Music History 101: Nirvana Trolls A Live TV Audience With That One Song You Know

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“Smells Like Teen Spirit” might be Nirvana’s most popular song, but it was also the song that Kurt Cobain hated the most. Cobain didn’t like that the song had reached such a crazy level of popularity and that it became, for many people, the only Nirvana song they knew. Soon the band stopped playing the song all together live, and if they did play it live the band would deliberately play various versions of the song.

One of their most famous “alternate” performances of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was in 1991 on BBC’s Top of the Pops TV show. The producers had requested that the band play the backing track of the song with Cobain singing live. The request made Cobain furious, but instead of refusing the produers’ request the band agreed to play the show with the backing track.

The video below might be one of the greatest trolls of the MTV era.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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