Twelve years ago today, Kurt Cobain‘s body was found. Hard to believe it has been that long.

Nevermind was the the first grunge album I purchased and I got it on January 19th 1992. Yeah, a little late to the party considering it was released September 24th 1991. I purchased 11 other CD’s in the time between and, with the exception of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, I can say the other 10 are crap compared to Nevermind. I won’t recount what those discs were now, and not out of embarassment either. I will fess up that the other disc I bought that day was the soundtrack to JFK. Little did I know both “front men” would die of gun shots to the head.

As I remember it, Nirvana was the band that really kicked off the whole grunge thing and forced it into the mainstream. Yeah, there were other bands before Nirvana — Soundgarden, Mudhoney, The Melvins, Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains — but not with their commercial success. To be honest, all those bands probably benefited from Kurt “selling out,” except maybe Soundgarden who had released Badmotorfinger around the same time and were making their own way. Okay, and maybe Cameron Crowe’s soundtrack to Singles helped everyone too, well… except for the Melvins who happened to be a favorite of Kurt.

I thought of Nirvana two weeks ago after hearing the new Pearl Jam tune on the radio. I still link the two together as they both “broke” the same year. Anyway, I thought, what would Nirvana sound like today if Kurt had not died? I’m willing to bet it would be better than the crap that Pearl Jam has put out over most of that time, right?

Would Nirvana even still be together? Well, we probably wouldn’t have had the Foo Fighters, which would be a shame, but then again, Dave is a pretty hard working guy considering he found time to do Foo, drum on a Queens of the Stone Age album and put together his Probot project. We also wouldn’t have what Krist did… um, what has he done anyway? Not to be cruel, but his life may have ended when Kurt died.

Whether or not the weight of selling out, drugs or Courtney ultimately took Kurt’s life, we may never know, but we are all better for the time we had with him. Of the three full length LP’s — Bleach, Nevermind, In Utero — I only own the last two and yes, it is a shame I don’t own Bleach. I’ll have to rectify that some day, but I do have the four disc box set With the Lights On, so I will be busting that out.

Do yourself a favor and dust off a Nirvana disc and play it today.