Nirvana Songs & Biggest Hits – Top 10 All-Time

Last Updated: May 31, 2022 | 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

Best Nirvana Songs List

#1 Smells Like Teen Spirit
Released in 1991
On 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

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#2 Come As You Are
Released in 1992
On 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

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#3 Heart-Shaped Box
Released in 1993
On 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

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#4 The Man Who Sold the World (Live – MTV Unplugged)
Released in 1994
On 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

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#5 Lithium
Released in 1992
On 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

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#6 In Bloom
Released in 1992
On 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

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#7 Rape Me
Released in 1993
On 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

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#8 Lake of Fire (Live – MTV Unplugged)
Released in 1994
On 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

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#9 You Know You’re Right
Released in 2002
On 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

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#10 About A Girl
Released in 1994
On 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

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If you have a favorite Nirvana song not on our list, please share it below so that it can be added.

Nirvana’s Highest-Ranking Songs – 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

Other rock group song lists to read:

Don’t Have An Empty Dance Floor!

About Matthew Campbell

Wedding Music Expert

Matthew (Matt) Campbell is the founder & editor of My Wedding Songs. He is a veteran wedding DJ and knows the latest music trends to help you pick your wedding songs quickly. His articles will help you find the bangers and romance for your wedding day – or simply earbud happiness. He is an active member in wedding planning and DJ Facebook groups. Matthew lives in Las Vegas, NV, and loves traveling with his wife in his spare time. Read Full Bio.

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