Kurt Cobain 1967-1994: Nirvana’s best TV moments

On the 19th anniversary of the Nirvana front-man's death, we look back at some of the band's most notable TV appearances

It’s been 19 years to the day since Nirvana’s singer, guitarist and principle songwriter Kurt Cobain committed suicide at his home in Seattle, aged just 27.


But despite it being nearly two decades since his death, Cobain’s popularity remains undimmed and Twitter was flooded today with tributes to the musician. “R.I.P Kurt Cobain, gone but never forgotten,” wrote one fan, while another said: “He was the reason I picked up a guitar.”

To celebrate the life of the great musician, we’ve collated some of Kurt’s best bits from TV… enjoy:

Top of the Pops – Sure, Nirvana weren’t the first band to take the mickey out of TOTP’s miming policy but they were more creative than most, with Kurt’s goth-tastic vocal line nicely darkening the rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit they performed on the show in 1991. Also, if you watch the clip, check out the top ten before Nirvana kick in. Whatever happened to Altern-8, Bizarre Inc. and 2 Unlimited?!

(Head over to YouTube to see the clip; owing to copyright restrictions, it can’t be embedded here)

The Jonathan Ross Show – In a bit of an Alan Partridge “rock ‘n’ roll, let’s all have a pear!” moment, Nirvana hoodwinked Wossy when they turned up on his show at the end of 1991. The band were there to perform their nice, gentle single Lithium, but instead decided to play a raging rendition of non-single Territorial Pissings before smashing up their instruments, slouching off and leaving Wossy’s ears winging.

VMA Awards – A lot of rock critics have called Nirvana’s music mind-blowing, which was a fitting description of the band’s performance at the Video Music Awards in 1992, when bassist Krist Novoselic managed to knock himself out with his own guitar at the song’s climax. Ah, this is a clip that just never gets old…

MTV Unplugged – Surprising anyone who thought Nirvana were no-talent noiseniks, this intimate performance from 1993 was jam-packed with unexpected acoustic covers and collaborations, including this delightful ditty featuring countrified alt-punk act The Meat Puppets.

(Head over to YouTube to see the clip; owing to copyright restrictions, it can’t be embedded here)


Tunnel – Alas, like the band, we’re ending on something of a downer: two months after this performance was recorded in February 1994 for Italian television, Kurt would be dead. But the performance itself is one of melancholic brilliance, with the addition of a cellist on Dumb lending the tune an air of real funereal significance.