25 Years Ago: Nirvana Releases MTV Unplugged in New York

Nirvana’s performance on MTV Unplugged is probably the most famous performance on the long running Unplugged series which included a lot of the popular acts in the 1990s and 2000s. The show was recorded in November of 1993 and aired on MTV a month later, but the album release came 25 years ago today. The album featured some songs that had been cut from the broadcast.

Nirvana took a less conventional approach to the show. A lot of their hits were absent from their set and they played several covers. MTV wasn’t happy with the songs they chose to play and the band struggled during rehearsals prior to the recording. Among the covers was David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World. Some of their unplugged versions ended up being the definitive version of the song like About a Girl, a song off their first album Bleach. The performance was filmed in a single take, which was rare since the show wasn’t live.

MTV Unplugged in New York was released on November 1, 1994. Several months after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in April. The album sold 5 million copies in the United States and won a Grammy.

The album’s singles still get some airplay on rock radio today and the performance is one of the more beloved in the history of music. The cardigan Kurt Cobain wore during the concert recently sold at an auction for $334,000.

MTV Unplugged in New York is the only Nirvana album I own.