What are the most iconic moments in Kurt Cobain’s life?

He may have sung about ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ but Kurt Cobain was definitely the man who captivated the world. Years after his tragic passing, the rock legend is not only survived by his wife and daughter. His—and Nirvana’s—timeless music will forever be his greatest legacy. Much more than that, Kurt Cobain lived a momentous life that cemented his position as the ‘90s legendary rock icon, transcending across generations even years after his death. No, it was never just the voice. It was his totality as a human that seduced the young with his philosophies as depicted in his songs and his actions as seen on every performance. With the highlights of his life as seen through the public’s eyes, get to know Kurt Cobain and discover why he became a legendary rock icon.

  1. 1Stopping a sexual assault


    Kurt Cobain has always been vocal about his stance against the crimes committed on women. Unfortunately, one male concert-goer didn’t get the memo and did a horrible act in front of the singer—he groped another female concert-goer. Cobain couldn’t just sit still and watch the abuse happen before his eyes. He immediately stopped playing the acoustic version of ‘Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,’ put his guitar on the floor, went to the man and asked him to leave by pointing the exit.  

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  1. 2The charity gig no one saw coming


    While Nirvana was on tour to promote their second album, the band had a sold-out show at Calton Studios in Edinburgh one Friday night. It was after this show that a local band, The Joyriders, invited Cobain and his bandmates to support them in a charity fundraiser which was to happen the following Sunday. Because of how impromptu that invitation was, the organizers couldn’t say with confidence that Nirvana will attend the charity gig. All they did was to hint heavily about Nirvana's attendance. Because of this, many fans thought that the band was never attending the gig, thinking this was not enough of a reason for the band to stay in Edinburgh longer than necessary. However, Kurt Cobain, along with his bandmates, did show up and played a blinder for the lucky few in attendance.

  2. 3Fighting for women’s rights


    Kurt Cobain was ahead of his time. While everyone was—and still is—blaming women for being raped, Cobain never faltered in defending the female population. The rockstar believed that instead of educating women about how to avoid being raped, efforts should be made to educate men not to rape women. To further spread his stand, the singer wrote the anti-rape anthem ‘Rape Me’ from In Utero. In an interview, Cobain explained, “It’s like she’s saying, ‘Rape me, go ahead, rape me, beat me. You’ll never kill me. I’ll survive this and I’m gonna...rape you one of these days and you won’t even know it.’”

  1. 4Instigating a unique friendship


    As if he wasn’t the biggest art appreciator, Kurt Cobain never fell short of letting RuPaul, the mother of drag, know how much he enjoyed his art. This happened during the red carpet event of the 1993 MTV Awards. Cobain, together with his band and his wife and daughter, bumped to RuPaul while on the red carpet. That meeting became the start of a unique friendship that would stand the test of time.

  2. 5Made an unexpected collaboration happen


    A rockstar collaborating with a novelist seems absurd, truth be told. However, Kurt Cobain showed everyone that art was art no matter what the medium was. He reached out to one of his long-time inspirations, novelist William S. Burroughs, for a possible collaboration. The latter sent Cobain a recording of him reading The Junky’s Christmas to which the former added guitar backing based on Silent Night and To Anacreon in Heaven. Months later, the two met and produced The “Priest” They Called him, a spoken word version of The Junky’s Christmas.

  3. 6Protesting live on TV


    Back in the days, performing live on TV involved too many rules. On one occasion, Nirvana was invited to perform their hit single Smells Like Teen Spirit in BBC’s Top of the Pops. As per BBC’s rule, everything except the main vocals will be prerecorded. This didn’t sit well with Nirvana as they were a band. Asking the members to airplay their instruments, miming along with the music, was unacceptable. They did still push through with the performance but they made sure it will be a performance that will go down the history. The band exaggerated their actions, clearly having fun pissing off the TV executives. Most notable was Kurt Cobain who made his voice a few octaves deeper, imitating Morrissey from The Smiths. He even, at one point, tried eating his mic.


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1Stopping a sexual assaultOther 19 Paid
2The charity gig no one saw comingOther 11 Paid
3Fighting for women’s rightsOther 7 Paid
4Instigating a unique friendshipOther 2 Paid
5Made an unexpected collaboration happenOther 1 Paid
6Protesting live on TVOther 0 Paid

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