meta-scriptDave Grohl Pens Love Letter To Live Music & Human Connection In Impassioned New Op-Ed | GRAMMY.com
searchsearch
Dave Grohl Pens Love Letter To Live Music & Human Connection In Impassioned New Op-Ed

Dave Grohl

Photo: Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

news

Dave Grohl Pens Love Letter To Live Music & Human Connection In Impassioned New Op-Ed

The Foo Fighters frontman shares stories of Queen, U2 and Springsteen to illustrate how only live concerts can "share the tangible, communal power of music"

GRAMMYs/May 12, 2020 - 11:14 pm

In the words of rock and roll hero Dave Grohl, "Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced today’s live music to unflattering little windows that look like doorbell security footage and sound like Neil Armstrong’s distorted transmissions from the moon, so stuttered and compressed. It’s enough to make Max Headroom seem lifelike."

So sets the backdrop for Grohl's new op-ed in The Atlantic titled "The Day the Live Concert Returns." The Foo Fighters frontman shares his dissappointment at the cancellation of what would have been an epic homecoming, the band's debut album 25th anniversary celebration show on the 4th of July in Washington, D.C. Instead, he'll be at home, as will many of the 80,000 fans he looked forward to celebrating with.

"There is nothing like the energy and atmosphere of live music," Grohl writes, pointing to a few of his live music heroes for exemplifying this magic. He recalls Freddie Mercury and Queen's 1electrifying and game-changing 22-minute set at 1985's Live Aid, and how super-famous U2 proved themselves human by coming out on stage with the house lights on during their 2001 Elevation Tour in great detail. Even as his generations most recognizable rock star, Grohl's stories from the other side of the microphone, from down in the audience (and often in the pit) ring true to a music community who have been forced to make due without the lifeblood live music pumps through it.

Earlier this year, Grohl sat down to recount the story of jamming with Prince on stage during soundcheck at The Forum in Los Angeles, during Prince's epic 21-night run there in 2011, an experience he never would have had - at least not with anything like the same intesity - from home. 

Grohl also includes a touching story about Bruce Springsteen coming to a Foo Fighters show and ultimately shared some wise words with Dave, writing in a note to him after the show, “When you look out at the audience, you should see yourself in them, just as they should see themselves in you.”

The piece is full of examples of the human connection element of live music and reads like a love letter from a musician who devoted his life to something he can temporarily no longer do... for now. Grohl ends on a hopeful note:

"Without that audience—that screaming, sweating audience—my songs would only be sound. But together, we are instruments in a sonic cathedral, one that we build together night after night. And one that we will surely build again."

You can read the full article in The Atlantic here.

Dave Grohl Tells The Story Of Jamming With Prince, Talks Growing Up To His Records

New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From RIIZE, Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, Mr. Eazi & More
Jacob Collier performing in 2023

Photo: Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns via Getty Images

list

New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From RIIZE, Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, Mr. Eazi & More

As we hurtle into spooky season, listen to these spooky tracks from Mr. Eazi, RIIZE, Norah Jones & Dave Grohl and more.

GRAMMYs/Oct 27, 2023 - 04:56 pm

As Halloween approaches, this New Music Friday offers a potion of nostalgia, emotions and fresh sounds.

From RIIZE — K-pop's rising stars, who are mesmerizing listeners with their pop hit "Talk Saxy" — to Norah Jones & Dave Grohl uniting for an unexpected collaboration with "Razor," many different genres are being represented today.

Keeping old times alive, Taylor Swift released her highly-anticipated Taylor’s Version of 1989, and Duck Sauce is bringing back their 2011 "Barbra Streisand" sound with their new dance single, "LALALA."

Listen to these seven new tracks and albums that will gear you up for spooky season 2023.

RIIZE - "Talk Saxy"

K-pop’s rising stars, RIIZE, are making a vibrant musical return with their new single, "Talk Saxy," a hypnotic dance track that adds a level of depth to their sound even including a catchy saxophone riff. The lyrics focus on attraction to a stranger, and wanting to get their attention.

"Talk to me exactly what you feel / Hide nothing, show me all and everything / It’s okay, let your heart do what it wants / Get it straight to the point / Talk Saxy," RIIZE croons on the chorus.

