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Week in Rock History: John and Yoko's 'Two Virgins' Is Seized as Pornography

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January 1, 1989: Nirvana signs a record deal with Sub Pop
Kurt Cobain may have been loosely tagged as part of the early-1990s "slacker" movement due to his unkempt hair and flannel togs, but he was always intensely focused on preserving the artistic freedom of his band, Nirvana. After the band released their first single, "Love Buzz," in November 1988 on Sub Pop Records, they began recording their debut album, Bleach, in Seattle, for a whopping $600.

But Cobain knew full well that Nirvana would become a hot commodity soon, and he acted on it. In January 1989, before Bleach's release, he borrowed the book All You Need to Know About the Record Business from the Seattle library, after which he drunkenly dropped by Sub Pop owner Bruce Pavitt's home and insisted that Nirvana be signed to a three-album, three-year deal. It was the first such deal ever inked for the bohemian label. According to Everett True, author of Nirvana: the True Story, the band signed a contract that had been Xeroxed from another legal book in the library (with lines covered in White-Out so the musicians could sign over the existing text).

The contract Cobain demanded proved wiser than even he could have known: it not only ensured the band's creative freedom (and was helpful even after they signed with Geffen Records), but it saved Sub Pop from financial troubles, too.

January 7, 2006: Pink marries Carey Hart
Of all the young pop stars of the 2000s, Pink took the most divergent path. A tough, plainspoken singer with a rock diva's pipes, the Philadelphia native (born Alecia Moore) began as a dance-pop artist in 2000 with "There You Go" and "Get the Party Started." She also took part in the superstar "Lady Marmalade" cover with Christina Aguilera for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack before moving into the self-reflective laments of "Family Portrait" and "Dear Diary" and the Grammy-winning pop-punk of "Trouble."

Pink handled romance differently than her pop peers, too. While Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson were being courted by boy-band heartthrobs, Pink fell for rugged motocross racer Carey Hart. After four years of dating, she proposed to him during one of his races in California by holding up a sign that read, "Will you marry me?" Carey continued the race until Pink added to her sign, "I'm serious!" Carey pulled out of the race to say yes, and they were married one year later on a Costa Rican beach in front of 100 guests. The couple now has a daughter.

LAST WEEK: James Brown Dies

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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