Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Nirvana Songs – Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Nirvana Songs

Your picks include ‘All Apologies,’ ‘Drain You’ and ‘Come As You Are’

Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Nirvana came to a sudden end 19 years ago this month when Kurt Cobain committed suicide. The group released only three studio albums, but they left behind tons of other material and a huge fan base that only seems to grow as the years go by. Next year they are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it's extremely likely they will get in on their first ballot. We asked our readers to vote on their favorite Nirvana songs. It got a huge response, and the top 10 goes way beyond the obvious hits. Click through to see the results. 

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3. ‘Heart-Shaped Box’

In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Courtney Love recalled hearing Kurt work on "Heart-Shaped Box." "We had this huge closet," she said. "And I heard him in there working on 'Heart-Shaped Box.' He did that in five minutes. Knock, knock, knock. 'What?' 'Do you need that riff?' 'Fuck you!' Slam. [Laughs] He was trying to be so sneaky. I could hear that one from downstairs." He'd been picking away at the track since early 1992, and it ultimately wound up as the first single from In Utero. The album was produced by Steve Albini, but the label worried it wasn't commercial enough, and Scott Litt was brought in to remix "Heart-Shaped Box." Last year, Love claimed the song was written about her vagina

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2. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the song that broke Nirvana and ushered in a new era of music. "I was trying to write the ultimate pop song," Cobain told Rolling Stone in 1993. "I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies . . . It was such a clichéd riff. It was so close to a Boston riff or 'Louie, Louie.'" Cobain quickly grew weary of his creation. "It's almost an embarrassment to play it," he said. "Everyone has focused on that song so much. The reason it gets a big reaction is people have seen it on MTV a million times. It's been pounded into their brains . . . I can barely, especially on a bad night, get through 'Teen Spirit.' I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away."

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1. ‘Lithium’

Most people probably thought "Smells Like Teen Spirit" would win this poll, but the third single from Nevermind won by a pretty comfortable margin. "Lithium" is a song about a guy that turns to religion after his girlfriend dies. It soothes him, much like a dose of actual Lithium. "I've always felt that some people should have religion in their lives," Cobain told Michael Azerrad. "That's fine. If it's going to save someone, it's OK. And the person in ['Lithium'] needed it." 

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