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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

The day the music died

Kurt Cobain, front man of the rock group Nirvana, is shown during a benefit concert at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif., April 9, 1993. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)

Nineteen years ago Friday, Kurt Cobain killed himself by self-inflicted gunshot at his home in Seattle.

For an entire generation of music fans, his band Nirvana spoke to them through its energy, lyrics and attitude.

As a kid working in radio, the influence of Nirvana was immediate and profound. Almost overnight, the "hair bands" that dominated rock music disappeared from the charts and the radio. Bands that spent more time on make-up and costumes than they did writing and performing good music went from playing stadiums to dive bars.

I remember when the lead singer of one of those leather pants wearing/blonde hair flowing bands, upon seeing the Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video for the first time, remarked; "It's over boys."

Nirvana, through Kurt's lyrics, sang about the angst, troubles and social issues that mattered to the youth, especially the group that felt nobody listened to or even cared about them. Suddenly, being an outsider, quiet and unsure of yourself, was more acceptable because of Nirvana.

Sadly, Kurt's struggles with his own demons cut short a musical career and deprived us of a voice that that ran counter to today's celebrity culture. His inability to deal with the pressures of fame, star worship and the sudden fact that he was now speaking for millions of people were just too much.

I would add, even sadder is the fact that nobody close enough to him could see his cries for help in time to save him.

So on this day, let's remember the incredible body of work that Kurt Cobain and Nirvana left behind with my favorite song of theirs and the awesome video which was Kurt's idea.

If you thought Nirvana was too gloomy and serious all the time, Kurt wanted a video to dispel that notion and show they could be fun...and destroy stuff.

Movies in a Minute

About the Author


I may not be a native, but I've been in Arizona long enough to forget what it's like back East. I moved to Tucson in the 5th grade where I graduated high school and attended the UofA. The radio bug hit me early and I was a DJ at the age of 17 in Tucson. Besides being on-air at times, my main career focus has been the behind-the-scenes programming of radio stations. I have an extensive background in music radio, in addition to working at and/or running some of the biggest and most influential radio stations in America. My radio career took me to Los Angeles, San Diego and then back to Phoenix. The chance to be back on-air, and to do it at 92.3 KTAR, was too good to pass up… so here we are! Weekends are usually reserved for racing as I own and drive my own dirt track Sprint Car all over the country. I am unmarried (never have been), childless (that I'm aware of) and don't even have any pets at this point. I do own 1 plant but the fact it has survived this long without watering leads me to believe it may be plastic. I love what I do and enjoy hosting a talk radio show for people who don't like "talk radio".

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