Beatles in Nirvana

Not sure if any of you are Nirvana fans, but being a teenager in the 90’s- they definitely had a big impact on my high school years. Impacting the music industry, as well as the culture of the generation.  One might say that Nirvana was to the 90’s as the Beatles were to the 60’s. There is a plethora of similarities and band mythologies that both bands share.

Most notable for me as it pertains here would have to be the “In Bloom” video. The entire video for this song is a parody of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. The screaming girls, the black and white footage. But what is interesting is during the video, the band switches into their “alternate egos” (Doubles/Doppelgangers) where the seemingly squeaky clean image of the band are now in drag, tearing up the set and damaging their instruments. All while singing “He’s the one, he likes our pretty songs, and he likes to sing along but he don’t know what it means.” The screaming girls in the audience seem to scream even louder for their  Nirvana idols (which the host continues to pronounce incorrectly) while parading their alternate selves.

The Nirvana story is quite interesting- and really worth looking into from a Beatle Mystery perspective. There is an alternate version of “In Bloom” recorded in 1991 before the sudden replacement by Dave Grohl on drums and their huge success (sound familiar)? Nirvana had a revolving door of drummers early on, but their most famous (and longest-running) drummer of course was Dave Grohl. Dave Grohl was from Washington DC, and auditioned for Nirvana after the break-up of his band- Hardcore Punks Scream.  Not from Seattle or the Washington (state) area- but from 3000 miles away… in the nations capital… To audition for a little-known punk band from Aberdeen Washington…. hmm. Curious. More on Grohl in a moment.

Here is the replaced drummer looking through the “walrus hole” from that video.

There were rumors floating about since at least 1992 that Nirvana was breaking up. Kurt Cobain was not well, and suffered from stomach ailments which had seemed to be getting worse. They decided not to tour after their hugely successful album’s release- Nevermind, and the band was undergoing legal matters in which Kurt wanted 75% of songwriting royalties paid retroactively to him by Krist and Grohl. The uneasy band members owed Kurt a significant amount of money after the legal battle had completed, and the group dynamic never really recovered.


From Wiki:

Citing exhaustion, Nirvana decided not to undertake another American tour in support of Nevermind, instead opting to make only a handful of performances later that year. In March 1992, Cobain sought to reorganize the group’s songwriting royalties (which to this point had been split equally) so that they were more representative of the fact that he wrote the majority of the music. Grohl and Novoselic did not object to Cobain’s request, but when the frontman asked for the agreement to be retroactive to the release of Nevermind, the disagreements between the two sides came close to breaking up the band. After a week of tension, Cobain ended up receiving a retroactive share of 75 percent of the royalties, and bad feelings about the situation remained within the group afterward.  Amid rumors that the band was disbanding due to Cobain’s health, Nirvana headlined the closing night of England’s 1992 Reading Festival, where Cobain personally programmed the performance lineup. Nirvana’s performance at Reading is often regarded by the press as one of the most memorable of the group’s career

Oddly enough, a small publishing company called Primary Wave owns the rights to the entire Nirvana Catalogue of music, and in 2007 Julian Lennon sold the licensing rights to his share of Beatles music royalties to Primary Wave- whom at the time was a brand new company- less than a year old, running out of New York.   Source


Thanks Sgt. Pepper Channel for the photo edit 🙂

Another strange synchronicity between the Beatles and Nirvana was the use of broken and beheaded dolls within one of their photo shoots. Nirvana and the Beatles were no where near the first or only artists to use such imagery- not by a long shot. But what does it all mean exactly?  Just another avant-garde attempt at modern (really morbid) art? Or is there something more? Below are some photos of the “doll parts” imagery- The Beatles Butcher Cover, A Photo Shoot of Kurt Cobain months before his death as well as Rothschild Party decor. Cute party centerpiece hmm? Really sets the mood….

I am not going to delve further into the Rothschild Elite Dinner Party in this blog, if interested in learning more on the Rothschild dinner party go here   or here  Or a thousand other google hits on the subject.

Notice how Kurt’s doll head picture is quite similar to Paul from the Butcher album. Paul of course having the “Paul is Dead” mythology(?) surrounding his character, and Kurt having a murder conspiracy surrounding his. The roses in Kurt’s photo could symbolize secrecy, for  roses are often a symbol of silence and/or secrecy, and he is prominently featured under them (sub-rosa):

  The use of the rose as a symbol for silence or secrecy goes back to the ancient Egyptians or Greeks, where initiates into the “mysteries,” or pre-Christian religions, wore roses during ceremonies to indicate that they would keep inviolate any secrets that were passed on to them. In many countries it was customary to hang a rose over secret meetings or gatherings—hence the term sub-rosa (literally “under the rose”) to mean confidential. Source

Another interesting tidbit featuring this imagery is Roman Polanski’s (yes- THAT Roman Polanski) short film, “Lampa” which features dolls and doll parts throughout the film, as well as reverse dialogue and overall creepiness in true Polanski style. I should mention that Polanski and the Beatles have a long interwoven odd history, especially pertaining to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  But we will have to save that for another blog.

