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Dating back to at least 1988, "About a Girl" is often considered to be Kurt Cobain's first great pop song. It is also perhaps the closest he ever came to writing a traditional love song.
According to the 1993 Nirvana biography Come As You Are by Michael Azerrad, "About a Girl" was written after Cobain spent an entire afternoon listening to Meet the Beatles! repeatedly. At the time, Cobain was trying to conceal his pop songwriting instincts, and he was reluctant to include the song on Bleach for fear of alienating the band's then-exclusively grunge fanbase. "To put a jangly, R.E.M. type of pop song on a grunge record, in that scene, was risky," he admitted in a 1993 Rolling Stone interview.
However, Bleach's producer Jack Endino was excited about the song, and even saw it as a potential single. Years later, Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana's 1991 breakthrough album Nevermind, would cite "About a Girl" as the first hint that there was more to Nirvana than grunge. "Everyone talks about Kurt's love affair with...the whole punk scene, but he was also a huge Beatles fan, and the more time we spent together the more obvious their influence on his songwriting became," Vig told the NME in 2004.
"About a Girl" was recorded for Bleach in December 1988 by Endino in Seattle, Washington. It remained one of the few songs from Bleach which Cobain continued to perform live until his death in April 1994. The acoustic MTV Unplugged rendition, recorded in 1993 and released posthumously on MTV Unplugged in New York in 1994, is perhaps the most familiar reading of the song. The Unplugged version of the song is featured in the Music Video Game Guitar Hero: World Tour.
According to Chad Channing, Nirvana's drummer around the time of Bleach, Cobain didn't have a title for the song when he first brought it into the studio. When asked what it was about, Cobain replied, "It's about a girl."
The girl in question was Tracy Marander, Cobain's then-girlfriend, with whom he lived at the time. Apparently, Marander had asked Cobain why he had never written a song for her, and Cobain responded with "About a Girl." The song addresses the couple's fractured relationship, caused by Cobain's refusal to get a job, or to share cleaning duties at their apartment (which housed many of his pets). During arguments on the subject, Cobain would occasionally threaten to move into his car, at which point Marander would usually relent.
Strangely, Cobain never told Marander that he had written "About a Girl" for her. In the 1998 Nick Broomfield documentary Kurt and Courtney, Marander revealed that she only found out after reading Come As You Are.
"About a Girl" was released as the only commercial single from MTV Unplugged in New York. Five thousand numbered limited edition copies were sold in Australia, while a standard single was sold in countries across Europe.
The songs that appeared on the single was About a Girl and "Something in the Way".
I need an easy friend I do with an ear to lend I do think you fit this shoe I do butt you have a clue CHORUS I'll take advantage while you hang me out to dry But, I can't see you every night free I do I'm standing in your line I do hope you have the time I do pick a number to I do keep a date with you CHORUS FIRST VERSE CHORUS I can't see you every night free I do, I do, I do, I do