Includes Public Enemy, David Bowie + more
Edward Keeble
15:26 22nd January 2014

A list of Kurt Cobain's top 50 albums has emerged online, featuring a who's who of the era and giving a unique insight into the influences of the Nirvana front man. 

The list is a comprehensive melting pot that shaped a 90s grunge star such as Cobain. It includes bands like the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Public Enemy, Mudhoney and more sounds that can easily be attributed to aiding the formation of Nirvana's sound. 

Perhaps most notable is the inclusion of Iggy Pop and the Stooges' 'Raw Power' at the top, an album that exudes a similar anarchic songwriting process and vocal style to Cobain's. There is also the presence of more classic influences such as the The Beatles and David Bowie, which may reflect Nirvana's ability to forray into the world of pop.

See the full list below

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The full list reads as follows: 

1. Iggy and the Stooges, “Raw Power”
2. Pixies, “Surfer Rosa”
3. The Breeders, “Pod”
4. The Vaselines, “Pink EP”
5. The Shaggs, “Philosophy of the World”
6. Fang, “Landshark”
7. MDC, “Millions of Dead Cops”
8. Scratch Acid, “Scratch Acid EP”
9. Saccharine Trust, “Paganicons”
10. Butthole Surfers, “Pee Pee the Sailor” aka “Brown Reason to Live”
11. Black Flag, “My War”
12. Bad Brains, “Rock for Light”
13. Gang of Four, “Entertainment!”
14. Sex Pistols, “Never Mind the Bollocks”
15. The Frogs, “It’s Only Right and Natural”
16. PJ Harvey, “Dry”
17. Sonic Youth, “Daydream Nation”
18. The Knack, “Get the Knack”
19. The Saints, “Know Your Product”
20. anything by Kleenex
21. The Raincoats, “The Raincoats”
22. Young Marble Giants, “Colossal Youth”
23. Aerosmith, “Rocks”
24. Various Artists, “What Is It”
25. R.E.M., “Green”
26. Shonen Knife, “Burning Farm”
27. The Slits, “Typical Girls”
28. The Clash, “Combat Rock”
29. The Faith/Void, “Split EP”
30. Rites of Spring, “Rites of Spring”
31. Beat Happening, “Jamboree”
32. Tales of Terror, “Tales of Terror”
33. Leadbelly, “Leadbelly’s Last Sessions Vol. 1″
34. Mudhoney, “Superfuzz Bigmuff”
35. Daniel Johnston, “Yip/Jump Music”
36. Flipper, “Generic Flipper”
37. The Beatles, “Meet the Beatles”
38. Half Japanese, “We Are They Who Ache With Amorous Love”
39. Butthole Surfers, “Locust Abortion Technician”
40. Black Flag, “Damaged”
41. Fear, “The Record”
42. PiL, “Flowers of Romance”
43. Public Enemy, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”
44. Marine Girls, “Beach Party”
45. David Bowie, “The Man Who Sold the World”
46. Wipers, “Is This Real?”
47. Wipers, “Youth of America”
48. Wipers, “Over the Edge”
49. Mazzy Star, “She Hangs Brightly”
50. Swans, “Young God”

Below: the huge bands and artists inspired by Nirvana

  • Fall Out Boy: Speaking to NME ahead of In Utero's anniversary, guitarist Joe Trohman said "I'm a big Nirvana fan, like in the 90's - it's definitely an era when we all grew up. That record - lyrically it's one of the most raw Nirvana records and sonically because Steve Albini engineered it. It definitely sounds like a loud record, it sounds like three guys playing in a room together."

  • Flaming Lips: The band started out as a much grungier outfit that the psych-rock space mentalists we know today, and even toured with Nirvana as far back as 1989. In 2007, Wayne Coyne told The Guardian that In Utero was "far superior" to Nevermind. You can hear the love and respect for the band in Flaming Lips' cover of the In Utero classic 'Pennyroyal Tea'. Youtube it, it's awesome.

  • Manic Street Preachers: The depression, troubles and disappearance of Richey Edwards are often mentioned in reference to the demise of Kurt Cobain, while their cult classic The Holy Bible is held in the same league for raw emotion and bleakness as In Utero. Bassist Nicky Wire has often spoken of Nirvana's influence on This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, while the impact of the band can certainly be heard on their cover of In Utero's 'Pennyroyal Tea'.

  • Everything Everything: That 'Heart-Shaped Box' is still one of their favourite songs and play it every time before they go on stage: "We're huge fans of Nirvana's In Utero. I actually prefer that album to Nevermind, which some people find perverse but I really prefer the sound of it. Nevermind has this amazing streamlined pop quality to it, but In Utero feels like the true essence of the band ought to be."

  • Lana Del Rey: Explaining her cover of In Utero's 'Heart-Shaped Box, the 'Video Games' star told Sirius FM: “When I was 11, I saw Kurt Cobain singing 'Heart Shaped Box' on MTV and it really stopped me dead in my tracks. I thought he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Even at a young age, I really related to his sadness. She added: I never revisited his music again until I was about 17 or 18, and then when I did, it still meant just as much to me then. It's continued to be my primary inspiration – in terms of not wanting to compromise lyrically or sonically."

  • Feeder: Another band who came to be in the heyday of grunge around the time of In Utero are Feeder - who have often cited Kurt Cobain and co as influences and covered their tracks.

  • 30 Seconds To Mars: Jared Leto cites Nirvana as one of his biggest influences, telling Q Magazine: "Nirvana were a great band, Kurt was a genius songwriter with an unstoppable voice and they were three musicians that made a really unique sound - but there was something else that Nirvana gave, and that was the gift of permission for all of us to have the right to pick up an instrument and create."

  • Placebo: Any three-piece band formed in the mid-90s with a heavy emphasis on riffs, unrelenting vocals and emotive lyrics is going to get Cobain comparisons, and Placebo were plagued by the tag 'the glam rock Nirvana' for years. However, they do admit the band's influence and have even covered them.

  • Frank Turner: The alt-folk hero has never shyed away from love of Nirvana. He's covered their classics and even paid tribute to Cobain by controversially coming on stage at Reading & Leeds in a wheelchair.

  • Weezer: Rivers Cuomo has been very vocal about the impact of Nirvana when Weezer first formed. Kurt Cobain was even mentioned by name in the original draft for the lyrics to 'Susanne', but upon Cobain's death, the line was altered. When the song was brought back into the band's setlists in 2010, the original line ("Even Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose/When I call, you put them all on hold.") was restored.

  • Biffy Clyro: Beyond the beards, occasional blonde hair, blistering vocals and insane stage antics, Nirvana's impact on Biffy is well-documented. When they first formed just after In Utero's release, The Biff admit that they sounded 'like every other band who'd ever heard Nirvana'. Speaking to FaceCulture in 2007, frontman Simon Neil said: "A band like Nirvana comes along and they're normal guys making music. Guns 'N' Roses were very close to my heart but Nirvana felt a lot more real, so when I saw them I thought 'I can play music, I can do this."

  • Muse: The Devonshire trio were met with many Nirvana and Radiohead comparisons when they emerged with debut album Showbiz. Speaking to NME in 1999, frontman Matt Bellamy said: "We take our influences from lots of American bands, like Nirvana." Bassist Chris Wolstenholme added: "We were into Nirvana when we were younger, when we were in previous bands we did covers of their stuff, it was what got us into bands really, it was what made us want to be in bands."


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