Released September 24, 1991
Studio Smart Studios, Madison, Wisconsin; Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, California; Devonshire Studios, North Hollywood, California
Genre Grunge
Length 42:38
Label DGC
Producer Butch Vig
Album Guide
In Utero

Nevermind was the highly influential second album by Nirvana. It was their breakthrough and their most successful album, and it was released on September 24, 1991.

Songs/Overview[edit | edit source]

Nevermind catapulted Nirvana from relative obscurity to the heights of commercial and critical success virtually overnight. The album brought significant attention to the Seattle-based grunge movement which dominated throughout the majority of the 90s. In the wake of its success, other Seattle bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains would go on to have hit albums as well, and other alternative rock artists were suddenly being played on the radio and courted by record labels.

Nevermind was produced by Butch Vig and mixed by Andy Wallace, who crafted the band's distorted guitars, pounding drums, rumbling bass and cathartic vocals into an album which appealed to a wide audience, and set the standard for rock music throughout the 1990s. Singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain would later express dissatisfaction with the album's "slick", radio-friendly production, but also admitted in Michael Azerrad's 1993 Nirvana biography, Come as You Are, that listening to the album sometimes moved him to tears.

Nevermind reached #1 on Billboard Music Chart's Top 200 albums and the Heatseekers chart. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

Nevermind was listed #17 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, despite only getting four stars out of five when this magazine reviewed it originally in 1991.

Nevermind was certified gold and platinum by the RIAA on November 27, 1991.

Pressings[edit | edit source]

In the U.S., the album was released on Sub Pop (Catalog: SP-34). The first 1,000 copies were pressed on white vinyl, the next 2,000 on black vinyl, and all subsequent pressings were on assorted colored vinyl. The first 3,000 copies of the record came with a poster, featuring Jason Everman.

In the UK the record was released via Tupelo Records (Catalog: TUPLP6), and later Geffen Records (Catalog:GEF-24433). The first 300 Tupelo copies were pressed on white vinyl, the next 2,000 copies were on dark green vinyl.

In Australia the LP was released on Waterfront Records [1](DAMP114) and later issued on various colored covers and colored vinyl before it was deleted in late 1992.

Sub Pop released a remastered version of the album on CD and cassette in April 1992.

Singles[edit | edit source]

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" was released as Nevermind's first single in September 1991. The single features "Drain You," "Even in His Youth" and "Aneurysm" as b-sides. The song, and its accompanying music video depicting a high school pep rally gone awry, played a significant role in the album's surprising success.

The second single was for "Come as You Are," and features "Endless, Nameless" and live versions of "Drain You" and "School" as b-sides. It was released in March 1992. The third single was for "Lithium," and was released in July 1992. It features a live version of "Been a Son," as well as "Curmudgeon" and "D-7," as b-sides. Nevermind's fourth and final single was for "In Bloom," released in November 1992 and featuring live versions of "Sliver" and "Polly" as b-sides.

Album cover[edit | edit source]

The infamous Nevermind album cover features a nude baby (Spencer Elden) swimming towards a dollar attached to a fishing hook. According to Cobain, he conceived the idea while watching a television program on water births with drummer Dave Grohl. The fishhook and bill were also Cobain's idea, and were superimposed later. The Serial Number on the dollar bill is "L 94998746 B."

Geffen prepared an alternate cover without the penis, as they were afraid that it would offend people, but decided to not release this cover, as Cobain made it clear that all he would accept was a sticker over the penis that read "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile." The alternate cover is featured in Come As You Are.

Track listing[edit | edit source]

(All songs by Kurt Cobain and Nirvana unless otherwise noted)

  1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" – 5:01 (Cobain/Grohl/Novoselic) – Lyrics
  2. "In Bloom" – 4:14 – Lyrics
  3. "Come As You Are" – 2:48 (Cobain) – Lyrics
  4. "Breed" – 3:03 – Lyrics
  5. "Lithium" – 4:16 (Cobain) – Lyrics
  6. "Polly" – 2:57 – Lyrics
  7. "Territorial Pissings" – 2:22 – Lyrics
  8. "Drain You" – 3:43 – Lyrics
  9. "Lounge Act" – 2:36 – Lyrics
  10. "Stay Away" – 3:32 – Lyrics
  11. "On a Plain" – 3:16 – Lyrics
  12. "Something in the Way" – 3:42 – Lyrics
  13. "Endless, Nameless" – 6:45 (Hidden track that can be found on most copies of the record. Begins following ten minutes of silence after Track 13.) – Lyrics

Personnel[edit | edit source]

  • Kurt Cobain - vocals, guitar, monkey photo (as Kurdt Kobain), photography
  • Krist Novoselic (as Chris Novoselic) - bass guitar, vocals
  • Dave Grohl - drums, vocals


  • Butch Vig - co-producer, engineering
  • Nirvana - co-producer
  • Kirk Canning - cello on "Something In The Way"
  • Chad Channing - cymbals on "Polly"
  • Kirk Weddle - cover photo
  • Jeff Sheehan - Assistant Engineer
  • Andy Wallace - Mixing
  • Howie Weinberg - Mastering
  • Michael Lavine - Photography
  • Robert Fisher - Artwork, Art Direction, Design, Cover Design
  • Craig Doubet - Assistant Engineer, Mixing
  • Spencer Elden - Baby on Cover

Accolades[edit | edit source]

  • Ranked #1 in Spin's "90 Greatest Albums of the 90s" (1999)
  • Ranked #1 in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Albums of the 90s" (2000)
  • Ranked #1 in MuchMoreMusic's "40 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years" (2004)
  • Ranked #2 in IMDB's "Users Top 100 Albums" (2006)
  • Ranked #2 in VH1's Top 100 Albums (2001)
  • Album cover ranked #3 in VH1's Greatest Album Covers (2003)
  • Ranked #3 in Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005" (2005)
  • Ranked #3 in Q's "100 Greatest Albums Ever" (2006)
  • Ranked #3 in Q's "Best 50 Albums of Q's Lifetime" (2001)
  • Ranked #17 in Colin Larkin's "All-time Top 1000 Albums" (2000)
  • Ranked #17 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" (2003)
  • Ranked #6 in Pitchfork's "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s (Redux)" (2004)
  • Ranked #3 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest albums

Charts[edit | edit source]

Charting singles[edit | edit source]

Smells Like Teen Spirit-#6 on Billboard Hot 100

Come As You Are-#32 on Billboard Hot 100

Lithium-#64 on Billboard Hot 100

In Bloom-#5 on Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks

Album charts[edit | edit source]

Reached #1 on Billboard 200

Sales[edit | edit source]

Upon Nevermind's release, it was expected that if everyone involved "worked really hard", the record could be certified gold (500,000 copies sold) after it had been out for approximately a year. However, by January 1992, Nevermind was selling about 300,000 copies a week. The album was certified gold and platinum on November 27, 1991, slightly over a month after its release. It was certified diamond on March 24, 1999. Worldwide, sales figures were 25.6 million in April 2007

External links[edit | edit source]

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