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Break-in and robbery reported at the offices of the Christoper Wallace Foundation

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April 8, 1999 12:00 AM ET

On the fifth anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain, thoughts naturally turn to the status of the long-anticipated Nirvana box set.| Although rumored for release in late '99 or early 2000, industry insiders insist that's wishful thinking. A source close to the project says it won't see the light of day before 2001.

But the good news is that work is progressing on the project. As expected, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is overseeing the project. He's tapped Seattle journalist Gillian G. Gaar to help after being impressed by her Goldmine article two years ago, in which she cataloged all the extant Nirvana recordings. Gaar declined to talk about the project in any detail, but sources say she is combing through tapes and cataloguing them with Novoselic. Dave Grohl has not been involved in the heavy lifting, but will be pulled in at a later date, sources say, adding that Krist and Gaar still haven't found everything they want to include and may turn to fans for rare material.

"The box set makes perfect sense from an artistic and commercial standpoint. Plus there is some unreleased material that has been on bootlegs and has been traded around by fans that [the compilers] have access to," says Charles Cross, author of Classic Rock Albums: Nevermind, the story behind the making of the Nirvana's breakthrough album. (Cross is currently working on The Will of Instinct, a comprehensive biography of Kurt Cobain due out in September 2000.) "The live album [1996's From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah] did well commercially, and that was just the tip of the iceberg of the great live performances they have on tape."

Interscope Records, the label that recently subsumed Geffen Records, would be the likely distributor of the box set, but a spokesperson for the conglomerate said that they don't have anything penciled in from Nirvana. Fans speculate that the package will include six CDs, but when asked, one insider merely laughed. "They're not even that far along to know how many discs it will include. I also saw one rumor that said some of the tapes were unusable because the quality of the sound was inferior. And that's just not true."

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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