7. Guns N Roses - Welcome to the Jungle

1987 was a great year for music.  There were tons of albums released that were pretty amazing.  Granted, 1987 was also the year I graduated from high school, and everybody thinks that the best music came out their senior year of high school.  But look at this list.
  • U2 - The Joshua Tree
  • Prince - Sign O the Times
  • REM - Document
  • INXS - Kick
  • Def Leppard - Hysteria
  • Jane's Addiction - Jane's Addiction (Live 1st Album)
  • Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses
  • Marillion - Clutching at Straws
  • George Michael - Faith
  • The Cure - Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
  • Sting - Nothing Like the Sun
  • Michael Jackson - Bad
 Every one of these albums, released in 1987, were huge commercial and critical successes.  Many of them were follow ups to other fantastic albums (i.e. Bad, Hysteria, Sign o the Times, Joshua Tree), while others were brilliant debuts (Faith, Jane's Addiction).  But there's one album that, with credit to the brilliance of The Joshua Tree, changed the way I looked at music forever.  That album was Appetite for Destruction, by Guns N Roses.

I happened upon the album completely by accident.  In August of 1987, I was shopping at my favorite record store, Moby Disc, going through the used records (this was before CDs were huge).  I came across an album that had cover art that blew me away.

It scared me a bit, sickened me a bit more, but also intrigued me.  It was a promo copy of the album, complete with sticker saying that it was not to be resold (oops, Moby Disc.).  I held it up and asked the guy behind the counter, "What the hell is this?"  Immediately, he looked excited, came running out from behind the counter (he and I were the only ones in the store at 11am - no school since it was summer), grabbed the sleeve out of the jacket and ran back behind the counter, saying, "Oh man, you've got to hear this.  It's this new band - Guns N Roses.  This album kicks some serious ass.  Serious ass," he repeated, giving the album that record store guy double stamp of approval.  After a few pops and hisses from the needle, I heard the introduction of "Welcome to the Jungle" for the first time.*

With Slash's cool echo guitar intro, reminding me of something The Edge might do if he had a huge ax to grind, the song starts and just doesn't stop.  With the spoken line "Oh my God!", it becomes clear that this wasn't your normal "havin' a great time, gettin' drunk, gettin' laid" attitude that was so prevalent to Guns N Roses hard rock contemporaries.  Bon Jovi, Poison, Ratt, Def Leppard - they weren't the deepest of bands.  "Welcome to the Jungle" is not about having a good time.  It's about surviving in the urban jungle of Los Angeles, circa 1986, and that survival was not guaranteed. 

Lead singer Axl Rose then lets loose one of the greatest screams in the history of rock & roll.  Starting out low and then soaring higher and louder like a siren, he holds the scream for longer than you think a human being can.  Just when you're about to pass out from the scream, he spits out, "Cha!" and the song gets even more aggressive.  Slash and co-guitarist Izzy Stradlin do a great job of playing almost matching guitar riffs in each ear, giving the song a cool alternative to the overdubbed opulence of other metal bands.  They both play the main guitar line, but each punctuates sections with little adlibs and tweaks to add their own personality.  Listening with speakers you really don't appreciate the technical wizardry of both guitar players.  Slash gets most of the press, but it's the two of them together, simultaneously rockin' out and bluesin' out that really gives the guitar work in so many Guns N Roses its fuzzed out, dirty complexity.

And I haven't even gotten to Axl's voice yet.  Sure the scream was an attention getter, and I'm a big fan of the spat out "Cha" type vocals with their percussive pop, but when he actually starts to sing, you become aware that this isn't your run of the mill vocalist.  His voice is so pitched and nasal that you might think that's it's a joke at first, but the snarling anger that comes with his vocal melodies quickly convinces you that he's trying to do something that hasn't been done before.  And he's succeeding.  The story he's telling is dark and dingy, and he's giving it vocals to match.

The lyrics talk about the streets of L.A. in a way that reminds me of Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman," but with an even darker tinge.

Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You'll take it eventually
You can have anything you want

But you better not take it from me

All of the lyrics show the dark side of the get high, get laid, get paid mentality that had been glamorized in countless songs before "Welcome to the Jungle."  They don't talk about swimming against the stream, they talk about being stuck under the stream, panic growing as you realized that you're about to drown - and no one will even notice.  The desperation and realism of the lyrics captured a vision of the streets that came across as authentic, rather than contrived. 

