Was it the ferocious, edgy punk sounds of the Melvins or the experimental noisemaking of New York City’s Sonic Youth who had the biggest impact on the music of Kurt Cobain? In this week’s MP3.com Spotlight we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind by highlighting some key artists who inspired the music of Nirvana. Plus, get a free MP3 download from one of those artists!

Punk-rock music proved to be a huge influence on teenage Kurt Cobain’s artistic style. However, The Beatles had an impact as well.

(Photo Credit: Chris Cuffaro/UMG)

“My aunts would give me Beatles records,” Cobain told Jon Savage in 1993, “so for the most part I listened to the Beatles as a child  and if I was lucky, I’d be able to buy a single.” (Source: The Lost Interview/Jon Savage)

Cobain also called John Lennon his “idol” and admitted that he wrote the song “About a Girl” from Nirvana 1989 debut album Bleach (Sub Pop) after spending endless hours listening to Meet The Beatles.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermind, we give you five bands that heavily influenced the music of Nirvana.


1. The Melvins

(The Melvins/Ipecac)

Both Nirvana and the Melvins were big fans of each other. During the 80’s the two bands often interchanged guitarists, bassists, and drummers. Dale Crover and Buzz Osbourne were part of both bands at one point in time.

BONUS: Download a free MP3 of “The Kicking Machine” from the 2008 album Nude With Boots.

℗ 2008 Ipecac

2. Sonic Youth. This NYC band was responsible for getting Nirvana to sign a major record deal with Geffen Records.

3. The Vaselines. Nirvana covered three Vaselines songs including “Song Of A Gun.” Do you know the other two?

4. Neil Young & Crazy Horse.  Kurt’s suicide note contained a lyric from Young’s “My Hey Hey (Into The Black).” It quoted the line, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

5.  R.E.M. Sadly the two never got together to record music, but we do know R.E.M.’s early sounds had an impact on Nirvana.  In 1993, Cobain said of R.E.M. “If I could write just a couple of songs as good as what they’ve written … I don’t know how that band does what they do. God, they’re the greatest. They’ve dealt with their success like saints, and they keep delivering great music.”

Come back tomorrow for more featured guest playlists and free MP3s!


Read more about the Melvins and see 2011 tour dates

Visit Last.fm and win the 20th Anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind

New Kurt Cobain Memorial

Nevermind 20th anniversary (and free Nirvana MP3s)

Free Album: Nirvana Tribute, “Newermind”

20th Anniversary Edition of Nirvana “Nevermind” to Feature Butch Vig Mix

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Artists: Nirvana

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