This track follows their debut single "Get a Guitar," which launched their announcement that they’d signed with RCA Records. RIIZE is the first boy band group to hail from SM Entertainment since Kpop group NCT. RIIZE members, Shotaro and Sungchan, are notably from NCT, and departed from the K-pop group this year.

Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, "Razor"

Dave Grohl, the frontman of Foo Fighters, graced jazz-pop singer Norah Jones’ podcast with special musical performances, including a cover of "Razor," a rare gem from the Foo Fighters 2005 In Your Honor album.

The track features a calm beat with a tranquil melody and guitar strings and piano, blending their strengths seamlessly. This track follows their collaboration on the In Your Honor track "'Virginia Moon."

During this podcast, Jones announced the release of a Black Friday Exclusive LP Record dropping on Nov. 24. Featuring a collection of podcast episodes with fellow musicians, this looks to be a real treat for fans of Jones and/or her estimable guests.

Jacob Collier feat. Michael McDonald and Lawrence - "Wherever I Go"

Jazz musician Jacob Collier has dropped the song "Wherever I Go," a look into his forthcoming album, Djesse Vol. 4. A track inspired by idols from his childhood including the Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder and more, he’s made a standout collaboration with Michael McDonald and Lawrence to craft a memorable record.

The two-minute track, which includes a strong bassline and soulful vocals, paints an illustration of loneliness from their lover.

The four-part journey of Djesse has gained him five GRAMMY awards and 11 nominations. With Djesse Vol. 4, collaborations such as "Little Blue" with Brandi Carlile to Ty Dolla $ign and Kirk Franklin are showcasing Collier’s versatility and knack for genre syntheses.. He also announced a 2024 North American tour with musicians Kemba and Emily King, celebrating the release of this album.

Mr Eazi - The Evil Genius

Afrobeats sensation Mr. Eazi has unveiled his debut album The Evil Genius. The 16-track record shows Eazi’s ability to blend his rhythms from his hometown Nigeria, with hypnotic grooves from Ghana where he spent most of his years.

The Evil Genius takes listeners through his roots, family, love and loneliness in three acts. His skill in blending different styles of music like Gospel and Ghanian styles, makes him the global phenomenon he is. Eazi chose 13 African artists from eight countries to collaborate on this album, bringing together different parts of Africa.

Enhancing the music album, he has introduced a global art exhibition in Ghana, which features work from young artists across Africa.

Tiësto with Tears for Fears, NIIKO X SWAE, GUDFELLA - "Rule The World (Everybody)"

American DJ & singer Tiësto dropped a fresh new track with Tears For Fears, NIIKO X SWAE and GUDFELLA for a reimagining of the 1985 "Everybody Wants To Rule The World." This heart-racing banger has blended stylistic worlds to imbue a classic song with an even catchier, dance-flavored beat.

NIIKO X SWAE originally released an unofficial remix on Soundcloud, which then went viral on social media.. "Rule The World (Everybody)" could certainly become a new party anthem to put on your ‘Halloweekend’ playlist.

Maria José Llergo - ULTRABELLEZA

Spanish singer María José Llergo released her newest album ULTRABELLEZA, following her 2020 Sanación. The album features songs that transverse between genres like "NOVIX," which features a intricate, Latin rhythm and "Superpoder," a star-studded pop song.

"Flamenco is like the blues," she said in a NY Times interview.  Liergo discusses how she incorporated Flamenco, a Spanish art form, into her album in hopes of keeping her cultural traditions rooted in the lyrics that "tell stories of survival — it’s always been a way for the most oppressed to escape."

Duck Sauce - "LALALA"

The hitmakers behind 2010 classics "Barbra Streisand" and "Big Bad Wolf" are back with another dubsmash single called, "LALALA." This duo has made another infectious dance track, which makes listeners transports them to the wildest party of their dreams. "LALALA" feels reminiscent of their past collaborations together, keeping up the nostalgia theme on this special Friday.

The GRAMMY-nominated producers behind Duck Sauce, Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, have recently joined Defected Records’ D4 D4NCE imprint. Keep checking GRAMMY.com on Fridays for a sampler platter of new sounds!

Global Spin: JINI Is Impatient In Love During This Passionate Performance Of Her Debut Solo Single, "C'mon"

news

New Music Friday: Listen To New Music From Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, Mr. Eazi, RIIXE and more

As we hurtle into spooky season, listen to these spooky tracks from Mr. Eazi, RIIZE, Norah Jones & Dave Grohol and more.

