BBC Home
Explore the BBC
Witness  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
 
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1994: 'We love and respect you, Kurt'
Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead on 8 April 1994, aged just 27 years old.

The suicide of the American grunge rock idol was considered by many to have been tragically predictable - he was another drug-addicted, angst-ridden pop musician dying in his prime.

Even his mother, Wendy O'Connor, is said to have warned her son not to join the "stupid club" of rock stars who died young.

But the supposed inevitability of the singer's early death did nothing to reduce the shock felt by millions of Nirvana's fans, or the sense that rock music had lost one of its greatest songwriters in a generation.

Your memories

I just can't believe it's been so many years - the pain still seems as real today as it did when I heard the news. I was in the car with my parents, and my mum read out from the paper that Kurt had been found dead. From that moment my life changed.

I'll be forever in debt to how Nirvana have influenced my life. They have shaped my musical tastes, and have helped to form the person that I am today. They will always be my favourite band, and Kurt will always be my favourite musician. It just still really hurts inside.
Nicola, England

[I] always understood Kurt's 'reasons' for doing what he did
Jon Coles, UK
I'm 26 and still a big fan. Back in 1994 I remember being very upset at the news but always understood Kurt's "reasons" for doing what he did.

Being incredibly grateful for what he gave the world overrode feelings of anger or despair. Kurt was one of those very special individuals who occasionally come along and change EVERYONE.

I remember at the time some DJ coming on Virgin Radio and gleefully saying that Nirvana would only be a two-line footnote in music history or something. Ten years on and I'm delighted to see that thanks to the fans, the music and magazines like Kerrang!, the opposite has happened! Thanks Kurt, R.I.P.
Jon Coles, UK

I was 14 and getting ready to go to a wedding when I heard the news, I also remember that it was Grand National day.

I had been listening to records by Black Sabbath and David Bowie from my parent's record collection, and when Nirvana came on the scene I was able to inspire them with my records just as they inspired me.

My whole family was devastated on that day, and we relived that sorrow last year when Layne Staley of Alice In Chains died. For me, Nirvana will remind me of hot summer days with the whole family listening to Nevermind or Bleach and enjoying the freshness of that sound.
K Walker, UK

I still can't listen to the riff at the beginning of Smells like Teen Spirit without the hairs on the back of my neck standing up
Matt Searle, UK
I vividly recall hearing the news of his death at about 2am on Radio 5 live. I was 16 at the time, and had just come in from a night out at our local club where jumping around to Lithium or Smells like Teen Spirit was a weekly event.

I was a big Nirvana fan (still am), and it felt like quite a loss at the time. Kurt was my generation's Hendrix or Morrison. I still can't listen to the riff at the beginning of Smells like Teen Spirit without the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. A true rock great.
Matt Searle, UK

Truly sad - but such a waste
Mat, England
Musical geniuses often die young. Kurt's own mother sadly said that he'd joined the stupid club to which Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin also belonged - all died at 27.

I was too young when those guys died so Kurt's death was my first experience of losing a musical hero. Truly sad, but such a waste. Yes, he came from a broken home but his constant self-pitying was like that of a teenager - probably why he appealed to us all so much.

He had a far better life than many and he had a daughter to live for, and so I can't help but see his suicide as the climax of a self-indulgent existence. A huge talent, greatly missed, nevertheless.
Mat, England

Ten years on and still I feel the same as when I heard that fateful news. Kurt will never be replaced or forgotten - his music will live on for new and old people alike. We love and respect you Kurt: "It's better to burn out than fade away."
Phil, England

Nirvana brought a brutal end to the monotony of the heavy metal of the 90s and the tin-pot flashiness of Glam. They really brought new life to real band music, with powerful lyrics that still move me today.

The day Kurt died I was listening to the radio, in a state of shock. They had a presenter in Seattle who was describing the weirdness of the atmosphere in that city, but it was just as eerie in the UK.

My Dad always said they'd be a flash in the pan act, but I think the legacy has proved Dad wrong.
Ruth, UK

Drugs may block out life's problems in the short term but keep using those drugs and they will take everything from you
Stuart Anderson, Scotland
Cobain was one of the best musicians of the 90s. His music inspired a generation and will continue to inspire generations of the future. In the end the smack get the better of him and he just couldn't take it any more.

If we can learn one thing from Kurt's Death, it is that drugs may block out life's problems in the short term but keep using those drugs and they will take everything from you. What is the point of living if you have nothing to live for?
Stuart Anderson, Scotland

8 April 1994, Nirvana play Dublin. Well, that's how it should have been. Instead, my six-year-old sister having seen the news comes in to my room and in words I'll never forget, informs me, "Nirvana's dead".

I just closed the door, put on Nevermind and listened to Something In The Way over and over again. Ten years hasn't diminished my sense of loss, and 8 April still pains me as much as it did back then.

RIP Kurt Donald Cobain... see you on the other side.
Conor, Ireland

I remember being the first person in Bophuthatswana to have bought the Nevermind CD.

The band's lyrics helped me to express the complete apathy the older generation had and probably still has towards young folk - i.e. no faith in them.

There will always be the same question asked when you talk about his death: was he in the same league as Hendrix, etc or did he do enough in his lifetime to change the way people express themselves in this day and age?
Brynn Jones, South Africa

When you talk of Kurt there are many words that come to my head, such as great, extraordinary, amazing. Even though I was six years old when Kurt committed suicide I feel so sad.

