Albums that influenced the music of Nirvana - Part 3

Posted at October 16th, 2015 | by Mukul Menon | in

Here’s a continued list of albums that influences the music of the legendary band Nirvana. You can also check out Part 1 and Part 2.

 

The Clash – Combat Rock (1982)

 

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Combat Rock explodes with aplomb that can only be pulled off by one of the most effortlessly cool bands in the history of music – The Clash; Joe Strummer screams out a sardonic public service announcement belting out the rights, i.e. to not be killed, to food money, and to free speech over dry delay ridden machine-like guitar noise and a singular infectious groove in ‘Know Your Rights’. Although I would rate both London Calling (1979) and Sandinista (1980) above Combat Rock, this was their last great record before they petered out into an early underwhelming finale. It also houses some of their most famous songs like ‘Rock the Casbah’ and ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go”.  The incredibly catchy ethereal background riff to M.I.A’s paper planes is a sample off of ‘Straight to Hell’ and ‘Ghetto Defendant’ features Allen Ginsberg who reads out poetry as well as a Buddhist mantra. Combat Rock is a good first Clash record to be introduced with as it presents the range of musical styles that they incorporated into rock music i.e funk, reggae, ska, punk, dance, and even synth rock in the most condensed form.

Introductory Songs: Rock the Casbah, Know your Rights, Should I Stay or Should I Go

 

Public Image Ltd – The Flowers of Romance (1981)

 

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One of the notoriously tough albums to put your ears through, not just on this list, but in the history of music, The Flowers of Romance was an experimental record which mainly featured drums and vocals with sparse instrumentation which, let alone the fact that there almost no guitars on it, included synths, bass, sounds from the neighbours TV, wrist-watch sounds harmonized and supplied with ping pong delays and suchlike. Public Image Ltd was formed, amongst others, by John Lydon after the Sex Pistols broke up and Keith Levine before The Clash were formed. Post the ‘Johnny Rotten’ stage name and persona, John Lydon’s style flourished with Public Image Ltd, but only here does one start hearing influences of T-Rex and Alice Cooper in it.  Although it has been claimed that this is “one of the least commercial record that has ever been given to a record company (Virgin in this case), it has some strange listenable qualities to it.

Introductory Songs: Four Enclosed Walls, Banging the Door

 

 

Sex Pistols- Never mind the bollocks, here’s the sex pistols (1977)

 

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Even for people who didn’t directly experience the cultural revolution that this album allegedly brought about, it would still be hard to pick out a record, since, that incites rage like Never Mind.. does. The lyrics themselves burn through the pages, never mind the bleeding punk rock; “I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist, Don’t know what I want, But I know how to get it, I want to destroy the passerby, ‘Cause I want to be anarchy, No dogs body”. The most musically inimitable aspect of the album is Johny Lydon’s ‘anti-singing’ that sets it miles apart from every other punk band that followed. The only identifiable predecessors to this compelling record were those of Iggy Pop and the Stooges whose “no fun” they covered in the album.

Introductory Songs: Anarchy in the U.K, Holidays in the Sun, Pretty Vacant

 

PJ Harvey- Dry (1992)

 

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Despite being an overwhelmingly grunge oriented record, PJ Harvey’s Dry also slowly unveils, across its running time, some of the other influences that lend themselves to her idiosyncratic song writing, i.e. folk music, country, dance, and blues. Her upbeat guitar riffs, which usually marinate for long in song intros until the rest of the instruments kick in, always seem to have infused with the songwriter in her flowing seamlessly with her unique vocal delivery. Dry is a seminal work that stood apart from the then prevalent frivolous girl punk movement.

Introductory Songs: Sheela-Na-Gig, Dress

 

The Beatles- Meet the Beatles (1964)

 

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There’s not much left to be said about the famous second album of the most famous pop band in history. The Beatles proved to be a great influence on Nirvana; Kurt Cobain apparently only agreed to double track his vocals on the Nevermind album once he was told that John Lennon used to do it. Apparently ‘About a Girl’ was made after Kurt Cobain listened to Meet the Beatles repeatedly.

Introductory songs: I Want to Hold Your Hand, I Saw Her Standing There, All my Loving

Mukul Menon

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