GRAMMYs/Oct 27, 2023 - 02:35 pm

As Halloween approaches, this New Music Friday offers a potion of nostalgia, emotions,  and fresh sounds.

From RIIZE — K-pop's rising stars, who are mesmerizing listeners with their pop hit “Talk Saxy” — to Norah Jones & Dave Grohl uniting for an unexpected collaboration with “Razor,” many different genres are being represented today.

Keeping old times alive, Taylor Swift released her highly-anticipated Taylor’s Version of 1989, and Duck Sauce is bringing back their 2011 “Barbra Streisand” sound with their new dance single, “LALALA.”

Listen to these seven new tracks that will gear you up for spooky season 2023.

RIIZE - “Talk Saxy”

Kpop’s rising stars, RIIZE, are making a vibrant musical return with their new single, “Talk Saxy,” a hypnotic dance track that adds a level of depth to their sound even including a catchy saxophone riff. The lyrics focus on attraction to a stranger, and wanting to get their attention. 

“Talk to me exactly what you feel / Hide nothing, show me all and everything / It’s okay, let your heart do what it wants / Get it straight to the point / Talk Saxy,” RIIZE croons on the chorus. 

This track follows their debut single “Get a Guitar,” which launched their announcement to signing with RCA Records. RIIZE is the first boy band group to hail from SM Entertainment since Kpop group NCT. RIIZE members, Shotaro and Sungchan, are notably from NCT, and departed from the K-pop group this year.

Norah Jones & Dave Grohl, "Razor"

Dave Grohl, the frontman of Foo Fighters, graced jazz-pop singer Norah Jones’ podcast with special musical performances, including a cover of “Razor,” a rare gem from the Foo Fighters 2005 In Your Honor album.

The track features a calm beat with a tranquil melody and guitar strings and piano, blending their strengths seamlessly. This track follows their collaboration on the In Your Honor track “'Virginia Moon.”

During this podcast, Jones announced the release of a Black Friday Exclusive LP Record dropping on Nov. 24. Featuring a collection of podcast episodes with fellow musicians, this looks to be a real treat for fans of Jones and/or her estimable guests.

Jacob Collier feat. Michael McDonald and Lawrence - "Wherever I Go"

Jazz musician Jacob Collier has dropped the song “Wherever I Go,” a look into his forthcoming album, Djesse Vol. 4. A track inspired by idols from his childhood including the Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder and more, he’s made a standout collaboration with Michael McDonald and Lawrence to craft a memorable record. 

The two-minute track, which includes a strong bassline and soulful vocals, paints an illustration of loneliness from their lover. 

The four-part journey of Djesse has gained him five GRAMMY awards and 11 nominations. With Djesse Vol. 4, collaborations such as “Little Blue” with Brandi Carlile to Ty Dolla $ign and Kirk Franklin are showcasing Collier’s versatility and knack for genre syntheses.. He also announced a 2024 North American tour with musicians Kemba and Emily King, celebrating the release of this album. 

Mr Eazi's - The Evil Genius

Afrobeat sensation Mr. Eazi has unveiled his debut album The Evil Genius. The 16-track record shows Eazi’s ability to blend his rhythms from his hometown Nigeria, with hypnotic grooves from Ghana where he spent most of his years.

The Evil Genius takes listeners through his roots, family, love and loneliness in three acts. His skill in blending different styles of music like Gospel and Ghanian styles, makes him the global phenomenon he is. Eazi chose 13 African artists from eight countries to collaborate on this album, bringing together different parts of Africa.

Enhancing the music album, he has introduced a global art exhibition in Ghana, which features work from young artists across Africa.

Tiësto with Tears for Fears, NIIKO X SWAE, GUDFELLA - "Rule The World (Everybody)"

GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

video

GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

10 Essential Facts To Know About GRAMMY-Winning Rapper J. Cole

11 Reasons Why 1993 Was Nirvana's Big Year
Nirvana performs on "MTV Live and Loud" in December 1993

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

list

11 Reasons Why 1993 Was Nirvana's Big Year

While 1991 was the year Nirvana broke, the Seattle grunge pioneers continued their impressive streak. With the release of 'In Utero,' multiple massive shows and now-legendary appearances on MTV programs, 1993 ended up being Nirvana’s most productive year.

