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Seventeen years ago today, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide at the age of 27.
In honor of the talented musician’s life, THR looks at his five most memorable moments:
1. He shows up at the 1992 Reading Festival in a wheelchair.
To fire back at the press for accusing him of being a useless drug addict, he arrives at Nirvana’s headlining gig at the annual UK music fest in a blonde wig and a wheelchair. The show ends up being one of their most memorable, with Dave Grohl later saying he could hear the 50,000 audience members chanting the lyrics to “Lithium.”
2. He wears “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” T-shirt to Rolling Stone shoot.
For a 1992 cover story, photographers arrange to have the band wear Brooks Brothers suits to illustrate their sudden success. “Kurt was very resistant,” celeb shutterbug Mark Seliger has said. “He didn’t want to be publicized. He didn’t want anything but to be true to his fans and to the music.” To emphasize his discontent, Cobain shows up to the shoot in a T-shirt that reads: “Corporate Magazines Still Suck.”
3. He weds Courtney Love in his pajamas.
On Feb. 24, 1992, he and Love get hitched on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Cobain wears green pajamas because, he says at the time, he had been “too lazy to put on a tux”. On Aug. 18, 1992, the couple’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, is born.
4. He imitates Morrissey.
In what has later been called one of the top 10 alternative music moments on television, he appears on UK’s The Top of the Pops and performs “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in silly sunglasses. He plays the guitar with no hands and sings as though he is heavily sedated. He later says he was imitating Morrissey.
5. He takes his life, rattling the music industry.
On April 8, 1994, Cobain is found dead at his home in Seattle, the result of an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. He is remembered as one of the most iconic rock musicians in alt rock history, ranking No. 12 on Rolling Stone’s greatest guitarist list and No. 45 on the magazine’s greatest singer of all time list. MTV hails him the seventh greatest voice in music.
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