Classic Music Videos of the 90’s

Story behind Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit

Performed by “Nirvana”
Written by Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl
Produced by Butch Vig
Song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nevermind (1991)
Music Video Director “Samuel Bayer”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” not only catapulted the band Nirvana to success in 1991 but also made lead singer Kurt Cobain a prominent figure in the world, has been voted the most “iconic song” of all time.

Released in 1991, Smells like teen spirit of Nirvana was the first single from the album Nevermind, and since then has remained in the memory of many listeners, with a riff that It gets into your head very easily. Have you ever wondered what the meaning of Smells Like Teen Spirit? You have get to sing it over and over again, to dance and to listen to, but maybe you’ve never dwelled on what is hidden in the lines of the text. We must say that this song was widely acclaimed by critics, winning two MTV Video Music Awards for their classic music video. This song was so popular at the 90’s that it was renamed “the anthem of the apathetic children” of the infamous Generation X became in time one of the greatest songs in rock history. To talk about the significance of Smells Like Teen Spirit, we see first how did this song: the same Kurt Cobain said in an interview with Rolling Stone that was an attempt to recreate the style of the Pixies, a band that greatly admired.

The inspiration for the title of the song comes from Katthleen Hanna (friend of Kurt Cobain and singer of Bikini Kill) wrote with spray paint on the wall of Kurt’s house marked “Kurt smells like teen spirit”. The phrase was intended to refer to a deodorant, called “Teen Spirit”.

Not only this song is known for classic music video, even the cover image of the album Nevermind has become an icon, with the newborn baby swimming behind a banknote an image basically simple, but so full of meaning to become iconographic of an entire era.

The video was directed by Samuel Bayer (who later would be in charge of the direction of videos of Smashing Pumpkins and Green Day), and is notable by its surreal staging, inspired by the film of 1979 Over the Edge, one of Cobain’s favorites. The video showed the band playing in a gymnasium meeting at a school, surrounded by cheerleaders, wearing black dresses with the anarchic symbol of the A with a circle, rather than a mascot of the team or school.

The video ends with the “students” destroying the place and equipment of the band. Two days before the recording of the video, the band invited several of the extras that would act in its video to attend a concert in the Roxy Theater of Los Angeles.


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