When Nirvana trolled Jonathan Ross by playing the wrong song in '91

22 November 2020, 18:00

Nirvana's Kurt Cobain with Jonathan Ross inset
Nirvana played the wrong song during Tonight with Jonathan Ross. Picture: 1. Comic Relief/Comic Relief via Getty Images 2. Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

Watch the British presenter's reaction to Kurt Cobain and co playing Territorial P***ings instead of Lithium in their 1991 appearance on the show.

A Nirvana performance on The Jonathan Ross Show has resurfaced and it's absolutely epic.

The 1991 clip sees the band play out what was actually called Tonight With Jonathan Ross and play out a very loud and raucous version of their Nevermind album track Territorial P***ings.

In true Nirvana style, the band trashed the stage, leaving only the sound of feedback in their wake.

The fact that the track wasn't Lithium wasn't lost on Ross, who joked: "Boy. Hope we didn't wake the neighbours up."

He added: "Nirvana there doing the tune that we didn't actually expect, but they wanted me to tell you that they are available for children's birthday parties and bar mitzvahs".

Relive the moment it all went down here:

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Dave Grohl recalled the stunt years later when he appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show with his Them Crooked Vultures supergroup bandmates Josh Homme and John Paul Jones.

Though he forgot some of the exact details (replacing Lithium for Smells Like Teen Spirit) Dave seemed impressed with the presenter's quick-witted reaction at the time.

Watch him talk about the event here:

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It wasn't the only time Nirvana caused a stir with their live performances.

The grunge band famously ran amuck when they performed on Top Of The Pops the same year.

Unsurprisingly, they were due to play their Smells Like Teen Spirit hit, but they weren't too chuffed with the fact they weren't all allowed to perform it live and bands were asked to sing live vocals over a backing track.

In the end, the Seattle band obliged, but what Top Of The Pops didn't bank on was the band opting to give a very unique performance of the song, which saw the band barely pretend to play their instruments while Kurt changed the opening lines of the song to: "Load up on drugs, kill your friends" while singing in a very deep Morrissey-like voice.

Watch this clip to the end for some classic throwback footage with the band and crew:

It's clear from the very beginning that something is going horribly wrong (or right), but by the time Krist Novoselic flails his guitar around and Cobain out stretches his arms instead of 'playing' the guitar, we know the band are taking TOTP for a ride.

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However, Nirvana's antics on stage haven't always ended well.

In 1992 Krist Novoselic thought he was being clever during the band's performance at the MTV Awards in 1992.

At the tail end of their rendition of Lithium the gung-ho bassist chucked his bass up in the air, only to knock himself out when it landed.

Watch the moment it happened below and find out just what Kris was thinking:

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