GRAMMYs/Sep 21, 2023 - 12:33 pm

By most measures, 1992 was a massive year for  Nirvana. The Seattle grunge pioneers achieved international fame when their major label debut, Nevermind, topped the charts and was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 34th GRAMMY Awards. 

But the band (and lead singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain in particular) quickly became overwhelmed by their unexpected success. Nirvana retreated for most of the year, only playing about a month’s worth of shows and delaying work on a follow up album. 

So there was much ground to make up in 1993.

But Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl rose to the challenge. There were a few bumps along the way — such as a kerfuffle when it was reported that Nirvana bowed to record company pressure to remix tracks on their new album, thus making them "sellouts" (the band insisted they alone decided what changes needed to be made) — but '93 ended up being one of Nirvana’s most productive years.

Thirty years ago, Nirvana released an acclaimed third album (In Utero), an indie single ("Oh, The Guilt"), and created one of their most haunting videos ("Heart-Shaped Box"). And throughout their first U.S. tour since 1991, the band proved again and again what a powerful live act they were — whether playing a former movie house or a mega stadium — showing that a noisy band could still pack a punch by going acoustic. 

In honor of the 30th anniversary of In Utero (and a forthcoming reissue), GRAMMY.com revisits 11 of Nirvana’s most memorable moments from 1993.

Nirvana Affirm Their Indie Cred With "Oh, The Guilt"

Nirvana recorded three songs during their sole studio session in 1992. "Curmudgeon" ended up as the B-side of "Lithium," "Return of the Rat" appeared on a Greg Sage compilation, and "Oh, The Guilt" finally turned up as part of a split single with Jesus Lizard on Touch and Go Records. 

Back in 1988, Cobain had sent several copies of Nirvana’s first demo to the Chicago-based Touch and Go. Following the major label success of Nevermind, Nirvana clearly wanted to make the effort to keep in touch with their indie roots. 

"Nirvana became like the Beatles of the ’90s, but they still wanted to do it," Jesus Lizard’s David Yow told Seattle music magazine The Rocket. "And we had to figure out, well, do we want to do this and look like we’re riding on Nirvana’s coattails, or we could just do it and not worry about it, which is what we ended up doing." 

Released on Feb. 22, the grinding "Oh, The Guilt" set the stage for the rawer sound of Nirvana’s next album.

The Band Played "One Of The Best Shows Of Their Lives" At The Cow Palace

Nirvana had played only five major U.S. concerts in 1992, so there was much anticipation for this concert in Daly City, just south of San Francisco. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic organized the show, a benefit for the Tresnjevka Womens’ Group, a Zagreb-based organization aiding Bosnian War rape survivors and refugees. 

"The Cow Palace show was high-stakes," says Michael Azerrad, author of Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana (due to be reissued next month in an expanded edition), who was at the show. "Some of the people who worked with Nirvana were a little dubious about the material the band had recently recorded for  In Utero.  Kurt, Krist and Dave knew they had something to prove. But they hadn’t played live in a couple of months — and now they had to get up in front of an audience and play one of the best shows of their lives. And they did just that." 

At the April 9 show, the band came roaring out of the gate with "Rape Me," and went on to deliver a fiery 23-song set, debuting a number of songs from In Utero, and encoring with a noise jam that ended with the obligatory instrument destruction. In Azerrad’s view, "The Cow Palace show was truly a triumph."

Fans Got A Taste Of Pre-Fame Nirvana In 1991: The Year Punk Broke

When David Markey packed up his Super-8 camera to follow various indie bands on a European tour in 1991, he had no idea he’d be capturing Nirvana on the verge of becoming the biggest band in the world. In Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana Cobain recalled this as the period when "there’s so much excitement in the air you can just taste it," and it’s riveting to see the band without the baggage of worldwide fame dragging them down. 

Markey's documentary, 1991: The Year Punk Broke, was released on home video in April 1993. "Smells Like Teen Spirit," not yet released as a single, sounds fresh and invigorating; older numbers like "School" and "Negative Creep" are sizzling. 

"That tour was easily the most fun I've ever had on any tour, anywhere, anytime," says Markey. "And that feeling was shared by everyone who was on it, I promise. Forget the fact that Nirvana and Sonic Youth were on fire at every stop along the way. Same with the other bands: Dinosaur Jr. Babes In Toyland. Gumball. And of course the Ramones. 

