NPR is such a gold mine. One could literally get caught in hours of excellent programing and come out smarter than before. They recently posted a great compilation of artists that had a major influence on Kurt Cobain.
If you’ve noticed a little more buzz about Nirvana and Cobain recently, it’s because their groundbreaking major label debut album, Nevermind, has recently turned 20 years old. Which is a big deal for people who want to make Nirvana money.
..With Pixies, Cobain was more forthcoming in a 1994 Rolling Stone interview about “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I admit it.”
And then there are friends — the artists who knew Kurt Cobain before Nirvana was even a part of “the year punk broke.” The members of Pacific Northwest bands like Bikini Kill, Beat Happening, Mudhoney, Melvins and Earth were personal and artistic lifelines to Cobain. (He even tried out for Melvins and appeared on an early Earth demo.) And then there are the contemporaries he met on the road, like Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and R.E.M., whose Michael Stipe was set to collaborate with Cobain.
Kurt Cobain was only too happy to spread the love through covers — original versions of those songs appear in this mix — and clever anecdotes about his own music. (The most colorful: “All in all, I think we sound like The Knack and The Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath.”) His proselytizing resulted in everything from lo-fi oddball Daniel Johnston recording a polished yet underrated album, Fun, for a major label to plaid-clad slackers being royally confused by Half Japanese.
AC/DC • Aerosmith • Bad Brains • Beat Happening • The Beatles • Bikini Kill • Black Flag • Black Sabbath • Butthole Surfers • Buzzcocks • Cheap Trick • Chokebore • Creedence Clearwater Revival • Daniel Johnston • David Bowie • Devo • Dinosaur Jr. • Earth • Flipper • The Germs • Half Japanese • Jesus Lizard • Joy Division • Killing Joke • Kiss • The Knack • Leadbelly • Led Zeppelin • Meat Puppets • Melvins • Mudhoney • Neil Young • Pixies • Queen • The Raincoats • R.E.M. • Scratch Acid • Sex Pistols • The Shaggs • Shocking Blue • Shonen Knife • The Slits • Sonic Youth • The Stooges • Swans • Terry Jacks • The Velvet Underground • Vaselines • Wipers • Young Marble Giants (more here)