Today marks the 23rd anniversary of Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain’s suicide. On this day 23 years ago, the world was shaken by the news of his death. Although he struggled with the pressures of fame, Cobain’s lasting impression on the world will not be forgotten. His influence on the world and the world of music was second to none, and he shifted the flow of popular music and culture before and after his death.
On this sad day, we want to celebrate his life. Take a look at these incredible and rare photos of Kurt Cobain – 23 photos to mark 23 years…
He always liked to push boundaries and himself – as seen here as a baby trying to drive his father’s car! This photo was captured in October 1967, at just nine months old in Aberdeen, Washington, where he grew up.
As well as being an incredible musician, Kurt Cobain was also a loving father to his daughter, Frances Bean. This photo was taken during her first birthday party at their house in Lake City, in 1993. This moment with his daughter caught him off guard, but captured the love he had for her.
When it came down to it, Kurt Cobain was all about the music. He was incredibly creative from a young age, and was interested in art, music, and writing. He was passionate about everything he did, and this came through in his music.
Kurt Cobain loved the simple things in life – and didn’t want to complicate things, which is why his wedding was both simple and beautiful. Cobain and Courtney Love married in 1992, just after The Pacific Rim Nirvana Tour came to an end. They married in Hawaii, with no fuss, no celebrities, no security and no paparazzi.
Courtney Love has previously stated that this photo of Kurt Cobain lounging in their bed is her most favorite picture of him. It was taken in 1993 in their house in North Seattle. Even musicians need to take a break now and then…
Kurt and his Quick
Despite his growing fame and intense popularity, Kurt Cobain had low self-esteem which often affected his health. He stated that he drank strawberry Quick while on the road because it settled his stomach when he was feeling ill and nervous.
Throughout his professional career, Kurt hated having his picture taken by paparazzi – both on the stage and off the stage. This photograph was taken in 1992 at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle, and was one of the few photos that Cobain actually liked. He even kept it in his own personal scrapbook.
This photo is a rare photo of Cobain with his daughter. On December 12th, 2016, Frances Bean Cobain posted this photo onto her Instagram page. Her caption read, ‘DNA.’ She is now the spitting image of her father.
International Pop Festival
Cobain cared about his roots. When Nirvana became famous, he offered to play the International Pop Underground festival in Olympia, Washington. However, he was turned away. He was incredibly hurt by this rejection as it was where he grew up.
He can fly!
Cobain was known for his substance use, and often suffered intense mood swings. Sometimes, he would be incredibly excitable, jumping around and ready for anything (like in this picture). When he was down, he was known to sit in a corner for about 45 minutes, not saying anything.
Red hair, don’t care
Kurt Cobain was known for being experimental and funky with his fashion and style, and even went through a stage of having red hair. This photo was taken in 1992 in his Los Angeles living room. He is surrounded by magazine covers of him and Nirvana.
Guitar or tambourine?
This is Kurt Cobain at two years old. From an early age, Cobain explored his musical talents. Since he was very young, he was exposed to various bands like the Byrds because of his aunts and uncles. But we’re glad he chose to move onto the guitar, rather than stick with the tambourine. His music could have been very different…
Nirvana’s cover shoot for their Nevermind album was iconic – with the baby in the pool. But Kurt and his bandmates wanted to recreate the photo shoot themselves, which resulted in this photo. But Cobain wasn’t averse to water; in fact, before he became famous he worked as a swimming instructor.
Kurt Cobain was known for his love of cats – especially his own, which he called Spina Bifida. There was a story in the news that Cobain allegedly once killed a cat. However, there was no proof that this actually happened.
Kurt on tour
Before their initial success with Nevermind, Nirvana toured around Europe with fellow band, the Sub Poppers Tad of the same label. This picture was taken in 1989, two years before the band became truly famous.
One of Nirvana’s albums, MTV Unplugged in New York, almost never happened. During the early ‘90s there was a lot of tension between Kurt and Dave Grohl, and also between Kurt and MTV.
During his childhood, Kurt Cobain had an imaginary friend who was called Boddah. He had often described Boddah as his evil side, and the evil part of his brain. Before he died, Kurt Cobain wrote a suicide note. He addressed it to Boddah.
A compassionate man
Alongside his love for cats, Kurt also had a love for all animals. He was an incredibly compassionate man, and even wanted to own his own petting zoo at one point in his life. Here he is with his bunny rabbit.
Before he died, Kurt Cobain reportedly recorded and produced an entire solo album. He once played some of his material to Eric Erlandson, the guitarist of Hole, who said that he was taking his music into a direction that was ‘really cool.’
He kept going
At various points in his life, Cobain was found with large amounts of narcotics in his system. During one night in 1993, Kurt overdosed and was found slumped in his hotel bathroom in New York. He was revived, and still went on to perform that night to promote their new album.
His career almost took a turn
Before he fully committed to music, Kurt Cobain almost went into the Navy. Cobain never did well in the academic side of things, and barely got through school. In an attempt to buck his ideas up, his dad arranged a meeting with a recruitment officer with the Navy. Cobain even completed the recruitment process in 1984, but decided to go against it. Instead, he walked out of the office during the meeting.
Before they became fully famous, Kurt Cobain was homeless. During the recording of Nevermind, he had to sleep in his car, or floor and sofa-surfed among his friends and connections. He was so determined to make it big and make the best music possible that he never complained.
The love he had
Despite his inner demons, Kurt Cobain loved his family more than anything. This photo was taken in 1993. He was 26-years-old at this point, and looked so happy showing his kitten to his daughter. We still miss you, Kurt.