Best music videos of the 90s: 20 promo clips that defined an era

3: Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

If you attended Nirvana’s show at the Roxy in Los Angeles one summer night in 1990, you might have received a flyer that said, “Nirvana needs YOU to appear in their next music video, Smells Like Teen. Spirit. You must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and fit a high school character [sic], ie preppy, punk, nerd, jock… Prepare to stay several hours! Come support Nirvana and have a great time!” Two days later, on August 17, the group and their newly recruited extras reunited to shoot the promotional video for the first single from Not serious. Singer Kurt Cobain had planned everything meticulously, scripting each scene; his vision of a “peer rally from hell” had been inspired by Ramones’ punk-era musical rock ‘n’ roll high school and the cult movie Teen Rebellion On the edge.

” I saw this movie On the edgesaid Cobain melody maker in 1993. “I remember leaving that theater and almost everyone who was there ran out screaming, smashing windows, vandalizing and wanting to get high. It totally touched and influenced them.

Smells Like Teen Spirit provoked an equally strong reaction, adding to Not seriousas one of the best albums of the 90s. As Dave Grohl later told Louder, “The video was probably the key to making this song a hit.” People heard the song on the radio and they thought, that’s great, but when the kids saw the video on MTV, they thought, that’s cool. These guys are kinda ugly and they’re fucking destroying their high school. And then with the video, there were more people and the clubs got bigger and bigger.

Director: Samuel Bayer

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