Nirvana – Verse Chorus Verse

For my second Nirvana related release of the month, I have made an album made up of what I consider to be the best of their rare and archive recordings. Now, there was ‘With The Lights Out’ box set that came out in 2004. 3CDs worth of music and a DVD of video. This box set had been talked about for five years before it eventually came out, with the planning process bogged down in litigation. What we eventually got was a pretty comprehensive overview of the band and their music, taking in the bands first live show in 1987 right up some home demos from 1994. There was also a single disc version which included three songs not previously released on the box set. Theres nothing like fleecing your fan base now is there? 

Reviews of her box set were mixed, with some praising it for being a valuable look at the band’s evolution, whilst others felt there was too much second rate material which would not have seen the light of day under other circumstances. I would have agree with the latter, whilst also feeling that there were some rarities which should have included. Therefore, here is my attempt at a more condensed version of ‘With The Lights Out’, but going under the title of ‘Verse Chorus Verse’, the name that was originally attributed to the live compilation that did not see the light of day in 1994.  

Most of the songs that I have included here come from the ‘With The Lights Out’ with some help from ‘Sliver: The Best Of The Box’. I also wanted to include a number of songs that were released but had not been included on any Nirvana album before. I also used the template set by the vinyl version of ‘From The Muddy Banks Of The Wiskah’. That is, the forth side included material that was not available on any other format. In the case of ‘Muddy Banks’, this material was stage banter. In this case, it is material that were rougher demos (mostly recorded at home by Cobain) that were not sonically up the standard of the rest of the album. Being a vinyl nut, I like the idea that this format should get some bonuses every so often. 

The songs not included on either of the aforementioned compilations are:

Love Buzz – The 7” version had a sound montage that had been put together by Cobain. This does not appear on the album version. 

Sappy – Originally this song was to be called ‘Verse Chorus Verse’, but this title was shared with another song so the original title of ‘Sappy’ was used instead. This was originally release on a AIDS benefit album called ‘No Alternative’. For legal reasons, the songs could not be listed on the album artwork and was therefore placed at the end of the running order as a hidden track. It did not take long for word to get out that there was an otherwise unavailable Nirvana song on a compilation album which meant that its popularity was greatly increased.  

Smells Like Teen Spirit – This was 20 seconds shorter than the version found on ‘Nevermind’. 

Pay To Play (Smart Studios Version) – This version was recorded at the first attempt the band made at recording their second album. Even though those sessions would not see the light of day (initially), this version of the song had a video recorded with drummer Chad Channing. Channing might not have had the power of future drummer, Dave Grohl, it does shows how close Grohl was to this original version when laying down his drum parts. The band even recorded a video but after Channig was fired form the band, these sessions ended up acting as a demo to shop the band around to the major labels, with Geffen eventually taking the bait. After Channing left the band (or was fired depending on the source you read), the song was re-recorded and this version would eventually see the light of day on the compilation ‘DGC Rarities Vol.1’. The video itself had been released on the ‘With The Light Out’ Box Set. 

Pennyroyal Tea – Cobain was unhappy with the version that had been released on ‘In Utero’ and so a remix was prepared by Scott Litt. He had done a bit of remixing on some other ‘In Utero’ songs, but as they album was already out, it was decided that it would be released as a single instead. Even though production of the single was in the advanced stages in many countries around the world, it would not be released in 1994 due to Cobain’s death. 

I Hate Myself & I Want To Die – Recorded during the ‘In Utero’ sessions, it was left off of the album due to Cobain feeling that there was enough noise songs not he album already. It would eventually see the light of day on ‘The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience’ album. 

You Know You’re Right – The last song recorded by the whole band at their last recording session. For this compilation, it would have been released as a single as well to promote the release of this album. 

Down In The Dark – Cobain provided backing vocals to this song which was released on Lanegan’s first solo album ‘The Winding Sheet’. Not strictly Nirvana I know but it made for a nice addition here. 

Here She Comes Now – The A-Side of a split single with The Melvins. It was also included on a compilation album ‘Heaven & Hell: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground’. 

As a promotional device for this release, I would have had ‘You Know You’re Right’ as a single, with two additional songs that would not have been included on the compilation album. A little bonus for anyone who would have bought it. 

Side A

  1. Love Buzz (7” version)
  2. Blandest (Studio Recording 1989)
  3. Pen Cap Chew (Nirvana First Studio Recording 1988)
  4. If You Must (Nirvana First Studio Recording 1988)
  5. Clean Up Before She Comes (4 Track Home Recording 1987-8)
  6. Sappy (No Alternative Charity Album Release 1993)
  7. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Home Demo 1990)

Side B

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Single Edit 1991)
  2. Even In His Youth (Music Source Studio Session 1989) This is not the same as the recording that was released as a B-Side to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. 
  3. Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam (Band Rehearsal 1994)
  4. Pennyroyal Tea (Scott Litt Remix 1994)
  5. Old Age (Nevermind Outtake 1991)
  6. I Hate Myself & I Want To Die (The Bevis & Butt Head Experience Album 1993)

Side C

  1. You Know You’re Right (Studio Matter 1994)
  2. Pay To Play (Smart Studios Sessions 1990)
  3. In Bloom (Smart Studios Sessions 1990)
  4. Verse Chorus Verse (Nevermind Outtake 1991)
  5. Down In Dark (The Winding Street 1990)
  6. Here She Comes Now (Smart Studios Sessions 1990)

Side D

  1. Spank Thru (1985 Fecal Matter Demo)
  2. White Lace & Strange (Radio Session 1987)
  3. About A Girl (4 Track Home Recording 1987-8)
  4. Sliver (Home Demo 1990)
  5. Opinion (Kurt Cobain Solo Radio Session 1990)
  6. Token Eastern Song (Music Source Studio Session 1989)
  7. Do Re Mi (Home Demo 1994)
  8. MV (Studio Session 1993)
  9. You Know You’re Right (Home Demo 1993/4)

Single B-Sides

  1. Anoexorcist (Radio Session 1987)
  2. Sappy (Studio Session 1990)

The cover is based upon the self titled compilation from 2002. The single is a straight copy of the one of the covers used or the promo single of ‘You Know You’re Right’ which also came out in 2002. 

I did not feel the need to complete a Nirvana live album as ‘MTV Unplugged In New York’, and ‘From The Muddy Banks Of The Wiskah’ did a good enough job here, and there has been a number of live archival releases since then.

A Spotify playlist could not be created for this compilation due to one or more of those songs not being available on that platform.

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