Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and best-known being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture.
In the late 1980s, Nirvana established itself as part of the Seattle grunge scene, releasing its first album, Bleach, for the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989. They developed a sound that relied on dynamic contrasts, often between quiet verses and loud, heavy choruses. After signing to major label DGC Records, in 1991, Nirvana found unexpected mainstream worldwide success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the first single from their landmark second album Nevermind (1991), which sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Nirvana’s sudden success popularized alternative rock, and Cobain found himself described as the “spokesman of a generation” and Nirvana the “flagship band” of Generation X.