The video for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," was filmed on August 17, 1991, after the band advertised for 18-25 year-olds dressed as high schoolers to form the audience in the video. The video features a school pep rally which goes into a full riot and is influenced by two films.
By the time Nirvana filmed the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, they had established themselves as part of the Seattle Grunge scene. With a final lineup of founding members, guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic, who drummer Dave Grohl joined, they would become one of the most influential bands of this era.
Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit music video
The "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video had an estimated budget was between $30,000 and $50,000 and featured a high school pep rally concert that turned chaotic and riotous. The audience contained cheerleaders wearing Anarchy symbols and malcontent students sitting on the bleachers while others banged their heads to the music. Tony De La Rosa portrayed the janitor who enjoys the music while clearing away the debris. The iconic video was the music video directorial debut of Samuel Bayer, who believes he was chosen because his test reel was so bad the band thought it would give the final product a punk edge. Bayer's inspiration for the video came from two movies, Jonathan Kaplan's Over the Edge (1979) and the Ramones' Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979). Both films focus on a group of rebellious high school students.
Here is some interesting trivia about "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The song's title comes from a line scrolled on Cobain's wall by Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna. She wrote, "Kurt smells like Teen Spirit," poking fun at Cobain, saying he smells like Teen Spirit the deodorant. Only aware of the product after the single was released, Cobain interpreted the line as revolutionary.
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" has been dubbed the anthem for apathetic kids of Gen X and is considered one the greatest songs ever. In 1997 the song would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "The Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll."
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