I’m sure by now you all know that today marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s fateful death. While his music and lyrical prowess continue to pervade and influence music to this day, Nirvana’s songs also stand as some of the most frequently covered tunes around. From the Godmother of punk and all that is cool, Patti Smith, to the laughable Muppets gang, artists of all genres have tried to recreate the multi-platinum grunge kings’ unmatchable sound, some to absolutely no avail. As you pay tribute to the man whose personal anguish and songwriting helped transform ’90s music, here’s a short list of the good, the bad, and the worst (yes Miley, we’re talking about you) Nirvana covers this side of the Internet.
|Deer Tick – “Serve the Servants”|
Deer Tick originally covered Nirvana’s “In Utero” for a friend’s birthday, but soon after started regularly performing the album under their band alter-ego, Deervana. The Tick sears through the often forgotten track, “Serve the Servants”.
|Jay Reatard – “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle”|
Jay Reatard was best known for his aggressive, post-punk sound. But, akin to Cobain, his career was cut short after an accidental drug overdose. This cover was one of Jay’s last recordings before he passed four years ago, and is a testament to the garage rocker’s hard-hitting lo-fi style.
|Miley Cyrus – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”|
Despite temptation, you won’t be able to look away as Miley spastically head bangs to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in her leather-clad outfit while onstage in Australia. We’d rather see Miley twerking with her tongue out than see her attempt this one again.
|Lana Del Rey – “Heart-Shaped Box”|
Courtney Love wasn’t too happy when she heard this take on her hubby’s famed song. In fact, Love went as far to tell Lana Del Rey that the song was written about her vagina and for Lana to forever think about her ‘heart-shaped box’ every time she sings the song. Um, no thanks.
|Kawehi – “Heart-Shaped Box”|
One woman show, Kawehi, just released this soulful rendition of “Heart-Shaped Box” earlier this week. The video, which was supposedly just a test run, has since gone viral.
|The Muppets – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”|
Although we wouldn’t go as far as calling this cover an attempt to “rape” Kurt Cobain, as Courtney Love eloquently professed when she first heard it, we do think that this rendition is not only ridiculous, but almost impossible to listen to.
|The Flaming Lips – “Pennyroyal Tea”|
This pre-“Nevermind” cover has to be one of the earliest of all. I mean Flaming Lips frontman, Wayne Coyne, still has brown hair. Either way, one legendary rock band covering another– can’t go wrong here.
|Animal Collective – “On a Plain”|
The New York-based project puts its psychedelic spin on this acoustic version of Nirvana’s angsty track.
|Patti Smith – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”|
Patti is queen. Everything she does is genius and everything she touches turns to gold, so enjoy this cover.