Nirvana iconic tune “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the opening track and lead single from the band’s second album, Nevermind has reached 1 billion views on YouTube, a milestone topped by only one other tune.
The track – released in 1991 – was first uploaded onto the video-sharing platform in June 2009. It’s the second-most-viewed ’90s music video on YouTube.
The only 90s song that is currently ahead of the Nirvana single in terms of views is Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain,” It’s drawn almost 1.3 billion views.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was also recently named as the sixth-most-watched rock video in the 2010s by the video-hosting platform Vevo.
Meanwhile, Michael Stipe recently claimed that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was experiencing “untouchable” levels of anguish before his death.
The 59-year-old lead singer of R.E.M. revealed he reached out to the music legend shortly before his death in April 1994. He died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound.
“I put a project in front of him to try to pull him out of the hell he was in. I knew that he admired me and R.E.M. a lot and I came up with an idea for a project,” Stipe said.
“I wrote him a letter, I sent him a plane ticket, I sent a car to his house to pick him up to bring him to the airport.
“We did everything we could to try to pull him out of the mental state that he was in, but that level of anguish was untouchable,” he added.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was Nirvana’s biggest hit, placing high on music industry charts around the world in 1991 and 1992.
The song became an anthem for Generation X, those kids represent the generation that immediately came after baby boomers. They were born between 1954 and 1985.
“I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies,” he said.
“I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”
The song was released to radio in Aug. 1991. Ironically, the song did not initially chart. The follow-up single “Come as You Are” was expected to be the crossover hit from the album.
The video for the song also boost its popularity after it went into heavy rotation on MTV.
Nirvana grew uncomfortable with the song’s success, and in later concerts often excluded it from the set list. But it’s popularity continued to grow, especially following Cobain’s death.
Check it out below.