Behind all of its anger and that voice of Axl's, the actual melody of the song is rooted in a more traditional pop formula than the rest of the song.  But since Axl sings it the way he does, they never get the credit for putting together a catch kick ass rock song that you keep wanting to listen to.  Drummer Steven Adler gets more focus in the mix than most drummers, and he doesn't waste it.  Bassist Duff McKagan slithers through the entire song, weaving his bass line all over the place, playing a more complex bass line than you normally get in a hard rock song.  It's when the song breaks down into the bridge that Adler and McKagan get to show what they're made of. Adler weaves a complex rhythm, complete with cowbell and maracas while McKagan just tears loose with a great bass riff.  They keep it going until the song rips apart one more time as the song enters the death throes.  Axl sounds the alarm -

You know where you are?
You're in the jungle baby.
You're gonna die!

Throughout the choruses, Axl breathes new life into the traditional "sha na na"s of the do wop generation and assaults you, bringing you to your sha na na na na na na na knees.  And when he snarls, "I wanna watch you bleed," you believe him.  From start to finish, you realize that there's no happy ending at the end of this fairy tale.  Hopes and dreams are obliterated, leaving no evidence that they ever existed in the first place.  The streets of Hollywood are going to tear you to pieces.  And no one will even notice.

"Welcome to the Jungle" kicks off one of the greatest debut albums in the history of rock & roll, if not the greatest.  It's relentless in its assault on your ears - from the wail of Axl's vocals to the gunshot snare drums, with the guitars screeching and tweaking constantly, keeping you off balance.  Afterwords you need to sit down and rest for a bit.  For not moving a muscle, you're exhausted.  And that's the kind of song that belongs near the top of a list like this.  And that's why it's here at #7. 

Job well done, boys.  I'm gonna go listen to it for the eleventh time in the last two hours.  I just can't help myself.  But I guess that's the point, now isn't it?

 * After hearing "Welcome to the Jungle" for the first time in its entirety, I was sold.  "Yeah, I'll have to get that one," I said.  But instead of buying the one with the artwork, which was $7.99, he pointed out that they had a generic label promo with no artwork at all for $5.99.  Being just out of high school, I saved the two bucks and took the generic promo home.  I still enjoyed it, but the old me knows that the other promo with the banned artwork has sold for as much as $200 on Ebay.  Oh well....

8. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

The first time you hear "Bohemian Rhapsody", you wonder to yourself whether Queen had gone off the deep end.  It starts off with a lush, insanely overdubbed vocal harmonization that seems so out of place in a rock song.  It's good, you concede, but it's pretty strange.  As the song moves along, it seems at times like a haunting ballad with the lyrics seeming to confirm that:

Mama just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead

Then there's a semi-conventional guitar solo by Brian May that catches your attention and brings you back to the reality that this is a pretty kick-ass rock song, but then, to quote Queen lead singer (and writer of this schizophrenic masterpiece*), Freddie Mercury, "That's where the operatic bits come in!"  And do they ever.  With a seemingly mish-mash group of lyrics, the song becomes something out of "Pippin" or "The Pirates of Penzance," before the song takes another turn into a straightforward kick-ass hard rock song.

And before you know it, there's yet another flawless transition back into the ballad that started it all.  When it's all said and done, it's been just shy of six minutes of rock and roll confusion, topped off with a bang - literally (drummer Roger Taylor hammers a huge gong, poking fun at the over-the-top opulence of a lot of late 60's-early 70's rock), but you've loved every single second.  And if you've listened to any amount of Queen songs, it's clear that this one is Freddie's baby from start to finish.  It's as if his grandiose personality leaped out of his body and decided to become a song.  Brian May summed it up in an interview in Q Magazine.  
That was a great moment, but the biggest thrill for us was actually creating the music in the first place. I remember Freddie coming in with loads of bits of paper from his dad's work, like Post-it notes, and pounding on the piano. He played the piano like most people play the drums. And this song he had was full of gaps where he explained that something operatic would happen here and so on. He'd worked out the harmonies in his head.
Looking back at the "Bohemian Rhapsody" and trying to figure it out, the inclination is to break the song into each of its elements or sections, which I already kind-of just did, and analyze it ad nauseum.  You notice some things about the song that are different from anything else you've ever heard before.  First, there's no actual chorus to the song.  I didn't realize that until just recently.  Bassist John Deacon plays the equivalent of three different bass lines within this one single song.  Also, in keeping with the operatic theme that the song takes, Brian May's guitar solo takes the place of the soprano's aria (solo) in the middle of your standard opera.  And just like an aria, May's solo is a complementary fully-formed song in itself, rather than just restating a previous melody.

