On June 15th 1989, Nirvana released their first album, 'Bleach', to relatively decent reviews at the time and lacklustre sales.

Within a few short years, Nirvana would become a household name and Kurt Cobain along with it. Thirty years on, people are still talking about Nirvana and their influence on music, popular culture, fashion and social issues.

Trying to boil it down to just ten songs is never easy, but here's our favourites nonetheless.



Released in 2002, 'You Know You're Right' proves that Cobain was, at the time of his demise, was not short on creativity or drive to produce music. You Know You're Right might have been seen in some quarters as a vile attempt by Cobain's widow Courtney Love to cash in on her husband's legacy. Indeed, the question of Nirvana's recordings resulted in a legal battle between Love and Dave Grohl.



Taken from the 'Bleach' album, 'About A Girl' only got the recognition it deserved when it featured on the 'Unplugged' album and took on a life of its own. Stripping back the layers was what the whole concept of 'Unplugged' was made for, but 'About A Girl' showcased a vulnerability that was often overlooked in Nirvana's work.



In his personal life and in interviews, Kurt Cobain was outspoken, deeply analytical and far more aware of the impact his music had than people gave him credit. 'All Apologies' speaks in a cryptic drone, but there's been endless theories as to the content of the lyrics, from everything to an admission about Cobain's own sexuality to a belief that it was a note to his daughter.


7. 'DUMB'

When people talk about Nirvana's most recognisable songs, they're often screaming vocals and driving guitars or tracks off the 'Unplugged' album. 'Dumb', however, is a much sweeter and simpler song than you'd expect and almost drifts into Beatles-esque territories with its light, airy beat.



As much as any song in Nirvana's recorded work, 'Sliver' was the closest to what you'd define in a conventional genre - and it wasn't grunge, it was punk. The throaway lyrics, the simplistic guitar chords and drum beat - all of it lifted straight from '70s punk and fitted to their own limitations, but with none of the attitude missing.



'Heart-Shaped Box' was one of the lead songs from 'In Utero' and was the first single released from the album. The music video itself was directed by Anton Corbijn, who'd go on to direct 'Control', the story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Corbijn noted during interviews on the film that there was a distinct similarity between Curtis and Cobain.




Although it has all the snarling, pissed-off energy you'd expect in a Nirvana song, there's a deeply infectious guitar-hook in 'Lithium' that nearly pushes it into pop-rock territory. Of course, this was perform such a thing existed and subsequently helped to create. Nevertheless, 'Lithium' is a joyful - if that's the right word - hammering of a song.



Although it's a cover, Nirvana's performance of Leadbelly's 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night?' was the perfect way to end their 'Unplugged' show. As haunting and dark as anything Nirvana would have written themselves, Cobain's growling vocals fit perfectly with the drawling bass and guitar track.



If there was one thing Nirvana was able to bottle and sell, it was teenage angst. The crunching guitars and talk of "selling the kids for food" undoubtedly resonated with audiences then, and still does to this day for the thirty-somethings who listen to 'In Bloom'.



What can be said about 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' that hasn't already been written about already? Every teenage band learned the chords and the beat and practiced it religiously. The lyrics were designed to terrify parents, and they did. The music video made zero sense, and the message behind the song was lost in all of the chaos. If one song could sum up the grunge genre, it's this and only this.