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On what would have been the Nirvana frontman's 50th birthday, here are the LPs that he rated, as revealed in his journals. Collect them all!
The Stooges’ last stand (at least until they reunited in the 21st Century), this classic pre-punk album was produced by David Bowie and remained a “lost” cult favourite for years.
The first full length album from Black Francis and his alt.rock heroes was produced by former Big Black man Steve Albini, who would man the controls on In Utero for Nirvana.
Kim Deal of the Pixies issued this side project in 1990, which includes an amazing cover of The Beatles’ Happiness Is A Warm Gun.
Obscure Glaswegian indie from Eugene Kelly, who later went on to form Kurt’s favourites, Eugenius. This EP contains both Molly’s Lips and Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam, both later covered by Nirvana.
An unspeakably horrible home-made LP, recorded by the Wiggin sisters, whose father thought they had a career in pop. He was wrong. Their out of tune, out of time songs became a huge cult favourite among lovers of the weird and the band were considered to be the first punks. Really?
Noisy Californian hardcore punk, released on the hilariously-named Boner Records. Lead singer Sam McBride was sent to prison for killing his girlfriend in 1989, otherwise they may have become grunge heroes.
More angry hardcore punk - this Texan band manage to fit 14 songs into 20 minutes.
Another Texan punk outfit - frontman David Yow later formed The Jesus Lizard, who had a famous split 7” with Nirvana.
Released on the legendary punk label SST, Saccharine Trust were a “post-hardcore” punk band from LA.
Also known as Pee Pee the Sailor or Brown Reason to Live, this is the first offering from the scatological and psychedelic Texan punks. Typical song title: The Revenge Of Anus Presley.
The second album from THE most famous US punk band of the era, this release saw the band slow down their sound - unheard of in hardcore circles at the time - and was used as a template for what was to become grunge.
The second LP from the hugely-influential DC punks, produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars.
Kurt liked a bit of British punk and post-punk, and this was the debut album from the Leeds band, which included the famous tracks Damaged Goods and At Home He’s A Tourist.
The classic - and, to date, only - album from the original British punk group, includes God Save The Queen, Anarchy In The UK and all the other hits.
The second album from the lo-fi acoustic band from Milwaukee. The line “That was a good drum break” from this album was later sampled by Beck on the song Where It’s At.
The debut album from Polly Jean Harvey and her band was released in March 1992 and included the classic Sheela-Na-Gig.
The fifth album from the New York alternative rock legends, it include the anthemic Teen Age Riot.
The debut album from the LA band, which features their best-known track, My Sharona.
Actually, this is the second single from the hugely-underrated Australian punks, taken from their second album Eternally Yours.
A Swiss post-punk band, originally known as Kleenex until the inevitable legal action from the makers of the tissues; they then were known as LiLiPuT.
Kurt was a huge fan of this London post-punk band, and when their Rough Trade debut album was reissued in 1994, he wrote the sleeve notes.
Rough Trade (who later signed The Smiths) issued the one and only album by this Cardiff trio, whose minimalist style can be heard in modern bands like The xx. They split not long after the release of the LP.
The fourth album from the Boston rockers influenced a generation of metalheads and spawned the singles Back In The Saddle and Last Child.
A compilation of punk tracks, including Cobain favourites The Germs, who include future Nirvana and Foo Fighters member Pat Smear.
The sixth album from the American alternative rock heroes was - significantly - their first for the major label Warners and included the hits Stand and Orange Crush. Significant, because Nirvana had also signed to a major, where R.E.M. had paved the way.
The Japanese all-girl trio’s debut release - they later toured the UK with Nirvana upon the release of Nevermind.
The debut single from the British all-girl post-punk band, later included on their influential debut album Cut.
The fifth album from the London punks was probably their most commercial, featuring the singles Rock The Casbah and Straight To Hell.
A split LP from two DC hardcore punk groups.
The only album to be released by Washington post-harcore punks was produced by Minor Threat/Fugazi man Ian MacKaye.
Released on the influential K! Records label, this was the second album from the lo-fi indie rock trio.
The only album from the Californian punks, and another step on the path to grunge.
Super-gloomy, authentic blues from the late musician, who died in 1949. Cobain was fascinated by his music and covered his version of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? at the famous MTV Unplugged session in 1993.
The excellent debut EP from the Seattle grungers, released on Sub Pop (of course).
Lo-fi cassette of songs released by “outsider musician” and artist Johnston, who is probably best known for the “Hi, How Are You” t-shirt as worn by Kurt.
San Franciscan rockers, who counted Krist Novoselic as a member for a 2006 reunion.
The bastardised US edition of the Fab Four’s second album With The Beatles, together with a couple of singles for the American market.
Michigan brothers Art and Jad Fair released this, their eighth album in 1990, in collaboration with the aforementioned Daniel Johnston. There’s also a cover of Patti Smith’s Gloria.
The third album by Gibby Haynes’s insane psych-rock outfit, it includes the amazing Sweat Loaf, which was later sampled by Orbital for their track Satan.
The debut album from Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins’ punk pioneers. Contains the brilliant TV Party.
The debut album from another set of LA punks - Guns N’Roses’ Duff Mackagan is also a fan and they were mates with the late John Belushi.
The third album from John Lydon’s post-punk project spawned a Top 30 hit in the title track.
The second album from the hip hop giants, includes the massive Bring The Noise and Don’t Believe The Hype.
The first album to come from the all-female Hertfordshire band. Tracey Thorn went on to form Everything But The Girl.
Bowie’s third album and the record that firmly established him as an important artist. Nirvana covered the title track at their 1993 MTV Unplugged session.
The debut album from the Portland, Oregon punk band. Nirvana covered the tracks D-7 and Return Of The Rat.
The second album from the influential punks…
…and the third. Kurt really did like Wipers.
The beautiful debut album from the Californian shoegaze band, fronted by Hope Sandoval.
Listed by Kurt under the controversial song title Raping A Slave, Swans are an experimental noise rock group fronted by Michael Gira, and are still playing today. A sleevenote advises that the record should be “played at maximum volume”.