But the Wikipedia page on "Bohemian Rhapsody" takes this dissection of the song to crazy (or as my wife, Jennifer, would say, "Crazier.  You've already done some crazy of your own.") levels.  It breaks the song down into its six sections, complete with to the second time stamps, and then begins to analyze every nuance contained within.  If you thought the song was pretentious, you should read this stuff.  Serious music critics are quoted saying things like "The confessional section is affirmative of the nurturant and life-giving force of the feminine and the need for absolution."  Um, okay.  It's not the song that's an almost Spinal-Tapian exercise in pomposity, it's the Wikipedia page about the song.  It's 100 times more pretentious.  I've looked up hundreds of songs on all sorts of sites researching my list, and this page is by far the most self-absorbed.

But we all missed the point.  Although there are some lyrics that can be interpreted as Freddie's personal struggles with his sexuality and how to deal with it, the song, in Freddie's words"
I[s] one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them... "Bohemian Rhapsody" didn't just come out of thin air. I did a bit of research - although it was tongue-in-cheek and mock opera. Why not?

So the band was in on the joke the whole time.  That's not to say that they didn't take the song, or the recording of it, seriously, but they were poking fun at the pomposity of rock songs while keeping true to a traditional operatic story arc.  The song is awash in contradictions - at times wanting you to take it seriously, while at other times laughing along with you at its pretension.  That's what makes it amazing.  It pokes fun at  bitself while still delivering a stunning pop/rock song that can't help but be burned into your brain.

And although Queen didn't take all of the song seriously, what they did take seriously was the actual recording process.  Just the "opera" part of the song took a full three weeks to record it, and this was after a rehearsal period of another three weeks to figure out how to do the damn thing.  So for a month and a half, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was Queen's full-time job, with them recording only a single section of the song for up to 10-12 hours a day, almost all of it vocals.  Imagine singing like that for 10-12 hours a day for three straight weeks.  You'd need a vacation just from that.  And they weren't even done with the song yet.

But you can hear the fruits of all their hard labor.  The vocals are some of the most complex ever recorded (if not the most complex).  Even though in the video it shows all four band members singing the vocal introduction, in reality it's just Freddie, singing every single part and every single harmony, each performance layered on top of the other.  For the rest of the song, Brian May sang the lower harmonies, Freddie's powerful voice held up the middle, while Roger Taylor had the unenviable task of hitting all those high notes.  During the "opera" part, there are up to 180 overdubs+ layered on top of each other.  It was so complex and the master tape had been run back and forth so many times to add each layer that it was almost destroyed. 

In those operatic vocal moments, the song could've taken its jump over the shark, but Freddie realized the silliness of what they were trying to do and came up with lyrics to match:

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me
(Galileo) Galileo (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro

The lyrics are basically mumbo-jumbo phrases that he used just because they rhymed.  There is a feeling, though, that Freddie chose Galileo as a wink to Brian, an astronomy buff.  So in a song where there are some serious lyrical issues, Freddie knew well enough to lighten things up a bit to let us all in on the joke.

And that's what makes "Bohemian Rhapsody" so brilliant.  It's like one of those dramas that makes you laugh, like Dead Poets Society, or a comedy with a deeper message, like The Breakfast Club.  There are songs that after you're done listening to them, you barely remember them.  The songs on my Top 100 list are not those kind of songs.  They're not empty calories.  Each one gives you lots to chew on - lots to examine.  "Bohemian Rhapsody", above all others, gives you the most to delve into.  It's the six course meal that fills you up and when you're done, you can't wait to share it with others.  So that's what this list is to me - great musical meals that I can't help but share with anyone who cares to listen.

* The song, not this post.  I'm not so full of myself that I'd even remotely call anything I've written even close to the masterpiece level.

+ For those less music-geek inclined, an overdub is where they record the same thing (or different things) many different times to add complexity, depth or even disparity to any section of a song.  So the 180 overdubs in the opera section are 180 different vocal tracks layered on top of each other, over and over and over again, to make it seem like more than there are just three vocalists singing.

Fun Fact #265:  Because of the difficulties in performing it live (and because they really didn't want to be on the British music show Top of the Pops), Queen shot a music video (or pop promo, as they were known back then) for the song.  Roger Taylor explained: "We did everything we possibly could to avoid appearing in Top Of The Pops. It was one, the most boring day known to man, and two, it's all about not actually playing - pretending to sing, pretending to play. We came up with the video concept to avoid playing on Top Of The Pops."  The resulting video was so impressive, and so popular, that it inspired scores of other British bands to do the same.  So when MTV started broadcasting, the lion share of videos that were available were from the British bands that followed Queen's lead.  All because Queen didn't want to do Top of the Pops.

