Catching up on forty years. 1991: Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
I’ve already confessed that I came late to the Nevermind party despite having the album for years.
1991 became the year it was out with vinyl and in with the digital. Out with the old steady workhouse Sony turntable and in with the flashing lights of a Technics hifi, rising high and majestic on our IKEA sideboard!
Building a CD collection was expensive so I started slow with some safe choices of Fleetwood Mac etc, only to bump in to someone from the record business at a wedding who kitted me out with a bag of goodies that contained REM, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Lyle Lovett and Nirvana to name but a few of the bigger names. Aside from the obvious hits, Nevermind probably got lost in that collection initially and it’s only years later that I realised the album goes beyond those first few obvious tracks. But hey…I got there in the end!
Smells Like Teen Spirit if you pardon the excrutiating bad pun had a freshness about it that grabbed all our attention at a time when heavy rock was probably a bit staid. Combined with a cracking video it fair stormed charts across the world. The video is clocking in at 154 million hits on youtube as I write this and rising by thousands every day. Remember that you compilation of cats falling over – this is what people really want to use youtube for…
I don’t claim to be a Nirvana devotee by any measure but recognize there are moments when a band’s music and the moment come together and for this short-lived group 1991 was that year. As in 1976 when punk kicked the excesses of progressive rock aside so grunge reared it’s ugly non blow-dried head up and shouted “Hello, hello, hello” and “urrgghhhh”. And the world listened briefly before tutting and moving on.
1991 also marks the end of Apartheid. Freddie Mercury dies.