Smells Like the Hottest 100 of All Time. (Part 2)

This is what my blog is becoming folks. I get on a topic and then I try to stretch it out as long as I can.

In this case it is because of the Hottest 100 of All Time that Triple J is running again as a 20 year anniversary to the very first Hottest 100 in 1989.

In 1989 and 1990 Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ won the top spot. Then in 1991, Nirvana’s newly released ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ won No.1

Obviously the brains trust at Triple J quickly realised that whichever song was the most popular of the year would probably get into the ‘All Time’ list, so it was quickly decided to make the Hottest 100 an annual event which only covered the songs of the previous year.

Since 1991,  the All-Time countdown has been done one more time in 1998. Nirvana grabbed the top spot once again with Hunters & Collectors grabbing No.2 with ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’.

Now, what’s going to change in 2009? Will Nirvana win an unprecedented 3rd title?

The answer, my friends, is almost certainly, yes.

My second vote for this years Hottest 100 of all time is, you guessed it, Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

Ok, stop rolling your eyes. It may be cliched and it may be too easy to vote for this, but hear me out.

The reason this song is so damn popular is because it changed a lot of people’s perceptions of what music could sound like.

Back in 1990 and 1991, music was desperately trying to claw its way out of the bright, electronic and synthetic sound of the 80’s. The radio was clogged with Roxette, Milli Vanilli and Guru Josh (It’s time for the Guru..)

I mean, did you know that MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ was the 2nd highest selling single in 1990?

All of sudden a new sound emerged from the least likely of places. Seattle? WTF is in Seattle?

As it turned out, A lot.

Green River, Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone, The Melvins, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees and Mudhoney all hail from Seattle.

Where the 80’s was surrounded around a cocaine infused LA rock club scene, Seattle was to become the centre of the Rock universe.

Except this time it was called Grunge.

Let me tell you about the first time I heard Grunge.

It was a night like any other, and I was listening to KIX 106 as I did most nights back then. This is before it was taken over by the Austereo network and before it turned into the ‘Classic Hits’ that we hear today. Back then it was not uncommon to hear Metallica’s ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ being belted out, or Skid Row’s ‘Youth Gone Wild’ being played way too loud. I even heard the uneditted version of ‘Killing in the Name’ on KIX 106.

I had heard ‘Bad’ Boyd Duczynski mention the band Nirvana and that he was going to play their killer new song. It was probably around 7pm (an hour till the Hot 8 at 8!)

It was then that the opening chords to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ hit my earballs.

I turned it up.

Loud.

I have spoken to others since that still remember the first time they heard that song.

All of a sudden, instead of listening to Extreme, Vanilla Ice and The KLF, I was seeking out albums by Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.

There was also that video clip. The image of a dirty, messy 3-piece playing in front of a bored bunch of teenagers. In the next 5 minutes the kids turn into a unruly mob of ferals; moshing, head-banging and smashing the bands gear. (where are those kids from the film clip now?)

How awesome is that…

As a 15 year old, there was nothing better. I could shut my door, turn on my stereo and just forget everything else in the world except for those thrashy chords blasting out of  my ‘Sharp’ CD player (it cost me $500).

So, there’s my justification. I am not voting for it because it’s the ‘done’ thing, or because Triple J would want me to. I am voting for it because it has had a special effect on my life, as all of my Top 10 songs have.

Song No. 2 for the Hottest 100 of All Time voting. (in no particular order)

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

(to be continued…..)

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About Mick

I've been around a while. I like to wrap myself around the warm security of the interwebs which have consumed me since 1993. I whinge, I rant, I crap on. Enjoy. View all posts by Mick

2 responses to “Smells Like the Hottest 100 of All Time. (Part 2)

  • Melly Mel

    100% totally and utterly agree, they were a pivotal band at the time and in my book they sit up there with Elvis, The Beatles, yes, Jimi H etc as being one of those bands that changed the face of music as we knew it and just blew the world away. I loved Nirvana so much when I was in my teens, it bordered on obsession, such a shame that it ended the way it did, I wonder where they would be now if he hadn’t killed himself?? Anyway, Smells Like Teen Spirit gets my vote too!! 🙂 And you have inspired me to go dig my old CD’s out, the few I have on CD, I had everything on casette tape back then!!!! LOL Might have to visit iTunes… 😀

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