All Apologies

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For the Chinese film, see All Apologies (film).
"All Apologies"
Single by Nirvana
from the album In Utero
A-side "Rape Me"
B-side "Moist Vagina"
Released 6 December 1993
Format CD, 7" single, 12" single, cassette
Recorded February 1993 at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota
Genre Grunge, alternative rock
Length 3:50
Label DGC
Writer(s) Kurt Cobain
Producer(s) Steve Albini
Nirvana singles chronology
"Heart-Shaped Box"
"All Apologies/Rape Me"
"Pennyroyal Tea"
In Utero track listing
Unplugged promo single cover
This version is found on the Unplugged album and "best of" album

"All Apologies" is a song by American rock band Nirvana, written by frontman Kurt Cobain. It was released as the second single from the band's third album, In Utero, which was released on September 21, 1993. It was released as a double A-side with the song "Rape Me". "All Apologies" was the band's third number one Modern Rock hit and reached number 32 on the UK Singles Chart. The Song was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1995, and has since been included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll".


"All Apologies" had been around since 1990. Nirvana first recorded the song during a January 1, 1991 demo session with producer Craig Montgomery in Seattle, Washington. This version of the song had more a folk music aspect than later versions. Bassist Krist Novoselic accompanied Kurt Cobain on a second guitar instead of his standard instrument, utilizing seventh chords as he played. Drummer Dave Grohl's drumming was accented by a tambourine.[1] The song was first performed before a live audience at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall on November 6, 1991.

Nirvana recorded the song for its third album In Utero in February 1993 with Steve Albini in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The song, at that point tentatively titled "La La La La", was recorded on February 14. The recording featured Kera Schaley on cello, who was the only other musician to play on the album besides the band members.[2] It was remixed, along with "Heart-Shaped Box" and later "Pennyroyal Tea", by Scott Litt prior to the album's release, with Cobain asserting that the vocals and bass sounded "mushy" in the unmastered Albini recording. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic viewed "All Apologies" and "Heart-Shaped Box", the other single released from In Utero, as "gateways" to the more abrasive sound of the rest of the album, telling journalist Jim DeRogatis that once listeners played the record they would discover "this aggressive wild sound, a true alternative record".[3]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Cobain dedicated "All Apologies" to his wife Courtney Love and their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. The songwriter told biographer Michael Azerrad that while the lyrics had nothing to do with his family, the song's mood, which Cobain summarized in the words "Peaceful, happy, comfort," was intended for them.[4]

Release and reception[edit]

"All Apologies" was released as a double A-side single with "Rape Me" on December 6, 1993 on CD, cassette tape, and 7" and 12" vinyl record formats.[5] The only instruction Cobain gave the single's art director Robert Fisher regarding the packaging was that he wanted "Something with seahorses".[6] Like its predecessor "Heart-Shaped Box", the single was not released commercially in the United States.[5] Everett True of Melody Maker made "All Apologies" the Single Of The Week for the magazine; he wrote "It's the most supremely resigned, supremely weary fuck you to the outside world I've heard this year. 'All Apologies' has the most gorgeous, aching tune, an emotionally draining ennui."[7] In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at number 462 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[8] The song also ranked at number 99 in Blender's The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.[9]

"All Apologies" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song in 1995.[10] "All Apologies" is also a BMI award winning song.[11] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has included "All Apologies" on its list of "The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll".[12]

Unplugged version[edit]

An acoustic version was performed live by Nirvana for their MTV Unplugged set in November 1993. As Nirvana did not make a music video for the In Utero version of "All Apologies" the MTV Unplugged performance of the song was used as a music video instead.[13] The Unplugged version of "All Apologies" came in at number seven on MTV's Top 100 Video Countdown of 1994.[14] It appeared on the MTV Unplugged in New York album in 1994 and was released as a promotional single,[15] and it is the Unplugged version that received most radio air play.[16] Incidentally it is this version that is included on the 2002 "best-of" compilation album Nirvana.

Demo versions[edit]

An acoustic demo of "All Apologies" was included on the band's rarities box set, With the Lights Out released in 2004 and on the compilation album, Sliver: The Best of the Box released in 2005. Another demo version recorded in 1991 was released on CD2 of deluxe versions of the In Utero album in 2013.

Formats and track listing[edit]


Chart (1993/1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[17] 58
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[18] 43
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[19] 41
France (SNEP)[20] 20
Ireland (IRMA)[21] 20
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 32
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 32
US Radio Songs (Billboard)[24] 45
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[25] 1
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[26] 4



  1. ^ Gaar, p. 13-14
  2. ^ Gaar, p. 55
  3. ^ DeRogatis, p. 18
  4. ^ Azerrad, p. 32
  5. ^ a b Gaar, Gillian G. "Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History of Nirvana". Goldmine. February 14, 1997.
  6. ^ Gaar, p. 85-86
  7. ^ True, Everett (2007). Nirvana: The Biography. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81554-6. p. 502.
  8. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1-500)". Retrieved on April 21, 2015.
  9. ^ #99 in Blender's 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born
  10. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 26, 1995). "Playing Grammy Roulette". The New York Times. Retrieved on March 6, 2009.
  11. ^ Nirvana songs listed by BMI. Retrieved on December 26, 2012.
  12. ^ "The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ - Memorabilia - Nirvana VHS Promo Singles. (Click Memorabilia, then click "Nirvana VHS Promo Singles" Retrieved on March 10, 2013.
  14. ^ St Thomas, Kurt and Smith, Troy. pp. 225.
  15. ^ St Thomas, Kurt and Smith, Troy. pp. 241 - 242.
  16. ^ St Thomas, Kurt and Smith, Troy. pp. 171.
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 and 1993–2005. St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ " – Nirvana – All Apologies / Rape Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 59, No. 7, March 07 1994". RPM:59 (7). March 7, 1994. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  20. ^ " – Nirvana – All Apologies" (in French). Les classement single.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – All Apologies/Rape Me". Irish Singles Chart.
  22. ^ " – Nirvana – All Apologies". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Nirvana: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ "Nirvana – Chart history" Billboard Radio Songs for Nirvana.
  25. ^ "Nirvana – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Nirvana.
  26. ^ "Nirvana – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Nirvana.

External links[edit]