I feel sad every time it comes to April - I hear the CD and I always cry. I feel so sad because I can't give people what he gave me.
Sebastian Stein, Venezuela

I was in the Floral Hall Rock Night in Southport, UK. Everyone was moshing to stuff like Guns N Roses, Poison and Motley Crue. Of course I was sitting down watching in disgust! ;)

Next minute, they played this song and everyone went berserk! Knocking each other over, blood flying and kicking out. It was mental but it was great! Aggression, passion, relief! I then went and asked the DJ: "What the hell was that?"
Suth, UK

I am only 12, but I love Nirvana and it makes me feel really sad when I think about Kurt. He had a great talent, but unfortunately wanted to die. I wonder what it would be like if he was still alive today. RIP
Will Harris, UK

Kurt's memory will live on forever and his music certainly will
Peter, New Zealand
It doesn't seem like 10 years since Kurt's death - his music still lives on big time here. I will never forget hearing the news, I was in Paris on a school trip and the news gradually filtered through.

I had never ever seen a mass outpouring of grief for anyone on this scale before - very, very moving. Kurt's memory will live on forever and his music certainly will. As Kurt said: "It's better to Burn Out than to Fade away."
Peter, New Zealand

The biggest feeling I have is of sympathy for Kurt. He clearly struggled with life in general and his talent put him in the even more difficult position of being in the public eye - "I'm worse at what I do best". I hope that he has found some kind of peace.
Alex Pullen, UK

I found a great sense of belonging as I listening to his music as a teenager. The first time I heard Nevermind, it just blew me away. A complete tragedy that such a talented musician left us so young. I will never forget him or his music.
Matt Harris, England

I was in High School in 1994, a Nirvana fan then and now. I remember everyone at school just being in shock at the news.

Tonight I will be raising a glass to the memory of Kurt - and believe as others do that he was one of the most important musicians of our time.
Simon, Scotland
We had tickets to watch Nirvana in Glasgow about a week later. I put on my Nirvana records one after another and just sat not believing what had happened.

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since. Tonight I will be raising a glass to the memory of Kurt - and believe as others do that he was one of the most important musicians of our time. Perhaps not a legacy he wished to have, but deserves.

It's a shame we never got to hear more of Nirvana but the records that we have will stand forever important and in our hearts. An icon for the 90s youth, he will forever be missed. But remember him in the best light, he rocked.
Simon, Scotland

I was lucky enough to see Nirvana twice.

The first time was around when Bleach had come out - they played at the bottom of a three-band bill. I'd never heard them before and like most of the crowd was at the bar when they came on.

By the end of their short set, the Astoria crowd was going crazy. I had never seen a band with such immediate impact before. I went to get a t-shirt but they'd sold out.

Everything changed after that gig for me.

When the sad news came ten years ago I was just angry. Such a waste.
John, Australia

It is one of my biggest musical regrets never to have seen them live
Francisco Pizarro, UK
I still remember the day when my girlfriend at the time ran down the stairs and said Kurt was dead. I could hardly believe it. It is one of my biggest musical regrets never to have seen them live. It's a true shame that he died and left behind a daughter and wife.
Francisco Pizarro, UK

Nothing was ever quite the same afterwards.
Zoe Anderson, Northern Ireland

I'll never forget when I first heard Teen Spirit: it was truly a great moment in history. I was saddened to learn of his death. Nirvana, and indeed Kurt, will never be forgotten.
Simon Stewart, Scotland

I know that Kurt went through a lot in his life: the divorce of his parents, struggling to survive in the music business.

The truth is that struggling makes you tougher. That's why I wouldn't be surprised if in the future somebody will put an end to the controversy about Kurt being killed instead of it being suicide. It will solve the case once and for all. Peace.
Rob, Canada

My all-time favourite Nirvana song has to be Come As You Are because it really made me see sense of my life, because people wanted me to change the way I am for them.

I listened to the song and thought to myself, "Yes, you take me as I come" and that's how it got to be my favourite song!

RIP Kurt, we all love and miss you loads.
Katie, England

I remember that day when I saw Nirvana and heard Kurt's voice. I was watching MTV's Unplugged concert. Then I was 10 years old and I didn't know who he was. I didn't know that he was using drugs and I don't even care!

Just because he was doing THAT it doesn't mean that he was not normal. He won me over with his voice and songs.

First, I thought that Courtney was really depressed when she heard that Kurt is dead. I was really sorry for her, but now I don't think so.

He didn't kill himself, he was talking about his grandchildren, about quitting Nirvana, not quitting his life. Yes, he was sensitive.

I haven't talked to him, I didn't know him personally, but I can say that I miss him. We all miss him, his pretty face, his so beautiful blue eyes, his voice and his music.

What can I say else... Just the words that Kurt said - that it's better to burn out than fade away. Peace, Love, Empathy. With love for Kurt, that will never fade away.
Inga, Lithuania

I guess Kurt owes me. I got a ticket for this Flughafen gig in Munich. Sadly he was a no show this was just before his sad demise. I miss him he affects me still but I'm taking my ticket upstairs when I go.
Hayley, England

 E-mail this story to a friend


Kurt Cobain singing
Nirvana popularised Seattle's grunge rock movement


Police remove Kurt Cobain's body
Kurt Cobain was only 27 when he died
Witness Stories


 
Search ON THIS DAY by date
 

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy