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Verse Chorus Verse: Nirvana – “About A Girl”

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Kurt was talking about me when he welcomed the lucky bastards who witnessed their watershed Unplugged performance before playing "About A Girl."  It may have annoyed him, but he wasn't talking about me for long because hearing that song sent me to the record store to buy my copy of Bleach.

Nirvana on Unplugged represents something of a Beatles on Ed Sullivan moment for my generation.  I remember watching that performance that night and being left speechless.  I couldn't put my finger on what I'd just seen and I didn't know that it would become immortal and legendary, but there was no doubt that I'd witnessed greatness that night and I knew it.

Unplugged began with the hardly known infectious pop of "About A Girl" and ended with the intense, ferocious Leadbelly cover "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?," a moment that haunted me for years after I first heard it and it haunts me still.  Furthering the Beatles analogy, Cobain said in an interview once that it was an amazing progression from "I Want To Hold Your Hand" to Sgt. Pepper.  The progression from "About a Girl" to "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" feels similarly vast.

For all the jokes and the "Weird" Al parody about Nirvana's unintelligible lyrics and bombastic sound, Cobain had a unique concept of pop music and "About A Girl" is probably the best piece of guitar pop he ever created. 

Bleach turns 20 years old this year and SubPop is releasing a deluxe, remastered version of it.  While it's not 20 years old for me, it's still hard to believe so much time has passed.  We all bragged to our friends about how our music would stand up in the decades to come, but I don't think we gave much thought to what it would mean when our rock became classic rock.  I know I didn't.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Damn, I need to find this song ASAP. Haven’t heard it in a long while. If I remember right, and I don’t claim to, Kurt referred to this as their R.E.M. song.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    He may have but I don’t remember that. He did one time say he wrote it after listening to The Beatles Revolver on repeat. Tricky thing with Cobain is he’d contradict himself every chance he got, so you don’t ever know what you can really believe.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    he’d contradict himself every chance he got

    that’s what heroin addiction will do for ya.

  • Josh Hathaway

    I don’t think heroin is entirely responsible. From the one semi-respectable bio I’ve read about him, he seemed to have a healthy contrarian streak running through him naturally.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    that is true. he also hated music journalists, which sort of went hand-in-hand with his ambivalence about fame.