“Heavier than Heaven”: A Biography of Kurt Cobain

Posted on February 22, 2012 in Media and Culture

By Aayushi Samour:

In his early teens, Kurt Cobain – America’s most legitimate cultural icon, told a friend, “I am going to be a superstar musician, kill myself and go out in flame of glory”. Not too many years later, he did just the same. ‘Heavier Than Heaven”, veteran music journalist Charles R. Cross’ biography on Cobain chronicles his life from his birth in 1967 to his gunshot death in Seattle 27 yrs later; following Cobain’s path from the cradle to crematorium; breaking chapters one by one, untangling the soul of the man who became fatally confused whether fame was a reward or a death sentence.

Kurt Donald Cobain, the leader of Nirvana- the multi-platinum grunge band that redefined the sound of the nineties, was born on the 20th of February 1967 in Hoquiam near Seattle. A working-class child of divorce, he spent his teenage years in Aberdeen, living the sort of existence that leads to jails and rehab centres more often than becoming a rock legend. A high school dropout with a fondness for beer, cheap drugs, and rock, the next-door loser, Kurt Cobain was a self-confessed under-achiever who would rather get stoned on cheap marijuana than chase skirts.

Cobain’s life changed when he started listening punk rock. In 1988, he formed Nirvana. They made their first single, “Love Buzz”. Nirvana’s “Never Mind“, “Smells Like Teen Spirit“, “In Utero“, “Unplugged” made great hits. He married his already-pregnant girlfriend Courtney love in 1992.

Cobain was being called one of the best songwriters of his generation, worshipped by a youth-galvanized generation of like-minded outcasts who always felt they could admire and emulate his musical triumphs.
Days later, on the 5th of April, he barricaded himself into his mansion, put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He was really quiet. He was just estranged from all of his relationships. He wasn’t connecting with anybody. Cobain was found dead on the floor, a shotgun pointed at his chin and a suicide note written in red ink addressed to Love and the couples then 19 month old daughter Frances Bean. The suicide note ended with the words “I love you, I love you.” Two days later about 5,000 people gathered in Seattle for a candlelight vigil. The distraught crowd filled the air with profane chants, burnt their flannel shirts and fought with police.

Discover the conundrum behind the self-inflicted gunshot of the multi-millionaire youth icon through the biography that the most important rocker of his generation deserved. An enigma who was the shape of suicide, looked like suicide, walked like suicide, and talked about suicide. Based on more than 400 interviews, four years of research, access to Cobain’s diaries, and a wealth of documentation, the biography avoids technical language and speaks to the layman. Cross pierces the rumours, hype and conspiracy that have long confused Cobain’s image….At last, perhaps, “Cobain’s soul can find some peace.”

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