Origin: Aberdeen, Washington

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Genres: alternative rock, indie rock, post-punk

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Nirvana was a band started by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic who went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990.

This band is a generational marker and produced three studio albums in seven years. Cobain’s death certificate stated that his death was a result of a “contact perforating shotgun wound to the head” and concluded that his death was a suicide. The report estimated that Cobain died on Tuesday, April 5, 1994 at 7:27 am.

In the late 1980s, Nirvana established itself as part of the Seattle grunge scene, releasing its first album, Bleach, for the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989. They developed a sound that relied on dynamic contrasts, often between quiet verses and loud, heavy choruses. After signing to major label DGC Records, Nirvana found unexpected success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the first single from the band’s second album Nevermind (1991).

Nirvana’s third studio album, In Utero (1993), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart and featured an abrasive, less mainstream sound and challenged the group’s audience.

Various posthumous releases have been issued since the death of Cobain, overseen by Novoselic, Grohl, and Cobain’s widow Courtney Love. Since its debut, the band has sold over 25 million records in the United States alone, and over 75 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time.

Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, in its first year of eligibility.

At Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party in 2016, the surviving members of Nirvana once again reunited to perform the David Bowie song “The Man Who Sold the World” that they’d covered on their Unplugged album. Beck joined the band to play acoustic guitar and handle lead vocals.

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Bleach (1989)
Nevermind (1991)
In Utero (1993)
Incesticide (1992)(Compilation)
Nirvana (2002)(Compilation)