The Q!’s 90s Weekend spotlight: ‘Nevermind’ at 25
The Q!’s 90s Weekend is a celebration of everything the decade threw at us, including The Good (Austin Powers), The Bad (“The Macarena”) and The Ugly (John Wayne Bobbitt’s run-in with his wife’s knife…)
One of the biggest albums to usher in the decade was Nirvana’s 1991 album, Nevermind. It turns 25 years-old. Feel old yet?
Here a some facts about one of alternative rock’s (thanks to this album, many had never heard the term “alternative” before) defining albums.
- Geffen Records hoped that Nevermind would sell around 250,000 copies. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album diamond (at least over 10 million copies shipped), and the album has sold at least 24 million copies worldwide. Alternative becomes mainstream.
- Of its 9.4 million in total U.S. sales, 59 percent have come in the form of CDs, 36 percent in cassettes and 5 percent digitally.
- Nirvana on the dance floor? “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is Nirvana’s one and only hit on the Dance Club Songs chart, peaking at No. 14 on the Jan. 18, 1992-dated list.
- The album’s original title Sheep was something Kurt Cobain created as an inside joke directed towards the people he expected to buy the record. He wrote a fake advertisement for Sheep in his journal that read “Because you want to not; because everyone else is.”
- Cobain reportedly came up with the cover art for Nevermind while watching a television program on water births with Dave Grohl. The stock photography house that controlled the photo of a swimming baby that they subsequently settled on wanted $7,500 a year for its use, so instead a photographer went to a pool for babies to take pictures. The band settled on the image of a four-month-old infant named Spencer Elden, the son of the photographer’s friend.
- Some of Nevermind’s reviews were not positive. The Boston Globe reviewer Steve Morse wrote, “Most of Nevermind is packed with generic punk-pop that had been done by countless acts from Iggy Pop to the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” and “the band has little or nothing to say, settling for moronic ramblings by singer-lyricist Cobain.”