Not happy with the show’s demand to lip-sync, Kurt Cobain literally tried to swallow the microphone
Nirvana performed an unique version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the British TV show Top Of The Pops on this day in 1991
The quick rise of Grunge Rock during the fall of 1991 was undeniable when Nirvana were invited to perform at the BBC’s popular Top Of The Pops in England on November 28th, 1991. The famous TV show, which was known to give air time to the most popular and trendy artists in the charts that would lip sync their hit of the moment, welcomed Seattle’s favorites Nirvana who were climbing the charts around the world with their album “Nevermind” and the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Just a few months earlier Nirvana were only known among fans of Alternative Rock and Indie music circuits and not Top Of The Pop’s material. When asked to lip-sync ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ to a pre-recorded tape Kurt Cobain protested by singing an octave lower (he later confirmed he was imitating Morrissey from The Smiths, or was it Jim Morrison?), and attempted to eat his microphone at one point. He also changed some of the lyrics, exchanging the opening line “load up on guns, bring your friends,” for “load up on drugs, kill your friends.” The performance was officially released by the band on their home video “Live! Tonight! Sold Out!” in 1994.
Watch Nirvana performing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at Top Of The Pops in 1991
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