Kurt Cobain was a talented yet troubled grunge singer who revolutionized the music world with his band Nirvana. In 1988, he started the band which made the leap to a major label in 1991, when it signed with Geffen Records and released their breakthrough 1991 album Nevermind. The band released its highly acclaimed album In Utero in 1993. Cobain tragically took his own life at the age of 27, killing himself with a shotgun, after struggling with drugs and depression during the hype of Nirvana.He was married to his wife Courtney Love and they share a daughter.
Early Life and Troubled Youth
Born on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington, Kurt Cobain was born as Kurt Donald Cobain to parents Wendy Elizabeth, a waitress and Donald Leland Cobain, an automotive mechanic. Growing up in a small logging town of Aberdeen, he showed a keen interest in art and music. He is American by nationality and regarding his ethnicity; he is of mixed descent: Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish.
Kurt Cobain belonged to the family whose roots were actively involved in the music industry. Hence his inspiration to become a musician came from his grandmother Iris Cobain, an artist by profession. He was interested in music from a very early age. He began playing the piano at the age of four and started singing very young around 2.
He enjoyed playing kiddie drum kit which his parents had given him and began listening to songs like Motorcycle Song by Arlo Gutherie, The Beatles, Hey Jude, Seasons in the Sun and many more.
Kurt Cobain is survived by three siblings; brother Chad Cobain and sisters, Brianne and Kimberly Cobain. He had a happy childhood until his parents divorced when he was just nine. The divorce led Cobain to transform himself as he started becoming more aggressive and withdrawn. In a 1993 interview, he said:
“I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents. I couldn't face some of my friends at school anymore, because I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years because of that.”
After the divorce Cobain went on to live with his father as his father gained the primary custody of his son. On the weekends he would visit his biological mother and his sisters. His behavior became more rude and insolent after he saw his mother suffer in the hands of her second husband who was physically abusive.
From his mid-teens, Cobain started experimenting with drugs. He became rebellious that led him to leave his father's house and live with his relatives. During that time he once became a devoted Christain but later abandoned the religion. He then went on to live with his mother during his high school. At the time, his mother was living with her boyfriend Pat O'Connor.
Cobain impressed teachers and students by singing and performing in various school’s events during his high school years. However, just when he was about to complete graduation, he dropped out of Aberdeen High School. In reaction to his shocking behavior, his mother gave him a difficult choice: find a job or leave.
He left his mother's home and went on living at different places. He once said how he lived under a bridge over the Wishkah River, revealing that the harsh experience inspired him to write the song "Something In the Way." He spent time sleeping in apartment building hallways and a hospital waiting room when he did not have any other place to shelter himself. At the time, he also attended church services.
Cobain was arrested with some of his friends in July 1985, for spray painting on buildings in town. His friends were able to fend off the police, but he got caught and was kept in jail before receiving a fine and a suspended sentence for his actions.
After his release, Cobain went on to start his first band, Fecal Matter. He recorded a few songs along with other band members, but they never performed any songs. The following year, he was involved in another trouble with the law when he was found wandering around an abandoned building drunk at night.
He was charged with legal action and spent several days in jail, following his release. He then started playing music with bassist Krist Novoselic. His younger brother Robert introduced him to the bassist. Soon after that, they joined a local drummer Aaron Burckhard in their music. In 1987, they played their first gig at a house party.
Formation Of Band Nirvana
Cobain after rough paths was eventually able to make his rock ambition come true. In 1988 he settled on the name of his group as Nirvana. The band began with their first single Love Buzz which was released by a small label Sub Pop Records.
Cobain’s popularity in the Seattle music scene was growing, when they finally released their first album, Bleach, in 1989. The album had a signature sound and it showcased their punk base as well.
After a year, Cobain met his match in an edgy rocker Courtney Love during a show at the Portland, Oregon nightclub Satyricon. In the same year, he got an opportunity to know some of his rock and roll heroes while the band was on the tour with the Sonic Youth.
After returning from the tour, they found a replacement for Crover by Dave Grohl who had played with Washington, D.C., hardcore band Scream. Their major accomplishment was made in 1991 when they made an agreement with Geffen Records. By the same year, they released Nevermind that spearheaded a music revolution.
Rapid Rise and Struggle with Drugs
The Smells Like Teen Spirit was the single by Nirvana which became the first alternative-rock album to gain widespread popularity and helped to take the entire album to the top of the charts too. Soon, he also became one of the best songwriters of his generation.
In the early 1990s, Cobain had begun using heroin which provided some relief for his chronic stomach problems. In September 1993, another Nirvana's highly acclaimed album In Utero was released and gained huge success peaking at the top of the album charts.
The single is all about his struggles and bitter life experiences. He took another leap in the recording industry through his Radio Friendly Unit Shifter. In November 1993, he played a gig with the band in New York City for MTV's Unplugged series and toured Europe.
Following his came back to the USA, Cobain became a hermit who spent most of his time alone and high. On March 18, 1994, Love informed the police to report that Cobain was suicidal. According to the police report, he had locked himself in a room with some guns and medicines. After that, the police took the guns and the medications for their safety.
David Fricke of Rolling Stone announced that Cobain became the 12th greatest guitarist of all time in 2003. He was reached the number seven in the MTV 22 Greatest Voices in Music list. The non-profit organization, Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee put up a sign in Aberdeen, Washington, saying “Come As You Are” in Cobain’s honor in 2004.
Post the sell-off Nirvana song catalogue, Cobain became the highest-earning deceased celebrity beating Elvis Presley; but later Elvis replaced him in 2007. A book “Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana” was published by Azerrad. The book chronicled Nirvana's career from its beginning and the personal histories of the band members.