Okay, I didn't want to talk about this in the body of my essay, but you can't really talk about "Bohemian Rhapsody" without the awesome tribute Mike Myers paid to the song in his movie, Wayne's World.  I loved it, and I'm sure you did as well.  So here it is...

Okay, I just ran across a great rendition that Jake Shimabukuro did of "Bohemian Rhapsody" on a ukelele. Check it out, it's pretty awesome.

9. Don Henley - New York Minute

When you're in a band, that band has a sound that it usually sticks to, because it's what you like, it's served you well and made you (hopefully) popular.  The Eagles had a sound - the rock/country fusion thing, and it was very successful for them.  Very successful.  But being a band full of talented songwriters who knew they were talented, tensions inevitably arose and fractured the band beyond repair.  

One of the seminal reasons the band fractured is that Don Henley wanted to do his own thing, much in the same way that John Lennon did.  Since he didn't have a Yoko Ono to blame, the perception became that it was largely his fault that the Eagles broke up.  And since I defended Lennon's decision to do his own thing, I will also say that Don Henley had every right to go his own way and start a solo career.  And since I'm a huge fan of his solo work, it's an easier argument for me to make.  Don went on to make some amazing albums, one of which, The End of the Innocence, became a Grammy winner and one of my top 10 albums of all time*.

The track on that album that really blew my mind the first time I heard it was "New York Minute."  It was most definitely not an Eagles song.  When Henley did his Vh1 Storytellers, they asked him what Eagles songs he was going to do.  None, he replied, since it was Don Henley's Storytellers.  "But," they retorted, "that would be like Paul McCartney doing one and not doing any Beatles songs."  "Yeah," he said with a chuckle, "that's exactly what it would be."  It was clear that although he knew he'd done great things with the Eagles, he'd stood on his own two feet for a decade and a half and wasn't afraid to take the credit he deserved.  He ended up compromising, doing a cool trip-hop rap version of "Life in the Fast Lane" to appease the suits at Vh1.

"New York Minute" differentiates itself from the start from anything Don had ever done before.  The jazzy opening to this song, combined with the minor chords of the keyboards are a portent that this song, like most jazz songs, won’t be a happy one.  It's the kind of song that would've never made it to an Eagles album+. 
He took the lushness of "Sunset Grill," a track from his previous record, and took it to another level, making himself a masterpiece along the way.  To confirm the melancholy scene that the introduction of the song establishes, Don starts with some spot-on lyrics that strike me as something that Robert Smith or Morrissey may have written:

Harry got up
Dressed all in black
Went down to the station
And he never came back

They found his clothing
Scattered somewhere down the track
And he won't be down
On Wall Street in the morning

The minor chords of the piano continue throughout the verses, punctuated by timely cymbal brushes and taps.
Don continues the story through a couple of verses, finally building up to the chorus, singing "Everything can change in a New York minute."  Christian gospel group Take Six adds the song's backing vocals, adding heft and richness that compliments Henley's lush tenor tones.

The muted horn and strings return the song to its jazzy core, but also symbolize the plethora of sirens that fill the New York night - police heading east along 126th St. while paramedics race past 126th as they go south on Amsterdam.  And you can tell it's on purpose, because his lyrics mirror the somber mood:

Lying here in the darkness
I hear the sirens wail
Somebody going to emergency
Somebody's going to jail

Even though the general tone of "New York Minute" is dark, there's hope.  It reminds me of a movie like The Shawshank Redemption.  It's a brutal prison movie that shows the soul-crushing reality of prison life, but in the end focuses on the thing they can't take away - hope.  So even though the world's falling apart around him, Don can't help but search for the hope that will some day win the battle.  It has to, or else he might just end up like Harry, dressed all in black.

But I know there's somebody somewhere
Make these dark clouds disappear
Until that day, I have to believe
I believe, I believe

Even when life is giving us nothing but the shit end of the stick, we're given the choice to succumb to the misery, or to keep that hope alive, even if it's a flicker that's in danger of going out for good.  It’s no wonder why this song had a second life as a post 9/11 anthem.  Obviously, the title of the song, and the benchmark lyric “Everything can change in a New York minute,” were the initial corrolary, but the rest of the lyrics, for the most part, tragically work as well.  Being a huge Don Henley fan, I thought this song had never gotten its due.  But I’d gladly trade the notoriety that the song gained in those few months for the lives that were taken that horrible Tuesday morning.  Everything did change.  But hopefully, this song can help us through the difficult times.

