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Kurt Cobain's Smashed Guitar Sells for $100,000 At Auction

December 24, 2008 11:10 AM ET

Kurt Cobain's smashed Fender Mustang guitar was sold at auction for $100,000, making it the second-highest selling Cobain item ever. "It's a really cool-looking guitar because it's smashed and held together with duct tape and Kurt Cobain wrote on it," a curator at Seattle's Experience Music Project said. The ax dates back to Nirvana's first U.S. tour, where Cobain it onstage in New Jersey. Staying with a musician named Sluggo at the time, Cobain traded the destroyed guitar for a working one for his next gig. Sluggo, who was in bands like the Grannies and Hullabaloo, held on to the guitar through the decades, eventually lending it to the Experience Music Project for display.

Despite the sale, Sluggo hopes the new owner will allow the guitar return to Seattle in 2010 for a planned Cobain exhibit. "There's not a huge amount of broken Nirvana guitars out there," the curator added, saying most of Cobain's destroyed guitars were "little slivers and fragments." In 2006, a Mosrite Gospel Mark IV guitar — which was probably still in working condition — owned by Cobain sold for $131,000. Cobain has been a popular auction block attraction in recent years, with Courtney Love also selling everything from Kurt's cardigans to his bass guitar to handwritten lyrics for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to the highest bidder, which she hoped would be in the $40 million range. For more on that auction and many more of rock's most-prized items on the block, check out our Rock's Rarest Artifacts gallery.

Related Stories:
Rock's Rarest Artifacts: The Most Expensive Memorabilia in Music
John Lennon's Organ, Cobain's Bass Guitar Highlight Punk/Rock Auction
Writer Charles R. Cross Digs Deep in the Archives For "Cobain Unseen"

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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