Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)
Nirvana accidentally kicked off a cultural revolution with 1991's Nevermind, an album that brought rock & roll kicking and screaming into the modern world.
The Seattle trio disdained the kind of bloated, corporate music that was then dominating the airwaves; as a result, their approach was raw, punk-inspired and messy, and fueled by an underlying desire to ignore (and subvert) the status quo. Nirvana expressed angst, ennui and frustration through their music—but made sure to deliver plenty of catharsis as well.
Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Inducts NirvanaMichael Stipe of R.E.M. Inducts Nirvana at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Inducts Nirvana00:06:12
Nirvana Acceptance Speeches00:09:01
"Smells Like Teen Spirit"00:05:07
Hall of Fame Essay
This is what Nirvana singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain thought of institutional honors in rock & roll: When his band was photographed for the cover of Rolling Stone for the first time, in early 1992, he arrived wearing a white T-shirt on which he’d written, “corporate magazines still suck” in black marker.
The slogan was his twist on one coined by the punk-rock label SST: “Corporate Rock Still Sucks.” The hastily arranged photo session, held by the side of a road during a manic tour of Australia, was later recalled by photographer Mark Seliger: “I said to Kurt, I think that’s a great shirt... but let’s shoot a couple with and without it.’ Kurt said, ‘No, I’m not going to take my shirt off.’”
It is the highest calling for an artist to capture a moment, to embrace and define their time.
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