When the album came out, Nirvana was just a small-time, punk rock band, having released a first album “Bleach” to a small audience.
Back in 1991, the rock world was overrun with “hair metal”, where bands like Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses ruled the scene.
Nirvana’s label Geffen was completely surprised by the volcanic success of “Nevermind”. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became an immediate hit on MTV.
The record company initially ordered 40,000 copies of the album. One million were sold in the first six weeks.
Thus, the era of “grunge” was born.
As a baby 20 years ago, Spencer Elden was tossed into a pool in California to be photographed, naked, underwater, and reaching for a dollar bill. That photo would become one of the most iconic images of the 1990s…gracing the cover of the “Nevermind” album.
On the 20th anniversary of the album’s release, Elden, now 20 years old too, says he now suffers more abuse than other famously-photographed babies. Because he was photographed diaperless, there are always lots of questions.
“They usually poke fun at me asking me, ‘Is it the same size?’”
“I always say, “It’s changed, do you want to see it?’”
Elden, the son of an artist, says he never met Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, but he’s definitely a fan of their music.
“Definitely, I like Nirvana a lot and there are no songs that I don’t like — they all have a special place for people,” Elden said.
Elden says that, in 1991, his father Rick Eldin, also an artist, agreed to work on the cover with fellow photographer Kirk Weddle. He received no royalties for the job.
“My dad was an artist rigging special effects for Hollywood,” said Elden.
“They went to the local pool, threw me in the water and that was it. It was a friend-helping-a-friend kind of thing.”
On Saturday, Elden said he celebrated the 20th anniversary of the “Nevermind” release with friends.
“We hung out … and just listened to Nirvana music, drank beer and hung out. It was a good time,” he said.
“When I am introduced, they introduce me as the Nirvana baby,” said Elden.
Universal is marking the “Nevermind” anniversary today with the release of a remastered box set of the album. with lots of extra bonuses!
These include several pre-”Nevermind” recordings made at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, with Chad Channing at the drums. before Dave Grohl took over for the recording of the album.
The release will also features the called “Devonshire Mixes”, a version of the album as it was originally mixed by the band’s producer Butch Vig.
You’ll also get to see film of a concert in Los Angeles on Halloween, a month after the album hit the shelves.
Nirvana’s follow up album, “In Utero”, hit the shelves in September 1993. Six months later, on April 5, 1994, Kurt Cobain shot himself in the head.