Curmudgeon (song)

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UK picture disc
Song by Nirvana
ReleasedJuly 13, 1992 (1992-07-13)
  • CD single
  • Picture Disc
  • 7-inch single
  • 12-inch single
RecordedApril 7, 1992
StudioLaundry Room Studios, Seattle
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Krist Novoselic
  • Dave Grohl
Producer(s)Barrett Jones

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"Curmudgeon" is a song by American rock band Nirvana. Written by vocalist and guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Dave Grohl, the song was first released as one of the B-sides to "Lithum". It was later re-released on the rarities box set With the Lights Out in 2004.

Background and Composition[edit]

At the beginning of April of 1992, the bands hit single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has sold 1 million units in the United States and was certified platinum. Nirvana had returned to the studio to record three songs with producer Barrett Jones: "Return of the Rat", "Oh, the Guilt" and "Curmudgeon".[1] The song was recorded at Laundry Room Studios in Seattle on April 7, 1992.[2] In an interview with Jones he states that "Curmudgeon" was never even played by the band before and was recorded in two takes.[1] Author Everett True stated "it was Dave Grohl's first chance to chance to show how he could contribute to the band in the studio."[1]

According to Journalist Gillian G. Garr, she states that the song starts with a "wonderful droning guitar line" that continues throughout the song and features bawling vocals from Cobain. She also states that the squalling guitar work during the instrumental break of the song is what the band would later use for their third and final album In Utero.[3]

Release and reception[edit]

"Curmudgeon" was released as the B-side to "Lithium", the third single from Nevermind, and was released on July 13, 1992. The cover photo of the single was created by Cobain, the single contained a sonogram of the musician's then-unborn child Frances Bean Cobain, as well as full lyrics for all the songs on Nevermind. Cassette, CD, 12-inch vinyl, and British 12-inch vinyl picture disc editions included "Curmudgeon" and a live version of "Been a Son" (performed on Halloween the previous year) as another of the song B-sides. The British 7-inch and cassette featured only "Curmudgeon" as an extra track, while the UK CD release added a cover of the Wipers' "D-7" recorded for BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel's program in 1990.[4]

In 2015, Rolling Stone placed "Curmudegon" at number 56 on their No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked list, saying it "is distinguished by the heavy, at times overwhelming, phasing effect added to Kurt’s guitar."[5]

Recording and release history[edit]

Studio versions[edit]

Date recorded Studio Producer/recorder Releases Personnel
April 7, 1992 Laundry Room Studios, Seattle Washington, US Barnett Jones Lithium (1992)
Singles (1995)
With the Lights Out (2004)
Nevermind (deluxe) (2011)
Nevermind: The Singles (2011)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass guitar)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 True, Everett (2007). Nirvana: The Biography. Omnibus Press. p. 369. ISBN 9780306815546. Retrieved April 13, 2020. Search this book on Logo.png
  2. Dean, Jeremy (1997). Nirvana Revealed. Parragon Book Service Limited. p. 124. ISBN 9780752518602. Retrieved April 13, 2020. Search this book on Logo.png
  3. Gaar, Gillian G (2009). The Rough Guide to Nirvana. Rough Guides UK. Retrieved April 10, 2020. Search this book on Logo.png
  4. Gaar, Gillian G (February 14, 1997). Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History of Nirvana. Goldmine. Search this book on Logo.png
  5. Beinstock, Richard (8 April 2015). "No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 11, 2020.

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