Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Nirvana - The Man Who Sold The World

From what I gather, Nirvana's version of The Man Who Sold The World is widely regarded as one of the finest moments of their renowned Unplugged set. It's one of my personal favorites too. It's probably my favorite actually. It's a cover version of the well known David Bowie song which was the title track from his third album. It's also one of a number of cover versions Nirvana performed in the set Honestly though I do prefer Nirvana's version, truth be told I'm a fan of David Bowie but The Man Who Sold The World is far from my favourite track of his. Anyhow the reason Nirvana covered the song I think is obvious: Kurt Cobain placed The Man Who Sold The World at number 45 (out of 50) in his list of all time favourite albums. Clearly Kurt Cobain was a fan of the song. Also, he clearly felt a deep emotional connection to the music. Just listen to his the yearning qualities his voice takes on in this track. The whole Unplugged performance has a lot of emotion.... but there's just something about The Man Who Sold The World for me. And the music is utterly beautiful, for me the arrangement here is improved on Bowie's originally. I also think Kurt Cobain's vocals sound cleaner (for lack of a better word) and I prefer that too. It's one of those songs that just knocked me for six the first time I heard it. I had liked what I heard of Nirvana and one of the first things I watched was Unplugged (thanks to recommendations). I had really enjoyed it up until that point but it was The Man Who Sold The World that finally sold me. From then on in I could say I was a Nirvana fan. Following Unplugged, the band actually introduced The Man Who Sold The World into their live set for the relatively short period from the Unplugged set to Kurt Cobain's death. The Man Who Sold The World was actually a promo CD single too, released to promote the newly released Unplugged set in 1995. It was also on the Nirvana greatest hits album too. I could envisage this song introducing a lot of younger people to David Bowie (and turning some of them into fans even). In fact I even read that David Bowie had once been approached following a concert by a young person. The young person then said to him that it was cool to see him covering Nirvana! It just shows you what a good cover version can do. Although for me, this is one of the truly great cover versions. A gorgeous rendition.

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