Kurt Cobain’s legacy lives

There are few artists whose impact has been so great they are still talked about as if they are still active decades after their death.

Monday marked the would be the 50th birthday of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

Cobain made his musical debut with Nirvana in November 1988 in the form of a cover of “Love Buzz” released as a single on Sub Pop records.  

A year later the band released their punk rock and metal influenced debut album, “Bleach.”

It wasn’t until 1991 when the group began work on “Nevermind” that they catapulted to the forefront of pop culture.  

The lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” found the band with unexpected success. The expertly written song captured the caustic apathy of a generation and articulated it in a way everybody could understand.

Cobain’s love for abrasive, hard music and knack for writing melodies married the worlds of hardcore and pop music. Never before had punk rock been so accessible, nor pop music so aggressively emotional.

Nirvana became the bridge between tenderness and rage that connected the marginalized with the mainstream. This manifested not only through the music but in seemingly everything Cobain did.

Using his new platform to assume the position of a spokesman for a generation, he took great care to maintain his punk-inspired values.  

Cobain’s stubbornness reinforced Nirvana’s value in an industry that was becoming increasingly more and more commercialized.   

“He was one of the few rock musicians who succeeded in packing amazingly deep sorrow in catchy songs,” said rock music historian Piero Scaruffi. “Rather than living his life, he simply lived the idea of it.”

From his progressive political views to the creation of grunge fashion, Cobain’s cultural influence is alive and well 23 years after his death.