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Kurt Cobain's death: 20 years later, his legacy realized, and still missed

Twenty years ago, on a cloudy Seattle day, April 8, 1994, the news spread like wildfire—first through the Seattle music scene, then to the world---that Kurt Cobain was dead. His body had been found in a little room above his garage, next to his beautiful home on Lake Washington. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Next to him was a cigar box containing a heroin kit. A box of shotgun shells lay by his left foot. Estimated date of death was thumb-tacked at April 5. Devoted Seattle fans wept and gathered together to mourn. He was called the “John Lennon of his generation” and the “spokesman for Generation X.”

Kurt Cobain sketch at park in Aberdeen under the Wishkah Bridge
Shelley Germeaux, Seattle Rock Music Examiner

The one “death photo” seen by the public shows his right leg in the doorway, showing his jeans and converse sneakers. He looked so young. And he was too young to die. Just like the other members of the “27 club”, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse and more—other singers and musicians who died at the age of twenty-seven.

Thousands of fans gathered at Seattle Center on the 10th by the fountain to remember Kurt. They listened to a recording of a tearful Courtney Love, his wife and mother of his one child Francis Bean, read a statement. She even read aloud his suicide note. It brought back memories of December 8, 1980, when John Lennon was killed.

Today’s Seattle Times remembers Kurt with photos and discussion. Also, EMP is hosting a panel with Cobain experts Charles R Cross, Charles Peterson, Jack Endino and Bruce Pavitt at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., Sunday April 6. This is a free event. Address is 325 5th Avenue N.

New books on Cobain's legacy:

Charles R. Cross - “Here We Are Now” discussing the author's personal reflections on the 20th anniversary of Kurt’s death. Recently we attended his book talk at the Aberdeen Public Library where Kurt used to hang out. Read about that event and link to book here.

Gillian G. Gaar - “Smells Like Teen Spirit: The Alterna-Teen Anthem of the 90’s”. The song was Nirvana’s breakthrough single from their landmark album “Nevermind.” In this Ebook, Gaar takes a closer look at this legendary song, through its creation and recording to the filming of the captivating video. Gaar’s article for Seattle Pop Culture Examiner gives you a glimpse into the making of the video. (Read here.)

Ironically, but perhaps perfectly, Nirvana will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame April 10.

Copyright notice-©Shelley Germeaux 2014: This article and photos are subject to copyright restrictions and may not be reproduced without the author’s permission. Excerpts with link to original article are welcomed.

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