Smells Like Teen Spirit
Smells Like Teen Spirit cover
Genre Punk rock, Alternative rock, Grunge, Rock
Released September 10, 1991
Album Nevermind
Recorded May 1991
Length 5:01
Language English
Label DGC
Producer Butch Vig
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In Bloom

Smells Like Teen Spirit was considered the most well-known song by the band, Nirvana. It has been voted the best song of the 1990s on several music programs including VH1's program Best Song Of The 90's.  "Smells Like Teen Spirit", was voted by Rolling Stone Magazine and MTV as the 3rd best pop song out of 100 of all time.

Meaning[edit | edit source]

Kurt Cobain has often said that this song was just a big pop intro for Nevermind. The title of the song was suggested by Kurt after one of friends, Kathleen Hanna, spray-painted "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his apartment wall. Teen Spirit is a name of a deodorant for women, Kurt might have used it or is she or someone else put it on him, making him "Smell Like Teen Spirit".

Flim Clip[edit | edit source]

The film clip was directed by Samuel Bayer and was shot at GMT Studios on August 17th, 1991. The film clip is set in a school basketball arena. The clip features a janitor, cheerleaders and some spectators who jump up and down. All of them are played by actual Nirvana fans including Burton Bell, the former frontman of industrial metal band Fear Factory.


Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Unplugged[edit | edit source]

Voting polls have shown that Smells Like Teen Spirit was the song most looked forward to at the unplugged gig. It was not played because the band knew that the song would not work with acoustic instruments.

Covers[edit | edit source]

Smells Like Teen Spirit has been covered by many celebrities and thousands of fans on various online communities, particularly Youtube.

  • Miley Cyrus - Covered the song on her Gypsy Heart Tour.
  • Paul Anka - Covered the song on his album "Rock Swings".
  • Tori Amos - Covered the song on her EP "Crucify".
  • The Melvins - Covered the song on their album "The Crybaby".
  • One Ok Rock - Covered the song on a Japanese tribute album "Nevermind Tribute".
  • Man With A Mission - Covered the song on their EP "Trick or Treat"

Media[edit | edit source]

Smells like Teen Spirit was featured in the game Guitar Hero 5 as well as Lithium. Kurt Cobain is also a playable character in this game.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Kurt Cobain actually disliked this song because it was being used in many commercials including the Teen Spirit deodorant commercials. During concerts, Nirvana would play it intentionally bad.
  • The stems (individual instrument tracks of the song that when compiled make up the full song) are available on the internet, as with In Bloom.
  • The ex-frontman of the industrial metal band Fear Factory, Burton C. Bell, appeared in the music video for the song as well.

​ Video[edit | edit source]


Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Voice Only)


Nirvana - Smell Like Teen Spirit (Guitar Only)


Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Drums Only)


Nirvana - Smell Like Teen Spirit (Bass Only)

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