Raging with angst, nihilism and Kurt Cobain's pained growl, the Seattle grunge icons were the sound of a disenchanted generation fuelled on rejection and recession, distorting punk aesthetics into a howling drain of outsider rock. Inspired by The Pixies, the fevered distortion of heavy metal and the scowling DIY anarchy of punk, Kurt and Krist were united by a mutual love of The Melvins and had several drummers and name changes before Dave Grohl became a fixture in 1990. Debut album Bleach (1989) was an underground hit and, after signing to DGC Records, they developed a slightly more pop sound climaxed by Smells Like Teen Spirit - which became an anthem for a generation - while Nevermind (1991) knocked Michael Jackson's Dangerous off the top of the US album charts. B-Sides album Incesticide (1992) and chart-topping follow-up In Utero (1993) sought to re-establish their alternative credentials but they were now one of the world's biggest bands. Fighting depression and heroin addiction Kurt Cobain shot himself dead on April 8, 1994.

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