I would be doing a huge disservice to the information in this blog, if I did not mention Hole’s video “Doll Parts“.  Hole’s frontwoman of course is no other than Courtney Love- Kurt Cobain’s widow. (Is Love all you really need??) If familiar with the Nirvana story and its conspiracies, then you are already well aware of the alleged suspicions surrounding Love’s involvement in Cobain’s death.  It would only make sense, then that Hole would release a single titled “Doll Parts” mere months after Cobain’s untimely death…

John Lennon Butcher Cover photo Session 1966

This all may be random, meaningless coincidence, but I call it meaningful synchronicity. These people are artists, they are well versed in symbolism.  It is my belief that they are trying to tell a story- a hidden story submerged in symbolism that we should be actively seeking answers to. One could easily chock the whole thing up to random coincidences; however when you realize that Kurt Cobain was a HUGE Beatles fan things may not be as random as first me(a)ts the eye.

Kurt was heavily influenced and inspired by the Beatles, particularly John Lennon it seems. Here, Kurt talks about his adoration of the Beatles and some of the influences they have had on his life.

About a Girl” was written after Kurt Cobain spent an entire afternoon listening to Meet The Beatles! repeatedly. At the time, Cobain was trying to conceal his pop songwriting instincts, and he was reluctant to include the song on Bleach for fear of alienating the band’s then-exclusively grunge fan base. Years later, Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana’s 1991 breakthrough album Nevermind, would cite “About a Girl” as the first hint that there was more to Nirvana than grunge. “Everyone talks about Kurt’s love affair with… the whole punk scene, but he was also a huge Beatles fan, and the more time we spent together the more obvious their influence on his songwriting became,” Vig told the NME in 2004. Source

At age 2, Kurt was recorded by his Aunt singing “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. No doubt this boy was influenced by them.

Kurt Cobain also collaborated with William Burroughs shortly before his death, making a piece titled  “The “Priest” They Called Him“. Cobain scored and played the soundtrack (background “noise” according to wikipedia) whilst Burroughs did the reading. The “Priestly” character in the story promptly sells a suitcase filled with severed legs (more Doll Parts?) in order to score a heroin “fix” (Cause he’s going down….).  Burroughs of course is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper, and featured directly above Paul McCartney.

In Call Me Burroughs, a biography by Barry Miles- William Burroughs had a studio in London in which Paul McCartney would visit from time to time, to play with tape effects, and make recordings.  It has also been claimed (can’t find a source other than Iamaphoney– not a good source for credibility sake) that Burroughs once claimed to have given the idea of  backmasking hidden lyrics to John Lennon, which he obviously ran with.

With all the connections and “weird Beatle Coincidences” we see between Nirvana and the Beatles as laid out here in this blog- it should also come as no surprise that after 20 years, in 2012 Nirvana had a reunion. But since Kurt could obviously not be there for the occasion, the obvious Kurt replacement would be none other than Sir Paul McCartney of course. Sir Paul is a great substitute for Kurt- being as they are both left-handed guitarists.

Macca said this to the SUN magazine: “McCartney had an amusing narrative to The Sun about how the collaboration came together. He said that they “just make something up” and found himself playing with the band. “I didn’t really know who they were. They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said, ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time?’ And somebody whispered to me, ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it,” he gushed.” source

It should also be no surprise that the reunion just happened to take place on 12/12/12 (= 3/3/3 or simply 9) at a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy, or that two of the songs performed were “Helter Skelter” and “Cut Me Some Slack“. The latter the “New” Nirvana received a Grammy award.


Paul McCartney since has shared many experiences with Dave Grohl. Most notable, at The Beatles 50th anniversary of the “British Invasion” televised event, Grohl performed several Beatles hits- including “Hey Bulldog“. They have been seen often times together since the 2012 Sandy benefit concert in New York.

51st Annual GRAMMY Awards - Rehearsals Day 3

Also interesting, On March 31st, 2001 the media announced that McCartney had bought a $4 million, 4,700-square-foot house in the Hollywood Hills from Courtney Love. Strangely… this is the same home that George Harrison died in a few months later in November. There is much more to this story- you can read all about it here.

As usual, synchronicity proves nothing. It just makes you stop for a moment and try to “see” what is happening around you. I have heard it said that “observing and recognizing Synchronicity is a clue that you are on the right path.”  Whether that is the case here or not, I sure seem to notice these “weird Beatles coincidences” quite often through my studies of this awesome band.

Both Bands changed the paradigm of the young influential minds of the era. Both bands influenced the culture, and language, the fashion and the mindset of their fans. Both bands introduced a new sound to the music industry- The Mersey Sound from Liverpool, and Grunge Rock from Seattle – respectively. Both bands were open and actively promoted and glamorized the use of drugs. Both bands were larger than life to their fans and dominated the airwaves for quite some time.  Both bands used similar symbolism in their music and in their art.  Both bands collaborated with some of the same artists and admirers. Both bands have conspiracy theories involving the death of their beloved frontman. The list goes on and on.

Nirvana may not quite have made it to the same dizzying heights as the Beatles did- but it could be said that they came closer than any band has. Nevermind, the band’s most successful album, has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums ever. What achievements might they have accomplished if Kurt’s life wasn’t ended so suddenly and tragically, we will never know.  What similarities between Nirvana and the Beatles have you noticed? I would love to hear about them in the comments below:

… To Be Continued…

I would like to give a big thank you and credit where credit is due to all of the extraordinary ladies and gentlemen at “Strawberry Fields Beatles Mysteries” group on Facebook. The combined efforts of all my dear friends, collaborators and contributors continue to amaze and inspire me every day. Most (if not all) of my blogs have come as a direct result of subject matter and discussions within this wonderful group. Come see where the magic happens if you like what you see on thenumbernineblog. Thanks again everyone- you know who you are!!


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