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Nirvana’s Something In The Way had a secret co-writer

Hint: it’s a fellow grunge icon.

Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Mark Lenegan of The Screaming Trees

Image: Jeff Kravitz / Pedro Gomes / Getty Images

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It appears that Kurt Cobain might’ve had some help with writing Nirvana’s 1991 track Something In The Way.

While the track did not list any co-writers, a new book (Lanegan) about the late Mark Lanegan reveals that the Screaming Trees frontman had helped write lyrics for the song — a contribution that went uncredited.

“Mark said he wrote some lyrics on Something In The Way with Kurt on Nevermind,” former Queens Of The Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri told Lanegan author Greg Prato.

“But Kurt had played on some of Mark’s solo stuff, The Winding Sheet. So, instead of getting paid, they just did this thing where, ‘Hey man, I added a lyric on your song and you added a lyric on my song. Let’s just call it even. Whatever happens, happens.’”

“Little did Mark know, if he would have had publishing on Something in the Way on Nevermind, he would have had a lot of money. I remember him kicking himself in the butt a little bit about that – ‘If I had that Something In The Way publishing…’”

Elsewhere in the book, fellow Screaming Trees member Gary Lee Conner also recalled when Courtney Love offered the band the then-unreleased Nirvana song You Know You’re Right after Cobain’s death.

“When we were working on songwriting for Dust, during that time, Mark is like, ‘Courtney wants us to do a song,’” Conner said. “And it was that song — You Know You’re Right [a then-unreleased Nirvana song]. So, I got a tape of it and we learned it. We never recorded it. But we learned it without Mark, and Mark came down to sing it…and he couldn’t. He changed his mind. And that was the end of it.”

He continued, “But who knows? We could have had a big hit with Kurt’s song. [Laughs] I’d imagine it would have been a pretty big deal – in ’95 or ’96 to release a cover of an unknown Nirvana song. I don’t know. That was the idea. But I don’t know if it was the idea of capitalising on Kurt… although we could have used the money.”

The song was ultimately released as a single from Nirvana’s 2002 self-titled greatest hits album.

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