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Kurt Cobain

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Born in the rural logging town of Aberdeen, Washington, Kurt Cobain started playing the piano as a child and took a natural liking to his parents' Beatles records, but after they divorced when he was eight, Cobain struggled to fit in with his father's second wife and spent his teenage years living with several different family members.

A shy, artistic child, Cobain found his identity when he was gifted his first guitar for his 14th birthday and began discovering punk rock through friend Kurt Novoselic and mentor Buzz Osbourne from The Melvins. Cobain and Novoselic went on to form Nirvana in 1987 and their hastily recorded demo tape soon landed them a deal with Seattle indie label Sub Pop and became the basis for debut album 'Bleach'. With Dave Grohl's pounding backbeat completing the line-up, the trio were at the forefront as the heavy, snarling, distorted Seattle sound became the talk of the music industry, with 1991 seeing their single 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' exploding from a popular MTV hit to become a global, era-defining anthem.

Their album 'Nevermind' caused a sensation too, knocking Michael Jackson off the top of the US charts, selling over 30 million copies worldwide and later becoming regarded as an all-time classic, but Cobain was never comfortable with his fame and the pressure began to take its toll. Their following album 'In Utero' was a visceral, abrasive return to their DIY, outsider roots, deliberately designed not to appeal to commercial audiences, but Nirvana were well established as international stars and Cobain's relationship with Hole front woman Courtney Love was making tabloid headlines. Despite marrying and fathering a daughter with Love, Cobain's heroin addiction, depression and health problems continued to escalate, and in 1994 he returned to Seattle where he committed suicide. The posthumous album release of Nirvana's acclaimed acoustic session for 'MTV Unplugged' served as a poignant tribute to Cobain's often overlooked songwriting talent, and he remains one of the most influential artists to emerge from the 1990s.