Listen: Kurt Cobain's isolated vocals on Smells Like Teen Spirit
2nd Mar 2012 | 21:40
The Nirvana classic as you've never heard it
A few weeks ago, it was a YouTube video of Eric Clapton's isolated guitar from The Beatles' While My Guitar Gently Weeps that blew people's minds. Today, a clip of Kurt Cobain's isolated vocals from Nirvana's classic Smells Like Teen Spirit is having a similar impact.
When you click on the video above, don't think something is wrong - it takes 38 seconds for Kurt's singing to begin, and it's well worth the wait. By turns childlike and demonic, aloof and impassioned, it's a brilliant, one-of-a-kind performance - thrilling and haunting.
Nirvana recorded Smells Like Teen Spirit with producer Butch Vig in May 1991 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California. Vig has said that Cobain tracked his vocals in three takes - a generous amount, apparently, as four passes on anything were rare for the singer. It's fascinating to hear the production techniques that Vig employed: Cobain's singing in the verses appears to be a single lead vocal, while in the pre-choruses and choruses his voice is doubled.
Issued to radio on 21 August 1991, Smells Like Teen Spirit was the first single off of Nirvana's 30-million-selling album, Nevermind.