A look back at the star on his 52nd birthday
Kurt Cobain would have turned 52 years old this week. Despite tragically dying at the young age of 27, Cobain’s impact on popular culture is still felt to this very day. Artists like XXXTentacion and Travis Scott cite Nirvana as a huge influence on their lives in and outside of music.
Stores like Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic sell clothes with the groups signature smiley face to this day. The group garners around 11 million listens a month on Spotify despite only having finished two studio albums in their short run of fame. Most, if not all, of these amazing feats can be attributed to Cobain and the mystique surrounding his legacy.
Cobain was best known as the lead singer of Nirvana and a voice of his generation. He would sing about his inner pain, his thoughts on society as a whole, and most importantly to him, he would make some incredibly catchy melodies. Kurt in many ways mirrored legends like Lennon and Marley in this way. He cared deeply for music and people, and found it to be one of the most important things in life.
However, unlike these legends, Cobain did not enjoy the limelight much at all. He would stay out of it whenever possible, and in the weeks leading up to his death discussed the idea of leaving Nirvana to start making more lowkey, acoustic tracks and collaborations with artists like Michael Stipe of R.E.M. By those closest to the tragic star, he was described as a very caring, kind person. One of his most famous quotes reflected as much.
“If you’re a sexist, racist, homophobe, or basically an asshole, don’t buy this CD. I don’t care if you like me, I hate you.”
Cobain the legend was seen as a different person, however. He is remembered more for what he believed in then how he was. Many don’t know about aspects of his life outside of him and his music. He has become more of an image than a person. For example, many people think Cobain found recreational drugs to be an okay way to deal with problems.
This cannot be further from the truth, as Cobain himself has a statue erected in his hometown that contains a bittersweet message from the icon. It proclaims, “Drugs are bad for you. They’ll f— you up.”
Cobain is considered by many to be the last true rockstar. He had a reach that few other people, let alone artists, have ever gained. Contemporary and Metallica member Lars Ulrich described it best when he said, “With Kurt Cobain you felt you were connecting to the real person, not to a perception of who he was — you were not connecting to an image or a manufactured cut-out.
“You felt that between you and him there was nothing — it was heart-to-heart. There are very few people who have that ability”. With Kurt Cobain’s death the world lost not only a legend, they lost a friend as well.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.