1990’s music archive
November 19th, 1991 saw U2 release “Achtung Baby” after the bands longest hiatus between albums. At times they even doubted they would ever release another record after “Rattle and Hum”. However in one of the greatest re-inventions in rock history, U2 entered the 1990s with an era defining album in the shape of “Achtung Baby“.
The stratospheric trajectory that U2 followed, peaking with the mega-hit that was “The Joshua Tree”, was brought to a jarring halt by the critical mauling of their curiosity album and film “Rattle and Hum”. The musical landscape was also changing rapidly, with albums like “Nevermind” and The Stone Roses debut coming out between “Rattle and Hum” and “Achtung Baby“, U2 were in real danger of becoming dinosaurs. U2 were in a strange place.
Nevermind was released on September 24, 1991. Nirvana‘s lineup had stabilized on founding members Kurt Cobain and Chris Novoselic along with new recruit Dave Grohl and had moved from Sub Pop to Geffen Records who hoped that Nevermind would sell around 250,000 copies. Nevermind became Nirvana‘s first number one album on January 11, 1992, replacing Michael Jackson at the top of the Billboard charts, eventually spending two hundred and fifty-two weeks on the Billboard 200 and selling over 25 million copies.
On September 21st, 1990 Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain picked Dave Grohl up from Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport. He stayed with Kurt in his “Hellhole” apartment in Olympia and auditioned for Nirvana a few days later. He got the job, with Krist Novoselic later stating, “We knew in two minutes that he was the right drummer.”
Nirvana had released their debut album “Bleach” in 1989, which went on to become Sub Pop‘s biggest seller. As spring 1990 came in, Nirvana were to make their second album for Sub Pop, speculatively titled “Sheep”. It was Sub Pop‘s Jonathan Poneman‘s idea to use Butch Vig on “Sheep”, but both Nirvana and Butch Vig were keen to work together and in early April 1990, Nirvana entered Butch Vig‘s Smart Studios to record the sessions that would play a large part in the making of “Nevermind“.