15 Rock & Roll Rebels

For these 15 revolutionaries, the only place to be was on the outside looking in.

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Kurt Cobain
Mark Seliger9/15

Kurt Cobain

When Nirvana agreed to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone #628 on April 16, 1992, Kurt Cobain wore a T-shirt that read "Corporate Magazines Still Suck." In his short life, the bandleader made it his duty to challenge beliefs – both his fans' and his own. As a student, he befriended a gay kid and claimed to enjoy the abuse he took from classmates who believed he must be gay himself. Later, when he became famous, his band proudly advocated LGBT rights to an audience that was not always sympathetic. Success was an unsolvable puzzle for Cobain, who'd earned a soapbox from which he could preach about social issues – bullying, reproductive rights – that were meaningful to him. Yet he detested the fact that his band had emerged from the underground as a major-label rock group. "The worst crime is faking it," he once said, and he considered himself guilty.

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