Rape Me (2:50)

Cover of In Utero

From In Utero and 205 other releases

Rape Me is a song by the American grunge band Nirvana. The song was released as the second single from Nirvana’s 1993 album In Utero, packaged as a double a-side along with “All Apologies.”

“Rape Me” was written by Nirvana singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain in an apartment in Los Angeles, California in May 1991, around the time the band’s second album, Nevermind (1991), was being mixed. It was first performed live on June 18, 1991, at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California, and subsequently played several times at Nirvana concerts during the next two years. These early live versions featured a dissonant, semi-improvised “anti-solo” after the second chorus, which was replaced by a bridge in the song’s final incarnation.

The band had wanted to debut it at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles on September 9, but MTV insisted on them playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” instead. According to the Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven, the network’s reasoning was not so much due to the controversial usage of the word “rape,” but rather because they assumed Cobain was using the song to jab at the media (and MTV) for their abuse of his celebrity status. (Only weeks earlier, a Vanity Fair article depicting Cobain and his wife Courtney Love as unfit parents nearly resulted in the removal of their newborn child Frances Bean Cobain from their custody. MTV News was one of the media sources who reported this story.

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