The reason why John Lydon loves Nirvana and Kurt Cobain

John lydon

It would be understandable if you believed John Lydon to be an iconoclast. As the sardonic frontman of Sex Pistols, Lydon’s profession was demolishing institutions and idols that people held dear. That’s why it’s shocking to learn that Seattle-based grunge band Nirvana was among Lydon’s favourite bands.

Kurt Cobain was the band’s frontman. Punk bands like Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and even early punk groups like The Stooges can be heard heavily in Nirvana’s music. Nirvana’s punk aesthetic is evident on albums like Bleach and In Utero, where Cobain’s erratic vocal performances and the swirling of two guitars dominate. Never mind, Nirvana’s 1991 album, however, signaled a clear change in direction towards a sound that was more radio-friendly. The grungesters, with Butch Vig’s assistance, gained global exposure and turned into the poster kids of a genre that supplanted metal and ruled the charts for the entirety of the 1990s.

Lydon would have expected such commercial success to leave him with a bad taste in his mouth. Nevertheless, despite his distaste for the commercial world, he led one of the most significant and well-liked bands of the 1970s. Lydon’s legacy is not avoidable. There’s some semblance of the glorious trail of destruction left in Sex Pistols’ wake wherever you turn. In an interview, he discussed a few of the albums that have influenced him throughout his career, which has left a distinct crater in the UK music scene.

His selections included the album Nevermind by Nirvana as well as albums by Kraftwerk and Iggy and the Stooges. Lydon remarked, “I remember being very angry at their album title being Nevermind,” about the 1991 release. Never mind?’ was my thought. Is it that you’ve lost your balls, or what? I might have been overly critical, but I have to admit that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is among the best pop songs ever. That song has a deep psychological impact on me. I therefore pardon them.

For John Lydon, what set Nirvana apart was its capacity to captivate the attention of young people worldwide. Nirvana produced “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which became one of the iconic songs of the decade. Across decades, “Every Little Thing” continues to actively soundtrack the turbulent emotions of countless adolescents, its insightful lyrics perfectly capturing the rollercoaster of angst and disillusionment that comes with teenage life. Is it any surprise Lydon felt so strongly about Nirvana?

Nirvana accomplished the same thing in the 1970s with Nevermind as the Pistols had with Never Mind The Bollocks. Similar to the Pistols, they managed to simultaneously acknowledge and eliminate the grievances of a whole generation.

Lydon was recognized in Nirvana as a band capable of transforming the entire world. He was nevertheless unable to ignore the undercurrent of melancholy that ran through their songwriting. According to Lydon, most bands are unable to write a single, cohesive song, but occasionally a single song suffices. Something about “Heart-Shaped Box” was beginning to sound suicidal by then. I sensed it approaching.

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