Kurt Cobain’s 1988 pre-Bleach mixtape unearthed — listen

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Kurt Cobain

    Kurt Cobain may have gained prominence as one of the originators of grunge with Nirvana’s 1989 debut, Bleach, but he was messing with a whole other type of sound in 1988. Or more accurately, sounds.

    Dangerous Minds recently unearthed a “mixtape” Cobain put together a year prior to Bleach’s release. “Mixtape” is in quotes there because it’s not so much a mix as a collage of noises, sounds, and snippets compiled from Cobain’s extensive collection, the radio, and other sources. Throughout the 15-plus-minute recording dubbed “Montage of Heck”, you can hear clips of songs like The Jackson Five’s “ABC”, “Hot Pants” by James Brown, and even William Shatner’s rendition of “Wild Thing”. But you’ll also catch toilets flushing, Jimi Hendrix speaking at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Fred Flintstone yelling for his bowling ball.

    Made using a four-track cassette recorder, the odd mix is a jumbled photo album look at the mind of a 21-year-old Cobain. And as DM points out, he did this all without access to YouTube or Spotify and the like. Pretty incredible.


    Listen to the montage below, followed by a non-chronological breakdown of the included songs and sounds via United Mutilations.

    “Montage of Heck” Mix List:
    “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 Five
    “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)