Flashback: Nirvana Unplugged

Words By Jon Irvin

In the wake of the passing of Amy Winehouse, the newest member of the 27 Club, Flashback revisits another one of its members in Kurt Cobain. It’s hard to believe it's been 17 years since the death of the front man from Nirvana. This week, we take a look at their MTV Unplugged album. The album was released a few months after Cobain's suicide and proved to be somewhat of a melancholy cap to a once promising career.

Unlike most artists in the MTV Unplugged series, Nirvana chose to go on a different path. Instead of playing their chart topping hits, they decided rather on a set filled with lesser known B-side material and even lesser known covers. The set selection couldn’t have been better as Nirvana proved to many critics that they were more than your average garage grunge band. As a kid, Nirvana was my first ‘favorite band’; I was crushed after hearing the news of Cobain's death but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t expected. When Nirvana Unplugged aired on MTV several months prior to his death, viewers couldn’t help but think was this Cobain's swan song. From the dark funeral atmosphere to the lyrically depressing song selection, the feel of despair was in the air.

Even though the Unplugged album offers little in the way of hits, it’s filled with a list of memorable performances. Nirvana not only covered David Bowie's “The Man Who Sold the World”, but also introduced listeners to the Meat Puppets with “Lake of Fire”. The show ends with an old traditional folk song, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, sung by Cobain who gave what seems to be his last musical breath, leaving listeners with goosebumps and tears.


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