In the late 1980s Nirvana established itself as part of the Seattle grunge scene, releasing its first album Bleach for the independent recordlabel Sub Pop in 1989. The band eventually came to develop a sound that relied on dynamic contrasts, often between quiet verses and loud, heavy choruses. After signing to major label DGC Records, Nirvana found unexpected success with "Smells Like Teen Spirit", the first single from the band's second album Nevermind (1991). Nirvana's sudden success widely popularized alternative rock as a whole,and as the band's frontman Cobain found himself referred to in the media as the "spokesman of a generation", with Nirvana being considered the "flagship band" of Generation X. Nirvana's third studio album In Utero (1993), challenged the group's audience, featuring an abrasive, less-mainstream sound.
Nirvana's brief run ended following the suicide of Cobain in 1994, but various posthumousreleases have been issued since, overseen by Novoselic, Grohl, and Cobain's widow Courtney Love. Since its debut, the band has sold over 25 million albums in the United States alone, and over 50 million worldwide
Formation and early years
Cobain and Novoselic met while attending Aberdeen High, although they never connected, according to Cobain. The pair eventually became friends while frequentingthe practice space of the Melvins. Cobain wanted to form a band with Novoselic, but Novoselic did not respond to his overtures, which included handing him a demo tape of his project Fecal Matter. Three years after the two first met, Novoselic notified Cobain that he had finally listened to the Fecal Matter demo Cobain had given him, and suggested they start a group. The pair recruited BobMcFadden on drums, but after a month the project fell apart. In winter of 1987, Cobain and Novoselic recruited drummer Aaron Burckhard. The trio practiced material from Cobain's Fecal Matter tape, but started writing new material soon after forming.
During its initial months, the band went through a series of names, starting with Skid Row and including Pen Cap Chew, Bliss, and Ted Ed Fred. Thegroup finally settled on Nirvana, which Cobain said was chosen because "I wanted a name that was kind of beautiful or nice and pretty instead of a mean, raunchy punk rock name like the Angry Samoans". With Novoselic and Cobain having moved to Tacoma and Olympia, Washington, respectively, the two temporarily lost contact with Burckhard. The pair instead practiced with Dale Crover of theMelvins, and Nirvana recorded its first demos in January 1988. In early 1988, Crover moved to San Francisco but recommended Dave Foster to the band as his replacement on drums. Foster's tenure with Nirvana lasted only a few months; during a stint in jail, he was replaced by a returning Burckhard, who himself didn't stay with the band after telling Cobain he was too hung over to practice oneday. Cobain and Novoselic put an ad in Seattle music publication The Rocket seeking a replacement drummer which only yielded unsatisfactory responses. Meanwhile, a mutual friend introduced the pair to Chad Channing, and the three musicians agreed to jam together. Channing continued to jam with Cobain and Novoselic, although the drummer noted, "They never actually said 'Ok, you're in.'", andChanning played his first show with the group that May.
Nirvana released its first single, "Love Buzz", in November 1988 on the Seattle independent record label Sub Pop. The following month, the band began recording its debut album, Bleach, with local producer Jack Endino. Bleach was highly influenced by the heavy dirge-rock of the Melvins and Mudhoney, 1980s punk...