Courtney Love reveals alternate lyrics Kurt Cobain wrote for Nirvana’s biggest hit
Courtney Love revealed that the final version of Nirvana’s top hit ended up being a “different song” from the original draft written by Kurt Cobain.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the lead single from the rock band’s 1991 record Nevermind, was written only weeks before the album’s recording.
In that short span of time, Love shared that the majority of those lyrics were scrapped and rewritten for the final version.
While speaking with Rob Harvilla on his 60 Songs That Explain the ’90s podcast, the 58-year-old singer read from her late husband’s journals that contained several alternate lines to the group’s most famous song.
“Some of these were in these journals, and some of them are published,” she explained before reciting them.
“Come out and play / make up the rules / I know I hope / to buy the truth / who will be the king and queen / of all the outcasted teens.
“We’re so lazy / and so stupid / blame our parents / and the cupids / a deposit, for a bottle / stick it inside / no role model.”
Moving on to a second draft, she read: “We merge ahead this special day / this day giving amnesty to sacrilege / A denial / and from strangers / a revival / and from favours / here we are now / we’re so famous / here we are now / entertain us.”
Afterwards, Harvilla observed that only around five of the original lines made it into the song’s final version.
“The only consistencies that it retains are: ‘Load up on guns and bring your friends’, and ‘Little group has always been and always will until the end’, that’s it,” Love confirmed, adding that to her it was a “different song” from the demo.
Love then admitted that she wished Cobain had left in the line, “Who will be the king and queen / of all the outcasted teens,” explaining that it would’ve saved her and her daughter from “taking on the s***” they had endured.
The comment appears to be a reference for the criticism she received over Cobain’s suicide.
Cobain and Love were married for two years, from 1992 up until Cobain’s death in 1994, aged 27. The two shared daughter Frances Bean, who’s now 30.