From Muse and Lana Del Rey to Biffy and beyond
Andrew Trendell

14:58 21st September 2015

21 September: On this day in 1993, Nirvana released what would become their third and final album - the searing and seminal In Utero. 

While it may not have had the Earth-shattering, game-changing and era-defining impact of Nevermind, many regard it to be the band's finest album: distilling Kurt Cobain and co's ethos, artistry, honesty and raw power without compromise. 

As the world celebrates In Utero with the forthcoming 20th anniversary reissue, we take a look at the artists that were inspired by In Utero and Nirvana and the impact of one of the seminal albums of recent times. From Muse to the Manics, 30 Seconds To Mars to Fall Out Boy and Biffy to Lana Del Rey, the inspirational power of In Utero certainly can't be denied. 

  • 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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Photo: Wenn