"I remember nothing but smiles and laughter," he continues. "The fact that I was tasked with documenting it with nine hours of Super-8 film cartridges shoved into a giant suitcase seemed like an afterthought. It wasn’t just a job. It was everything."

The "Sliver" Video Offers A Glimpse Into Cobain's World

In December 1992, DGC, the same label that put out Nevermind,  released Incesticide, a collection of Nirvana’s non-album tracks. The video for "Sliver"  was belatedly released to promote it in May 1993, but what’s more interesting is the glimpse it gives into Cobain’s private world.

Originally released as a single on Sub Pop Records, the song is a childhood reminiscence that showed Nirvana charting a new course into more pop-driven territory. The band members look like giddy teenagers practicing in their parent’s garage, and the location is, indeed, Cobain’s own garage. It’s a room filled with ephemera: a wind-up toy of a monkey playing the cymbals, a can of Prairie Belt sausages, a copy of Better Homes and Gardens with the words "Indie punx still sucks" scrawled on the mailing label. It’s no surprise to see a poster of Mudhoney on the wall — but Mikhail Gorbachev as well? As a bonus, Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain pops up repeatedly throughout the proceedings.

Nirvana Go Bigger, And Acoustic, At The Roseland Ballroom

Nirvana was a last-minute addition to the roster of acts performing during the New Music Seminar, a summer convention for music industry professionals in New York City. The July 23 performance served as a dry run for Nirvana’s Unplugged performance later in the year. 

The band also experimented with filling out their sound by adding a second guitarist (John Duncan as a temporary fill in). They performed most of the songs from In Utero, sounding a good deal tougher live than on record. Then, to the audience’s surprise, the band sat down and brought on cellist Lori Goldston for a short acoustic set. The set is initially hampered by a poor sound mix (Novoselic can be heard calling out "More cello!") and disinterest on the part of some loudly talking audience members. 

Listening now, it’s an impressive moment, as the band works to make their performance more than simply a standard run through of the hits. As Everett True wrote in his review of the show for Melody Maker, "Cobain is, in his way, a master manipulator, a brilliant strategist who understands that noise alone is not drama and that good hooks always draw blood."

Nirvana Raised Money For The Mia Zapata Investigative Fund

Theater in Seattle raised money to help solve the murder of Gits’ singer Mia Zapata, who had been killed the previous month, with TAD headlining. Nirvana was added to the bill to boost sales.

While the crowds turned up, according to guitar tech Earnie Bailey, they nearly missed out. The show was running overtime, meaning a full changeover of gear between TAD’s and Nirvana’s sets would mean Nirvana could only play one or two songs. Instead, the TAD crew allowed Nirvana to use their gear, and Nirvana went on to have great fun with their set, throwing in covers of Led Zeppelin’s "No Quarter," and, more unexpectedly Terry Jacks’ weeper "Seasons in the Sun." 

The show has never been released in any form, so there was great excitement when a 20-minute excerpt appeared on YouTube this past August. It was Nirvana’s last show as a trio.

Cobain & Co. Release Their Third Album, In Utero 

Nirvana’s long-awaited third album was first released in the U.S. on vinyl on Sept. 14; the CD version, the dominant audio format at the time, followed on Sept. 21, and debuted on Billboard’s Top Albums chart at No. 1. 

In Utero  stands as Cobain’s most personal work, his response to the turbulent events of 1992: the sudden rush of fame, substance abuse, parenthood, and the demonization of his wife. In contrast to the commercial sheen of Nevermind, In Utero  has a harsh, confrontational sound; songs like "Scentless Apprentice," and "tourette’s" are frightening in their intensity. And even if you don’t take lines like "What is wrong with me?" ("Radio Friendly Unit Shifter") and "Look on the bright side is suicide" ("Milk It") as foreshadowing, they’re nonetheless indicative of the pervasive sense of unease that permeates the record. 

From the opening salvo of "Serve the Servants" that caustically rejects fame ("Teenage angst has paid off well/Now I’m bored and old") to the plea for transcendence in the closing "All Apologies," In Utero is an album of emotional pain that rivals John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. A 30th anniversary release of In Utero is set for October 2023.

