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Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

25 years ago this month, Nirvana performed "MTV Unplugged in New York", a live acoustic performance that was recorded at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 18, 1993. The performance aired on MTV on December 16, 1993.

Nirvana had been in negotiations with MTV to appear on its acoustic-based show MTV Unplugged for some time and after much effort, eventually Kurt Cobain accepted. The band wanted to do something different from a typical MTV Unplugged episode for its performance. According to drummer Dave Grohl, "We'd seen the other Unpluggeds and didn't like many of them, because most bands would treat them like rock show - play their hits like it was Madison Square Garden, except with acoustic guitars."

Nirvana rehearsed for two days. The rehearsals were tense and difficult, with the band running into problems performing various songs. Cobain disagreed with MTV as to how the performance should be presented, while MTV was unhappy with the lack of hit Nirvana songs in the setlist. The day before filming, Cobain refused to play; however, he appeared at the studio the following afternoon. Cobain was suffering from drug withdrawal at the time

and everyone was worried about his performance.

These clips take you through the highlights of the setlist and really take you through the experience of the MTV Unplugged in New York performance. In order, here are "About A Girl", "All Apologies", "The Man Who Sold The World", a cool and candid rehearsal take of "Polly" and finally a very painful and moving finale performance of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night":

"About A Girl"

"All Apologies"

"The Man Who Sold The World"


"Where Did You Sleep Last Night"

MTV Unplugged in New York was the first Nirvana album released following the suicide death of Kurt Cobain on April 5, 1994. The MTV Unplugged in New York album was released on November 1, 1994. The following week, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 310,500 copies, which was the highest first-week sales of Nirvana's career.

The album is Nirvana's most successful posthumous release, having been certified 5x platinum in the United States by 1997 and won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996. In 2012, it was placed at number 313 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".

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