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.