I have to believe.

* The End of the Innocence is pure genius.  With a collection of brilliant producers, Henley put together an album with multiple music styles - adult A/C, hard rock, AOR, jazz and his old haunting grounds, country.  "New York Minute" is the best song in my opinion, but most people think it's the title track's collaboration with Bruce Hornsby, which won't get too much of an argument from me.  There are some hidden gems, though, that you should check out, if you have the inclination.  "How Bad Do You Want It?" is the krunky cousin of "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," with some great keyboard sounds and the killer line, "You would walk on your lips through busted glass if you could get next to that."  For the hard rock fans, Henley had Axl Rose do scorching backing vocals on "I Will Not Go Quietly", which doesn't go quietly - thank God for that.  Then there's the heartbreaking "Heart of the Matter," in which he does a deft job of making a break-up song that mixes regret and sorrow with a mature resignation that her life is probably better, and he's okay with that.  I could go on, but just go out and get the album, you won't regret it.

+ Funnily enough, though, "New York Minute" has become a staple of the live shows that the Eagles have done since reforming in 1994.  So much so, in fact, that if you do a search on "New York Minute" lyrics, most sites list it as an Eagles song.  Don't worry, Don, us music geeks know the truth.

Since Don never made a video for this song, the only Youtube video I could find was someone's post 9/11 tribute, with the song as a background.  Even though it's been almost ten years, I found that the video really shook me.  It made me angry, sad and hopeful all at once.  If you want to avoid that dichotomy of conflicting feelings, click on it and then scroll back up the post.  I probably will next time....

10. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Kurt Cobain never wanted anyone to like Nirvana because they were popular*.  In fact, he never really wanted the fame that later assaulted him, albeit by his own hand to a certain degree.  If you play in a band, you may just become popular.  And if you do, it's your own fault.  Nobody forced you to make music and play concerts to which thousands flocked.  But unlike so many bands who ache for the attention and do whatever is necessary to attain it, Nirvana didn't bend to the mainstream.  The mainstream bent to Nirvana.  Except for me.

When "Smells Like Teen Spirit" first came out, I thought it was okay.  Didn't love it, didn't hate it.  And I absolutely wasn't going to tell everyone I loved it (and loved it before everyone else, like a music snob would) just because it was popular.  I think that would've thrilled the band, because they didn't want people to like their music because everyone else did.  If I wasn't thrilled by the song, that was just fine with them.  They weren't thrilled by me either, I suspect.

But then something happened.  A few years later, after the grunge wave had crested and then crashed to a certain degree, I found a good deal on Nevermind at the record store and bought it, ostensibly so that I could have it in my catalog, rounding my library out with stuff that other people might want to listen to.  I put it on in the car on the way back home and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" opened the album with that awesome guitar riff.  This time, though, "Teen Spirit" seemed new and fresh to me.  It wasn't on the radio a thousand times a day and my senses weren't battered over the head with it.  And then it occurred to me - this is one great pop song.  I'm a big pop song fan, but had always dismissed "Teen Spirit" as an alternative anthem that just wasn't totally my cup of tea.  I realized that I needed to put aside my preconceived notions about this song and face that fact that I really liked this song.

 Kurt said about writing "Teen Spirit" that he was emulating one of his favorite bands. "I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band— or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard."  I'll do him one better.  He ended up channeling the best pop song band of all time, The Beatles, and wrote that ultimate pop song that I think both John and Paul (as well as The Pixies) would appreciate.  The great thing about it is that it doesn't sound like a pop song for the first few listens.  It's too loud, really choppy, and he mumbles so much that you can't understand most of the lyrics.  But all that just masks that behind all of the volume and angry consternation, there's a hall-of-fame pop song hiding.

The melody is simple and catchy (even though you can't understand Kurt's words), while the guitar riff is pure ear candy.  While Krist Novacelic's bass line is full-bodied and kicked way up, when you break it down, it does what the bass line does in any great pop song, mimic the guitar lead, giving it that extra sonic thump, while also complimenting it at the same time (Van Halen's Michael Anthony is a master at this).  Drummer Dave Grohl plays his drum line like a punk drummer, but adds a pop sensibility to the beat, keeping good time yet also imparting a freneticism that doesn't really fit in a pop song.