"Heart-Shaped Box" Single And Video Are Released

Released in September, "Heart-Shaped Box" shares the same sonic dynamics as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (quiet verse, loud chorus), but is tempered by an underlying melancholy, along with striking imagery ("meat-eating orchids," "umbilical noose"). The song’s video was equally compelling — and spooky. The main set is a creepy forest where fetuses dangle from the trees and an elderly man in a Santa Claus hat climbs on a cross to be crucified. 

In the director’s cut of the video, the last verse shows Cobain lying asleep in a field as mist slowly rises around him, an image that became even more haunting to look at after his death (in the initial cut, Cobain is shown singing the final verse). The hospital sequences echo the album’s themes of illness and decay. Cobain later told MTV, "That video has come closer to what I’ve seen in my mind, what I’ve envisioned, than any other video."

Nirvana Appear On "Saturday Night Live" 

This was the first opportunity for most fans to see how In Utero’s songs translated to live performance. First up is "Heart-Shaped Box," more powerful than on record, Cobain’s vocals transitioning easily between the subdued verses and the raging chorus. 

"Rape Me" debuted on the 1991 tour; Cobain subsequently added a bridge attacking media hypocrisy, and this performance burns with righteous fury. The show also marked the debut of Pat Smear, formerly guitarist with L.A. punk act the Germs, to the lineup, sharing guitar duties with Cobain. He’s certainly the most animated band member, bouncing around the stage with high-spirited energy. And don’t overlook how forcefully Grohl attacks his drum kit.

Nirvana Do A Masterful Performance On MTV’s "Unplugged" 

The idea of an incendiary band like Nirvana doing an "unplugged," sans their raging volume, seemed an oxymoron. Even the group seemed uncertain how to handle the task. The show’s producer, Alex Coletti, later recalled how MTV execs were unhappy that the band didn’t want to perform their signature hits, and that their choice of musical guest was not a similar headliner like Eddie Vedder, but a lesser-known indie act, the Meat Puppets. Before the taping on Nov. 18, the band hadn’t even done a complete run through of the set. 

It was a situation ripe for disaster. Instead, Nirvana pulled off what’s considered one of their most masterful performances. The band chose their more acoustically-driven numbers ("About a Girl") and songs that worked in a stripped down format ("Come As You Are"), though they weren’t entirely unplugged; Cobain’s guitar was put through a Fender Twin Reverb amp and effects boxes. 

The covers proved to be the most interesting choices — David Bowie’s "The Man Who Sold the World" was mesmerizing — and the Meat Puppets’ numbers underscored Nirvana’s own idiosyncratic indie roots. "I thought the Meat Puppets’ inclusion was especially magical," says Lori Goldston, cellist during Nirvana’s fall tour. "Curt [Kirkwood, Meat Puppets’ guitarist] was used to being the lead, not an accompanist, and afterwards he mentioned that it felt luxurious to play guitar without having to worry about doubling as a vocalist," a hint at how collaborations with other artists might have gone. 

The band finished up with an extraordinary performance of Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter’s "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" that left the audience stunned.

Nirvana Close Out 1993 With MTV’s Live and Loud 

Pearl Jam’s loss was Nirvana’s gain. After Eddie Vedder declined to appear at MTV’s New Year’s Eve gig (which was actually taped on December 13), Pearl Jam was cut from the lineup and Nirvana’s set was extended (other acts included Cypress Hill and the Breeders). 

The band had been on the road for two months now, and were firing on all pistons; the relentless "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" proved to be a powerhouse opening number and there was a scorching performance of "Scentless Apprentice." One moment not seen in the original broadcast (the entire show’s since been released on DVD) was when an audience member shrieked out "MTV sucks!" In response, Cobain smiled and quite sensibly asked, "Then why are you here?" But he perhaps revealed his own feelings about the network when, during the closing jam/end-of-show destruction, he looks straight into the camera and spits onto the lens. 

The final destruction sequence was particularly intricate on this night, starting out simply enough with Novoselic strumming his bass, then rising and falling in volume over the course of ten minutes, climaxing with Cobain swinging his guitar and decapitating one of the stage props. It brought Nirvana’s year to a suitably explosive close. 

How Hole Moved Beyond The Grunge Scene By Going Pop On 'Celebrity Skin'