As my final note for the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind (after highlighting Spin’s tribute MP3 album and VEVO’s release of the Paramount Theater concert), I wanted to highlight something I see as the video convergence of the peaks of two careers: Smells Like Teen Spirit.
For Nirvana the song epitomizes everything they were trying to do musically, with a captivating visual style that makes the video one of the most memorable I have ever seen.
Which, of course, made it irresistible for Weird Al … here are some factoids about his parody:
This was a parody based on the popular hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by the Seattle grunge band Nirvana (Al makes fun of how difficult it is to understand Nirvana’s lyrics). The song, and the album, was something of a comeback for Al, who hadn’t produced an album since the soundtrack of his 1989 film UHF.
Al got permission from Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain to do the parody while Cobain was doing an episode of Saturday Night Live. Cobain initially thought the song would be about food.
The video is a very close parody of Nirvana’s, and got almost as much airplay. The real life janitor used in Nirvana’s video also makes an appearance in Weird Al’s, donning a tutu and playing a tuba. Al dresses just as Cobain did, complete with wig. He plays a fake blowup guitar and makes fun of the hard-to-understand lyrics by gargling water and singing with marbles in his mouth.
Here to enjoy is the wonderful ‘Smells Like Nirvana’:
Do you have any Nirvana memories you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!