Net Worth and Height
Curt Cobain had an average height of 1.75m (5ft 9inch).
According to TheRichest, Cobain had a net worth of $100 million, as of February 2018. And Cobain’s estimated net worth is $50 million, as per Celebrity Net Worth. As of 2014, all of his estates is around $450 million. His wife Love earns more than $100,000 per month in royalties, publishing rights, and investment dividends.
According to Dave Bakula, Cobain formed the band Nirvana, in Aberdeen, Wash., in the late 1980s, sold 350,000 albums in 2013 and 900,000 singles. Reportedly, Nirvana's’ music made a total profit of around $4.4 million in 2013, with an average of $10 per album and $1 per single.
Larry Mestel reportedly bought $50 million a stake in the publishing rights of Nirvana's music from Cobain's widow, rocker Courtney Love. Cobain has given a number of all-time hit grunge rock songs, most of them went to the top for several times. Throughout his music career, Nirvana has sold 25 million albums in America and 50 million worldwide.
Cobain’s childhood Peep-colored house was listed for $400,000, but just dropped to $329,000 in August 2015. The house situates in Aberdeen, Washington.
Nirvana's successful albums collection
Sold Copies: 1,900,000 copies in the United States alone.
Audio CD: $9.84
Release date: June 15, 1989.
Sold copies: 30 million copies worldwide
Audio CD: $15.12
Release date: September 24, 1991
3 In Utero
Sold Copies: 15 million worldwide
Audio CD: $9.99
Release date: September 21, 1993
Azzerrad publication published a book, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, describing the birth of Nirvana including Cobain's struggles as a singer and his drug addiction. The book sold over a million copies worldwide and it's priced on Amazon at $38.86 total (with his books Journals and Heavier Than Heaven)and $17.04 paperback.
Another book, Love and Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain was published in 2004 by writer Halperin and Wallace which chronicles around the investigation of Cobain's death. The book costs $40.96 in total and it's priced $19.14 paperback and $5.53 in Kindle.
Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, another book published in August 2002, is priced $7.53 for Kindle, $1.81 for Hardcover, and $7.93 for Paperback.
Health and Death
Throughout most of his life, Cobain suffered from chronic bronchitis and a stomach issue. He was also diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis. When he was just 13, he did his first drug and had become a severe addict in 1990.
The 27-year-old Cobain committed suicide, on April 5, 1994, in the guest house behind his Seattle home. He killed himself instantly, placing a shotgun into his mouth. The electrician Gary Smith was found his body at his Lake Washington Boulevard home.
At the time of his death, Cobain had entirely too much heroin in his body. He left a lengthy suicide note before his death, in which he addressed his many fans and his wife as well as a young daughter. Love started crying and chastising Cobain after she read portions of Cobain’s suicide note.
Following his death, several musicians recorded tribute songs to him too, including R.E.M.'s Let Me In, Patti Smith's About a Boy, Foo Fighters My Hero, Neil Young's Sleeps with Angels, Tearjerker by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kurt Cobain by Wesley Willis, and Shotgun Suicide by El Duce.
Cobain continued to intrigue and inspire his fans, even after his death. Shortly after his death, his group also released Unplugged in New York which went to the top of the charts. The group again released From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a collection of their songs that scored a huge hit, peaking at the number three spot on the album charts.
After the death of Cobain, there was a big struggle as to what to do regarding the legacy Cobain left behind. For several years, Grohl and Novoselic also fought with his wife Love over Nirvana’s music. In September 2002, they had eventually resolved their long legal battle over the unreleased material.
That same year, Nirvana released the previously unreleased track You Know You’re Right as well as other previously unreleased materials, 2004's With the Lights Out and 2005's Sliver: The Best of the Box.
Personal Life and Legacy
Kurt Cobain was also rumored to be gay. During his teenage years, he started hanging out with homosexual boys and many questioned him about his sexuality. He even openly accepted that he was gay, even though he wasnot. In an interview, he stated,
"I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn't".
He revealed that he lied so as people would stay away from him, as he hated people.
Kurt Cobain was married to his former wife musician Courtney Love, in 1992. The former couple first met on January 12, 1990, in Portland's Satyricon nightclub. After a few months of dating, the two began making frequent public appearances and both were into drugs and often took drugs together.
They got married on February 24, 1992, Hawaii, while Love was working as a lead singer and guitarist with rock band Hole. Kurt Cobain wore pajamas while Love wore a lace dress at their wedding.
Cobain’s wife Love who was already pregnant with his child welcomed daughter Frances Bean Cobain in August 1992. Frances was removed from their custody because of a heroin abuse by the couple.
The pair eventually got full custody of their daughter, after a few months of negotiations. Cobain attempted suicide taking drugs on a family tour in Europe on March 4, 1994, and he eventually killed himself taking a gunshot in their Seattle home when Love was in rehab in April 1994.
Kurt Cobain's first serious relationship was with his girlfriend Tracy Marander whom he started dating in 1987. They finally started living together in Olympia. The couple enjoyed the rock and roll lifestyle, although they struggled financially.
After dating for a while, Cobain involved in a relationship with Courtney Love in 1990. Cobain spent a lot of his time doing writing, painting, drawing and making collages.
I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.
Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.
Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with with your self-esteem. They're no good at all.
I was looking for something a lot heavier, yet melodic at the same time. Something different from heavy metal, a different attitude.
Ten major facts about Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain Affairs
First Affair with Tracy Marander
Tracy Marander is the ex-girlfriend of the former Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. The couple started dating in 1987.
First Affair with Tracy Marander
Tracy Marander is the former girlfriend of former Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. The couple started dating in 1987.