Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain Made A 1988 Tape Featuring Songs By James Brown & Jackson 5 (Audio)

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. The Seattle, Washington native is remembered as a prodigious musician, songwriter, and an integral part of the Grunge movement through his band, Nirvana. That band has become a favorite musical touchstone of everybody from Kanye West to Dr. Dre, who has been remembered as owning a vinyl copy of rare independent debut, Bleach, shortly after its 1989 release date.

Shortly before Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Chad Channing recorded Bleach (Nirvana/Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl joined later), Cobain made a mixtape, Montage Of Heck. The pause-tape mix features an onslaught of music through the ages, which appealed to Cobain. The acts included are James Brown, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Metallica, Jackson 5, Black Sabbath, and Velvet Underground. Along the way, the guitarist worked in television theme songs, essays, and other found audio elements, akin to the style of Prince Paul, RZA, or Steinski.

Get a rare glimpse into the mind of a 21 year-old Kurt Cobain, as found by Dangerous Minds:

Full tracklisting:

“The Men In My Little Girl’s Life” by Mike Douglas
“The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” by The Beatles
“A Day In The Life” by The Beatles
“Eruption” by Van Halen
“Hot Pants” by James Brown
“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” by Cher
“Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond
“Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver
“Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin
“The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis, Jr.
“In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly
“Wild Thing” by William Shatner
“Taxman” by The Beatles
“I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family
“Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” by The Barbarians
“Queen Of The Reich” by Queensryche
“Last Caress/Green Hell” covered by Metallica
“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
“Get Down, Make Love” by Queen
“ABC” by The Jackson 5
“I Want Your Sex” by George Michael
“Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden
“Eye Of The Chicken” by Butthole Surfers
“Dance of the Cobra” by Butthole Surfers
“The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” by Butthole Surfers
“New Age” by The Velvet Underground
“Love Buzz” by Shocking Blue
Orchestral music from 200 Motels by Frank Zappa
“Help I’m A Rock” / “It Can’t Happen Here” by Frank Zappa
“Call Any Vegetable” by Frank Zappa
“The Day We Fall In Love” by The Monkees
“Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath (intro)
Theme from The Andy Griffith Show
Mike Love (of The Beach Boys) talking about “Transcendental Meditation”
Excerpts of Jimi Hendrix speaking at the Monterey Pop Festival
Excerpts of Paul Stanley from KISS’ Alive!
Excerpts of Daniel Johnston screaming about Satan
Excerpts from sound effects records
Various children’s records (Curious George, Sesame Street, The Flintstones, Star Wars).

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