Nirvana – B-Sides

I don’t normally make posts to mark the passing of a musician, but when it comes to Kurt Cobain, I am going to make an exception. That is because Nirvana were one of the first bands I got into where we didn’t already have some records of theirs in the collection. I remember their performance of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on Top of the Pops, and even though I was not exactly enamoured with what I heard as I did not realise that Cobain was singing the song in a lower register. The rest of the band were to taking their performance too seriously either. I’m sure it is on Youtube if you want to see for yourself. Once I heard ‘Nevermind’ though, I knew this was a band I needed to examine further. 

Even though ‘Nevermind’ was the album everyone else was buying, I thought I would buck the trend and I bought ‘Bleach’, their first album. For a long time, I preferred this one. The rawness of the production was the polar opposite to the sheen of ‘Nevermind’ and it was easy to see why Cobain felt that his artistic vision had been compromised some what by his success. He was a punk at heart, even though his songs were full of memorable melodies not normally associated with that style of music. It could be argued that Cobain would have preferred to stay an underground artist making albums in the vein of ‘Bleach’ instead of trying to keep his record company happy by producing more albums that did not deviate too far from ‘Nevermind’. However, this was not to be and on 5th April, Cobain took his own life leaving a legacy as one of the most influential musicians of the alternative rock scene. 

The remaining members of Nirvana set about securing Cobain’s legacy by releasing a live compilation called ‘Verse Chorus Verse’ and though this album was all but ready (it just need some final mixing), the project was scrapped. This was down the Bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl finding the whole project overwhelming, considering how close it was what to Cobain’s death. With this, the first of an alternative history of posthumous releases, this looks at a compilation that Geffen, the bands record label could have put out as a stop gap whilst the live material project was put on the back burner for the time being. 

The music had all been released before and it would have included every B-Side not included on an album or compilation release before Cobain’s death. There was easily enough material, even though ‘Been A Son’ is on here twice. Once, as a studio cut and the second, a live performance. I have tried tried to keep the songs in the order in which they were released, but did have to move a couple around as the playing sides were too different in terms to playing time. This is because vinyl and more importantly, cassette releases needed to be catered for in the mid 90s so making sure that the playing sides matched up as closely as they could in terms of timing would have been a consideration that would have needed to be taken into account. 

I missed off ‘Big Cheese’ which was the B-Side of their debut single and not originally on the ‘Bleach’ album, it was on every subsequent (as far as I can tell) repressing. In the UK, it was there from the start. ‘Dive’, the B-Side of Sliver but would later appear on Incesticide. With ‘Oh, The Guilt’, I had got so use to hearing the remixed version from the ‘With The Lights Out’ box set that I had forgotten that there were clicks throughout this that was the sound of a lighter being struck. For a moment, I thought that my CD copy had developed a fault down the years. 

Both Endless, Nameless  and Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip appeared on the CD versions of ‘Nevermind’ and ‘In Utero’, but where not included on the vinyl pressing (which were the versions I bought at the time). The two noise boys tracks have been included as a bonus 7” single as these would have made the LP far too long and would have been a nice bonus for this buying the vinyl version. As it is, this record is just over 50 minutes long, which is pushing it for a vinyl record. 

Side A

  1. Been A Son – Blew EP
  2. About A Girl (Live) – Sliver EP
  3. Spank Thru (Live) – Sliver EP
  4. Molly’s Lips (Live) – Candy (Split Single with The Fluid)
  5. Even In His Youth – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  6. Aneurysm – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  7. Drain You (Live) – Come As You Are
  8. D7 – Lithium

Side B

  1. School (Live) – Come As You Are
  2. Been A Son (Live) – Lithium
  3. Curmudgeon – Lithium
  4. Polly (Live) – In Bloom
  5. Sliver (Live) – In Bloom
  6. Oh, The Guilt – Puss (Split Single with Jesus Lizard) 
  7. Marigold – Heart Shaped Box
  8. MV – All Apologies
  9. I Hate Myself & I Want To Die – Pennyroyal Tea

Bonus Single (Vinyl Only)

  1. Endless, Nameless (Hidden Song on ‘Nevermind’)
  2. Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip (Hidden Song on ‘In Utero’)

The artwork uses an image that I found on the Behance website by contributor Julia Ro. 

This ‘lost’ album could not be replicated on Spotify.

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