Kurt Cobain only doubled his vocals on Nirvana’s Nevermind because John Lennon “did it on everything”, says Butch Vig

“I knew he loved John Lennon, so he’s like, ‘Okay, Butch.’”

Butch Vig

Image: Tim Mosenfelder / Getty

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Nevermind producer Butch Vig has said it took bringing up John Lennon to get Kurt Cobain to double up his vocals when recording Nirvana’s famous 1991 album.

Speaking on Rick Beato’s YouTube channel, Vig revealed Cobain was originally against the technique: “I kept saying we’re making a record – you know, this is not a live in the studio representation of what you do. We want this to sound widescreen, we want this to sound big and lush. We want this to sound as good as anything else on the radio and he said, “Yeah, I get it.’ But he just didn’t want to do it.

“Finally, when it came time to double the vocals on the first song, I said, ‘You should go double your vocals. John Lennon did it on everything.’ I knew he loved John Lennon, so he’s like, ‘Okay, Butch.’”

Vig added Cobain’s admiration of The Beatles might’ve led him to develop Paul McCartney’s vocal style too.

He continued:  “Kurt was a huge Beatles fan, and I think some of his vocal melodies were McCartney-esque too because they just move around all over the place.

“McCartney is an icon for doing that – he’s one of the best melodicists there’s ever been on bass and on guitar, and vocal.”

Vig revealed, on the whole,  using The Beatles as a hook made Cobain “acquiesce”.

Nevermind was Nirvana’s second studio album, quickly making the band one of the biggest on the planet. It was also their first to feature drummer Dave Grohl.


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