That's why it was so hard to see "Teen Spirit" as a pop song.  Nirvana and producer Butch Vig took every pop notion and turned it on its head, much in the way The Ramones took simple, catchy pop songs and infused them with punk spirit.  As the old idiom goes, you can't hide greatness forever.  If it's great, it's great. 
That's why Shakespeare' still used as inspiration for countless stories centuries later and why The Beatles will still inspire countless musicians centuries from now.  You might scoff at my comparing Kurt Cobain and Nirvana to Shakespeare (which I'm not really doing), but all I'm really saying is that greatness inspires greatness.

Lyrically, since Kurt decided to enunciate the way a two year-old does after a nap, it's hard to gather what the hell he's singing about.  He does, however, deliver some great lines in the chorus:

I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now entertain us

I love the "entertain us" line.  It sums up the self-centered entitlement of so many of the people in my generation who expected the world to come to them.  We'd become a generation of viewers and consumers, wanting everyone around us to be the source of entertainment.  We'd play video games about playing outside instead of actually going outside.  It's like the latter days of the Roman empire, where the courts were filled with the elite sitting, watching and eating - being entertained.

The second verse has some great lines, but I never knew them until I googled the lyrics:

I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Unfortunately the popularity and pressure of being a worldwide phenomenon led to the end - Kurt's suicide+ in 1994, so it's hard to tell if Nirvana could've become an iconic band with a hall of fame career.  But judging by the success and acclaim of Grohl's Foo Fighters, Nirvana wasn't just Kurt's band with a couple of other guys.  What they left behind, though, will continue to inspire others to greatness, as they follow the lead of a guy who never wanted to be a leader.

* On their first cover on Rolling Stone, the world's largest music magazine, Kurt scrawled a message on his shirt in black sharpie, "Corporate magazines still suck."  And to their credit, Rolling Stone still ran the cover.

+ Of course, some people don't think he jumped.  Check out The Death of Kurt Cobain to see the other theories, including the one about Kurt being killed by a vindictive about-to-be-dumped Courtney Love.

Two videos for this one:  the original Nirvana video as well as Weird Al's version, poking fun at the fact that you can't understand what the hell Kurt's saying.  In case you thought Kurt didn't take it well, you'd be wrong.  Cobain said he was "flattered" by the parody: "I loved, it, it was really amusing."

Okay... One more. This is a very funny video someone put together with the misheard lyrics to the song.

(Fun Fact #412:  The title of the song came from a friend of Kurt's who spray painted the phrase "Kurt smells like teen spirit" on the wall of his apartment.  Kurt liked the phrase, thinking that she was talking about his revolutionary nature.  She wasn't.  Teen Spirit was a deodorant targeted to young females, and Kurt's ex-girlfriend used it.  So when she said that he smelled like Teen Spirit, she was saying that he still smelled of his ex-girlfriend.)

(Fun Fact #113:  Kurt Cobain was left handed, just like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Paul Williams and even Paul Prudhomme.  So are Richard Simmons, Buzz Aldrin, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Matt Groening and my Dad. That's not necessarily the fun fact.  While that may be interesting , the fun fact is that of our last eight presidents, five have been lefties (Ford, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and now Obama).  Since the general percentage of the population is 10% left-handed, the fact that 63% of our last eight presidents is/was left handed is indeed a fun fact!)

(Interesting Fact #543:  Originally, I was going to go a different direction with this post, but I changed my mind.  I was going to talk much more about popularity in music and how a song/band/genre can become popular.  I wondered if grunge was really as popular as we remember.  As far as albums go, absolutely.  Nevermind reached #1 on January 11, 1992.  Ten, by Pearl Jam, reached #2 in late '92.  Soundgarden's Superunknown debuted at #1 in 1994.  "Razorblade Suitcase" by Bush hit #1 at the end of 1996, and there are lots more to choose from.  But when you look at singles from those bands, it's a different story.  Based on the year-end Billboard charts that list singles by popularity for the entire year (not just peak position), "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was #32 for '92.  Going through the top 100 singles of each year following here are the stats for the appearance of grunge bands on the Hot 100 (year-end totals).  1992: One (unless you also want to count #72 - Ugly Kid Joe's "Everything About You").  1993: Zero.  1994:  Zero.  1995:  Maybe one, depending on your definition of grunge - #85 - Better Than Ezra's "Good."  1996:  The only one that could be considered is "1979" by The Smashing Pumpkins.  While they may be a grunge-ish band, "1979" is most definitely NOT a grunge song.  So there you have it.  Discuss....)