September 21, 2023
Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 851: The death of Kurt Cobain, 25 years later.

At first, there was nothing particularly special about Friday, April 8, 1994. I came to work at the radio station as usual, saw the usual people, and prepared for my radio show in the usual way. The biggest story was that the Toronto Blue Jays, the defending World Series champions, were playing a sold-out show against the Seattle Mariners. The forecast in Toronto was for sunny skies with a high of 7C.

But at 1:45, fifteen minutes before I was to go on the air, Anita, who was working in the newsroom, popped her head into the studio.

“Just a heads-up,” she said. “Something is going on in Seattle. It looks like it has to do with Kurt Cobain.”

If I’m honest, most of us were prepared for some bad news. We knew all about Kurt’s health issues, his addictions, his crazy marriage to Courtney Love, the canceled European tour, and, of course, the apparent suicide attempt in a Rome hotel room about a month earlier.

But all that was abstract, gossip, heresay, stories in magazines. But over the next 90 minutes, everything resolved into harsh, terrible, awful, reality.

If you were around then, you probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. It was one of those rare, rare cultural moments, the same sort of thing felt with the assassination of John Lennon on Monday, December 8, 1980, and the death of Elvis on Tuesday, August 16, 1977.

Was that really 25 years ago? Yes, it was. If you were there, let’s revisit that time. If you weren’t here’s how dramatic and sad it was.

Songs heard on this show:

Nirvana, All Apologies (Unplugged version)

Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nirvana, My Best Friend’s Girl (Cars cover, live)

Nirvana, I Hate Myself and I Want to Die

Foo Fighters, I’ll Stick Around

Eyes Adrift, Alaska

Hole, Celebrity Skin

Nirvana, You Know You’re Right

Kurt Cobain, And I Love Here

Here’s the official playlist from playlistist Eric Wilhite.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

If you ever miss a show, you can always get the podcast edition available through Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37083 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 851: The death of Kurt Cobain, 25 years later.

  • You are still the best musical historian in the entire world. I still remember shows you did from back in the CFNY days (left coaster now so not even sure if you are still there?) and all you taught me about music and origins of the music I hold so dear to me. Never stop doing what you are doing. Your show needs to be picked up in every conceivable radio and podcast market so authentic music can be learned about with authenticity.

    • Aw, thanks. I really appreciate. And yeah, I’m still at CFNY/The Edge. I’ve really got nowhere else to go…


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