Rose Bowl Aquatics Center

Music Nevermind Nirvana (album - 1991)
Nevermind has compiled hits. A furious and inspired album, whose cover was captured in a Californian pool.
Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
"Kalifornia" by IK's World Trip is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“I never wanted to sing. I just wanted to play rhythm guitar – hide in the back and just play.”

Kurt Cobain

The year 1990 begins for Nirvana in the studios of producer Butch Vig, in Madison, Wisconsin. Quickly, tensions appear between the drummer Chad Channing and Kurt Cobain. The former eventually left and the band soon welcomed Dave Grohl, the ex-drummer of Scream. His talent gives a new impulse to the recording sessions. In May, the trio continues to work on Nevermind
at Van Nuys’ legendary Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. If bassist Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl finish their respective parts in the best possible time, Kurt Cobain, both on guitar and vocals, struggles a bit more. He was then advised to double his own voice but he refused. It is only when he learns that his idol, John Lennon, was accustomed to the thing that he accepts. The mixing is entrusted to Andy Wallace, an expert in the field who has worked with Slayer, Sonic Youth, Sepultura and Alice Cooper.

Concerning the cover of Nevermind, Kurt Cobain has a very precise idea. Inspired by a documentary on water births, the singer asked his record company to look for pictures of newborns. Robert Fisher, Geffen’s art director, finds a photo of a baby swimmer, but the owners of the picture demand a $7,500 a year rent to allow its use. Finally, Kirk Weddle, the photographer in charge of the project, called upon a couple of friends. They have just had a child. Named Spencer Elden, he is only four months old. The couple accepted and Spencer posed in the water at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. Five shots are needed to find the right one. Seeing the result, the record company expresses its fears about the child’s penis, clearly visible. Ulcers, Kurt Cobain reacts by affirming to the pundits of Geffen that the only acceptable compromise would be to stick a sticker on the sex of the infant. Sticker on which would be written: “If you’re offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile.”. Finally, the label gives in. The photo of the baby underwater and the banknote hanging on a hook undoubtedly contributes to the success of the album. One of those snapshots that shaped a true legend of contemporary and over-amplified music.

Since then, Spencer Elden, the baby who has grown up, has reproduced the famous photo several times on the occasion of the various anniversaries of the album, this time wearing a swimsuit. Nicknamed the Nirvana Baby, he later recounted that at the time, his parents had given their consent without even knowing the group, in exchange for the sum
of $200. In 2021 nevertheless, in an unexpected turn of events, the young man filed a complaint against the rights holders of Nirvana, claiming that his exploitation for the cover of Nevermind was sexual exploitation…


Nirvana has sold 30 million copies of the album Nevermind worldwide.

Rose Bowl Aquatics Center

The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center is one of the most famous rock pools where people usually come to cool off…

Opened in 1990, this aquatic complex hosts several swimming, diving and water polo clubs. It is also where the U.S. Women’s Olympic Swimming and Diving Team trains in 2000 for the Olympic Games. Several water polo matches are regularly held there. The center is located south of Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium, just north of downtown Los Angeles. The city of Pasadena has become a part of pop culture thanks to The Big Bang Theory. This is where the main characters live.

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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]

Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists!

Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.

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By Gilles Rolland

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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