Happy Birthday, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'!
Where has the time gone? On this day 22 years ago, the world was introduced to Nirvana's unexpectedly successful single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
The song, which was the first track released from the band's groundbreaking second album, "Nevermind," drove sales of the young band's record, spreading the "Seattle sound" to every corner of the country. It's now considered an iconic rock hit.
But at the time, the band had no idea how huge it (and they) would become. Kurt Cobain penned the song just weeks before the band hit the studio to record the album, and initially, Krist Novoselic was not impressed.
"[Cobain] had this riff...and he was doing that over and over again," Novoselic told MTV, noting that he suggested they slow it down.
"And that was it. The song was done."
The name of the song is attributed to Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, who wrote "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit," on the bedroom wall while drunk on "cheap wine," Novoselic explained. The line was a reference to the deodorant, which Tobi Vail, her bandmember and Cobain's then-girlfriend, frequently wore. Cobain liked the line -- and, rumor has it, didn't actually know that the name "Teen Spirit" referred to an inexpensive product marketed at young females.
Cobain, who was uncomfortable with the among of attention Nirvana received due to the single's success, would often refuse to play the song in concert; recently, though, his bandmates have revisited the song since then. After playing it for the first time in 17 years in 2011, drummer Dave Grohl noted that it was "like a ghost."
Part of the bass Novoselic played in the music video was auctioned off last year at Christie's in London. The price was set between $25,000 and $40,000, though the official sale price was never listed publicly.