Cobain's previous job.
  5. The time he fed his daughter during an interview

    In a 1992 interview with MTV, Kurt let Krist and Dave do most of the talking while he was occupied feeding his newborn daughter Frances Bean. Although he does jump in the conversation when the topic turns to their run-in with Axl Rose. “He was threatening to beat me up and I couldn’t help but laugh because I hadn’t been in that situation since I was in sixth grade.”

  6. The time he wore a dress to the Headbangers Ball

    A month after the release of Nevermind, Kurt and Krist appeared on the metal talk show The Headbangers Ball, hosted by Riki Rachtman. In celebration, Cobain appeared wearing a bright-yellow gown. It is a ball after all. The only downside is that Kirst never got Kurt a corsage.

  7. The time he arrived onstage in a wheelchair

    Before their headlining set at the Reading Festival, Cobain was the subject of many tabloid headlines for being "unwell" following his recent stint through rehab. In response, Cobain was wheeled onstage in a wheelchair and then grabbed the microphone to recite a line from Bette Midler's "The Rose" and feigned a collapse. He then promptly stood right up and played through their set.

  8. The time Nirvana tore up the set on The Jonathan Ross Show

    In 1991 when they were scheduled to perform on The Jonathan Ross Show, Nirvana was expected to perform a live version of "Lithium." Instead the band decided to rage through a performance of "Territorial Pissings" before smashing their gear to bits. Ross ended the show by reminding audiences that Nirvana was "available for children's parties and bar mitzvahs."

  9. The time he gave his wife a shoutout on television

    Just before entering their performance of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the British late night show The Word, Cobain gave his wife a little love by saying, "I'd like all of you people in this room to know that Courtney Love, the lead singer of the sensational pop group Hole, is the best f**k in the world." That's love right there.

  10. The time he made out with Kirst Novoselic on Saturday Night Live

    1992 was Nirvana's year. Nevermind knocked Michael Jackson's Dangerous out from the No. 1 slot on the Billboard charts and they appeared as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live. Cobain said it was to annoy the "rednecks and homophobes" in their hometown of Aberdeen, WA. And just like in SNL fashion, it was all a joke.

  11. The time he trolled MTV Execs a heart attack at the VMAs

    Before their appearance at the 1992 MTV VMAs, the band was threatened with being removed from the night's lineup if they did not perform "Smells Like Teen Spirit." MTV executives went so far as to threaten to fire employee (and friend of the band) Amy Finnery if they played "Rape Me" instead. Both parties compromised and everyone agreed they would perform "Lithium" instead. But Cobain got the last laugh in when he began playing the opening riff to "Rape Me" before transitioning into "Lithium."

  12. The time he made fun of Rolling Stone while on the cover of Rolling Stone

    Appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine is a huge deal for any artist. But when Nirvana was tasked with appearing in the April 1992 edition for their cover story, they were originally supposed to be wearing Brooks Brothers suits. Cobain refused to portray himself as something he isn't. and instead wore a white t-shirt under his green cardigan with the message "Corporate Magazines Still Suck" written on it.

  13. The time Nirvana played none of their hit songs in their MTV Unplugged performance

    What became the most iconic "unplugged" performance, Nirvana turned the formula for MTV Unplugged by refusing to play any of their mainstream hit songs and instead performed acoustic versions of "Come As You Are", "Polly" and covers of David Bowie and Lead Belly.

  14. The time he and Krist got into a guitar duel

    The 1991 fan-shot video shows Cobain and Novoselic onstage weilding their guitars like two-handed swords. Despite the feedback, the duo resumes their duel. The only real victims of this bout were Nirvana's guitar techs.

  15. The time he got kicked out of his own album release party

    Yes. According to Charles R. Cross, author of the Kurt Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven, the journalist recalls the time when Cobain began a foot fight at their release party for Nevermind by throwing ranch dressing at Novoselic. As a result, Cobain, Novoselic and one unnamed individual were removed from the venue.