With just four chords and unintelligible lyrics, Nirvana stirred a tidal wave of grunge that crashed over the mainstream.
Grunge existed before Kurt Cobain came along, but it took his self-destructive poetry and unbridled charisma to unleash the unique amalgam of Sabbath-inspired sludge, Pixies-esque dynamics and arena-sized hooks upon the masses beyond the Pacific Northwest. Along with bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, the trio was a revelation in 1991 – a time when radio was dominated by corporate rock (Bryan Adams) and innocuous rap (MC Hammer). Their unexpected level of success may have set forth a series of events that would ultimately lead to Cobain’s suicide in 1994, but Nirvana’s legacy isn’t shrouded in darkness – the energy and originality of their music (released during just a four-year span) will forever signify a world of possibility.
Read More: Worst to First: Every Nirvana Album Ranked