A look Into the Life and Career of a Legend;
A Proposal

Kurt Donald Cobain was the lead singer/songwriter of the
band Nirvana, until April 5 1994 when he committed suicide.
Troubled by depression, chronic stomach problems, and an
addiction to heroin, his ailments in his personal life showed
through in his music. His music evolved from the hard “punk”
sound of their first album, to the intelligent “tell all” tales
of his fourth and final album In Utero. Through his music he
changed an era of “lost souls”, to a generation with a vision of
who they were. The songs he wrote and played captured the
attention of the world, but also brought him the fame and
fortune that led to his downfall. The pain and the hate of his
life filled the lines, tough hidden under his sarcasm. He
couldn’t take the voices in his head that had plagued him all his
life, that compiled with his dislike of the fame caused him to
end his own life. The life that gave him no joy.

The first time I heard Nirvana they changed my life.
I was sitting in class and one of my friends tapped into the P.A.
system. He hooked it up to his Walkman and started playing
Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana’s first single. I was sitting
in class day dreaming and suddenly I was pulled out of it by this
“amazing” sound. A few seconds later the principal shut off the
song, but by that time I was hooked. Later that day I went to
the record store and bought their second first and second album.
I took them him and threw them into the CD player and fell in
love. Finally I could identify with music, the words that
poured from the speakers spoke my life. Until that moment I had
no direction and felt alienated from the rest of the kids my age.
But Cobain’s music touched on what I was not able realize at my
age, that being yourself is all right no matter what the
“trendy” junior high school kids thought. Though I would not
understand the impact of his music or what his words meant to
him, and that those songs would pull me through the hardest
times in my life.

Research Question

How did his depression influence his music, and how did it
show up in his work?

Outline and Source Summary

Since the first time I heard Nirvana and their music, it
had an impact on my life. Though I never stopped to think about
the meaning behind the actual words that were spoken. From the
time that Nirvana started back in 1986, they have changed faces
both on the inside and the outside. Kurt Cobain was born in a
small town in Aberdeen, Washington in 1967(Wilson 2). He grew
up in a broken home and had many problems along the way, because
of his hyper-active nature nobody in his family wanted him(Wilson
2). He was passed around from aunts and uncles, to his grand
parents. He started his creative process first through
art(Wilson 2-3). Where by later he turned down two art
scholarships to art school, and never did finish high-school.
Then when he was 15 he started playing the guitar, also he found
the underworld of drugs(Wilson 3-4). He played the guitar and
did drugs by himself until the age of 18, when he joined his
first band(Wilson 15).

I intend to show how the events of his early life influenced
the course his life took, and how it would later be found in his
music. Also the actual words from the songs hold a great deal of
insight to his life. Also the progression of his first band’s,
to the final trio that would make history. I have three
different kinds of research resources; a book, video, and the
lyrics to all of his songs. All of these give different looks at
the life of Cobain and what exact events lead to him committing
suicide. In my opinion out of the resources I have the lyrics of
his songs paint the clearest picture; which also are open to
individual interpretation. The words along with the knowledge of
his life, will be the instrument on how to gauge his depression
from the basic “punk” sound of his early material, through the
“pop-rock” phase, to the “story telling” of his later work. His
forceful sound and his forceful stage performances, or only one
side of him musically. As evident in the intense acoustic
performance that he did for the MTV “unplugged” series, he
proved to everyone that saw the show that he had such