Nirvana Songs & Biggest Hits – Top 10 All-Time

Last Updated: August 15, 2023 | Written by Matthew Campbell (Editor of My Wedding Songs and wedding DJ)

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Nirvana peaked in a new music genre – Grunge. However, they popularized alternative rock as a whole. Nirvana will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014.

Nirvana Top 10 Songs

Nirvana only released three albums before the lead singer Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994. The albums were Bleach (1989), Nevermind (1991), In Utero (1993). However, several albums were released posthumously.

Band Members:

  • Kurt Cobain – lead vocals, guitar
  • Krist Novoselic – bass guitar
  • Dave Grohl – drums, backing vocals (Dave is also the founder of the Foo Fighters)

Former Members:

  • Aaron Burckhard – drums
  • Dale Crover – drums
  • Dave Foster – drums
  • Chad Channing – drums
  • Jason Everman – guitar
  • Dan Peters – drums

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Best Nirvana Songs List

#1 Smells Like Teen Spirit
Released in 1991 on the album Nevermind

Curt said the song was about teenagers because they don’t follow the guidelines of what’s expected as adults.

I’m worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

song on Amazon

#2 Come As You Are
Released in 1992 on the album Nevermind

The song is about people and what they’re expected to act like.

Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy

song on Amazon

Next, read Pearl Jam’s biggest hits.

#3 Heart-Shaped Box
Released in 1993 on the album Utero

With multiple theories as to the meaning of the song, one is that the song is about the saddest thing he knows – cancer in children.

I got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice

song on Amazon

#4 The Man Who Sold the World (Live – MTV Unplugged)
Released in 1994 on the album MTV Unplugged in New York

The song was originally released by David Bowie.

For years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazeless stare
We walked a million hills
I must have died alone
A long, long time ago

song on Amazon

#5 Lithium
Released in 1992 on the album Nevermind

The song is about a man who, after the death of his girlfriend, turns to religion as a last resort to keep himself alive.

Broke our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care
And I’m not scared, light my candles
In a daze ’cause I’ve found God

song on Amazon

Check out a Guns N Roses music playlist for engaged couples.

#6 In Bloom
Released in 1992 on the album Nevermind

The song is addressed to the people outside of the underground music scene that began showing up at Nirvana shows after the release of the group’s debut album Bleach.

And I say he’s the one
Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means

song on Amazon

#7 Rape Me
Released in 1993 on the album In Utero

Rape Me is a life-affirming, anti-rape song.

I’m not the only one
I’m not the only one
I’m not the only one

song on Amazon

#8 Lake of Fire (Live – MTV Unplugged)
Released in 1994 on the album MTV Unplugged in New York

The song was first released by the Meat Puppets in 1984.

People cry and people moan
Look for a dry place to call their home
Try to find someplace to rest their bones
While the angels and the devils try to make them their own

song on Amazon

#9 You Know You’re Right
Released in 2002 on the album Nirvana

The song was written in 1993, making it one of the last known Kurt Cobain compositions.

She just wants to love herself
I will move away from here
You won’t be afraid of fear
No thought was put into this

song on Amazon

Put on your headphones and play Metallica tunes for a reception party.

#10 About A Girl
Released in 1994 on the album MTV Unplugged in New York and Bleach

The song is about Curt’s relationship with then-girlfriend Tracy Marander.

I do hope you have the time
I do pick a number too
I do keep a date with you

song on Amazon

Nirvana’s Highest-Ranking Singles – U.S. Alternative

  • #1 Smells Like Teen Spirit, 1991
  • #1 Heart-Shaped Box, 1993
  • #1 All Apologies, 1993
  • #1 About a Girl, 1994
  • #1 You Know You’re Right, 2002
  • #3 Come as You Are, 1992
  • #19 Silver, 1990
  • #25 Lithium, 1992

Do you have a favorite Nirvana song? Please share your song below in the comments!

About Matthew Campbell

DJ, Editor, Music Lover

Meet Matthew (Matt) Campbell, the passionate wedding DJ and music expert behind My Wedding Songs. With years of experience in the industry and a keen ear for the latest trends, Matt knows just what it takes to create the perfect soundtrack for your special day. From classic love ballads to upbeat party anthems, his articles are jam-packed with insider tips and top recommendations that will have you and your guests on your feet all night long.

But Matt isn’t just a music aficionado – he’s also an active member of wedding planning and DJ communities, sharing his expertise and learning from other professionals along the way. Matt is the author of the Wedding Songs Planner and has articles published on Rolling Stone, DJ Life Magazine, and DJ Times. He is a member of the Rolling Stone Culture Council and Vegas Wedding Chamber. You can listen to his tips as the host of the Wedding Songs Podcast. 

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