Courtney Love shares Kurt Cobain’s unpublished scrapped lyrics for Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit
Courtney Love has shared unpublished lyrics written by Kurt Cobain that were originally intended to be used for Nirvana’s 1991 trademark anthem, Smells Like Teen Spirit.
The Hole frontwoman revealed the scrapped lines during an appearance on Rob Harvilla’s podcast 60 Songs That Explain The ‘90s, where she also revisited various memories that she shared with Cobain, such as how he wrote the 1991 track Dumb in just 20 minutes during one stay together in Amsterdam.
Of the unused lyrics for the grunge rock band’s main hit, she explains: “Some of these were in these journals, and some of them are unpublished.”
Then, reciting a handful of lines for the verse she reads: “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”.
Reading the lyrics for the chorus, she continues, “We’re so lazy / and so stupid / blame our parents / and the cupids / a deposit, for a bottle / stick it inside / no role model“.
Love also shares a second draft of lyrics for the song, which include: “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.”
Noting how the frontman’s initial demo for the song was incredibly different to the final released version, she confirms: “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”, before adding how she wishes Cobain kept the line: “Who will be the king and queen / of all the outcasted teens”, believing that its inclusion would have “helped my life a little bit better, taking on the shit that me and my daughter have”.
Cobain’s handwritten draft lyrics for Smells Like Teen Spirit can be viewed on page 136 and page 141 of Journals, a collection of his notebook musings published in 2002.
Listen to the podcast episode below: