On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the American grunge band Nirvana, was found dead with a shotgun across his body and a visible head wound. Cobain was famous for Nirvana’s music that popularized alternative rock in the early 1990s, paving the way for many other bands to bask in the spotlight of fame and success. Despite his death being officially ruled a suicide by the Seattle Police Department, several theories claim that Cobain was murdered.
Was Kurt Cobain murdered or did he commit suicide?
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Cobain was no stranger to depression and drug abuse. At his death, the toxicological tests determined he had a high level of heroin in his bloodstream. In his journal, he writes about how he turned to marijuana and alcohol in high school to help with the mental abuse he sustained from his mother.
Also, Cobain claims he never had any friends because he felt that other people were fake. He then writes in his journal that marijuana did not help him escape his emotions well anymore and that instead of thinking about committing suicide, one day he will actually finish the job and kill himself.
One of his entry describes that he got high and drunk and laid on train tracks and waited for the 11 PM train to come and kill him — but the train went on the opposite tracks. These passages and quotes from Cobain’s journal uphold the notion that he at least thought about suicide. More evidence can be drawn from the lyrics Cobain wrote for Nirvana songs.
The lyrics of Nirvana’s last song recorded before Cobain’s death, “You Know You’re Right,” are filled with references to Cobain’s manic depression and his desire to commit suicide. The song begins with an eerie plucking of strings on a guitar, setting a mood for sadness and confusion. The guitar riff is simple but displays a frustration that is also reflected by the lyrics and the growing desperation in Cobain’s vocals as the song progresses.
The lyrics are in first person, saying that Cobain will “…never bother you, …never follow you, never say a word again, …will crawl away for good,” which seem to be directed to his wife Courtney Love. The lyrics and vocals progress with desperation and frustration, saying: “No thought was put into this, I always knew it would come to this, Things have never been so swell, And I have never failed to fail,” before erupting into a chorus where Cobain painfully screams “Pain,” over and over. He then sings, “You know you’re right,” repeatedly, as if he is bitterly conceding in an argument to his thoughts telling him to kill himself.
The lyrics to his song seem insignificant on their own and could be construed as Cobain writing out his frustrations, however, comparing the lyrics to his suicide note reveals that this song may have been the formulation of his idea for his last and final suicide attempt. In his suicide note, he claims he became a “miserable, self-destructive, death rocker” unable to find happiness in performing his music. He states that since age seven, he became “hateful towards all humans in general.” He ends his suicide note begging his wife to keep going for their daughter, additionally claiming that their daughter would be better off without him.
Krist Novoselic, Cobain’s bandmate and friend, believes Cobain killed himself. However, Tom Grant, a private investigator employed by Love, believes that Cobain was murdered. His belief is that the suicide note was “written to Cobain’s fans telling them he was quitting the music business,” and leaving Love. Grant fails to consider the last lines of the suicide note, which clearly show that Cobain wrote his goodbyes to his family. Also, the line “I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy” are not consistent with Grant’s claim of the note being about Cobain leaving Love.
Kurt Cobain’s life was addled with manic depression and drug addictions. His love for life waned with his fame, for he had no way of knowing what becoming a successful musician would entail. He hated people for being phony, and felt that most of his adorers were the people he despised. Although his fans would rather not believe that he was selfish enough to take his own life, to leave behind his daughter and his wife, evidence certainly points to the fact that Cobain indeed committed suicide.
For even more proof, check out these nine pieces of evidence. Click “Next” to view them all: