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
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
Music video
"All Apologies" on YouTube

"All Apologies" is a song by American rock band Nirvana, written by frontman Kurt Cobain. It was released in December 1993 as the second single from the band's third album, In Utero. 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" was written by Cobain in 1990. In a 2005 interview with Harp, drummer Dave Grohl explained that the song was "something that Kurt wrote on [a] 4-track in our apartment in Olympia. I remember hearing it and thinking, 'God, this guy has such a beautiful sense of melody, I can’t believe he’s screaming all the time.'" [1]

The song was first recorded in the studio by Craig Montgomery at Music Source Studios in Seattle, Washington on January 1, 1991. This version had more a folk music aspect than later versions. Bassist Krist Novoselic accompanied Cobain on a second guitar instead of his standard instrument, utilizing seventh chords as he played. Grohl's drumming was accented by a tambourine.[2] The song was first performed live at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England 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.[3] 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 Albini mix. Novoselic viewed "All Apologies" and the album's first single, "Heart-Shaped Box", 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".[4]

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.[5]

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.[6] The only instruction Cobain gave the single's art director Robert Fisher regarding the packaging was that he wanted "Something with seahorses".[7] Like its predecessor "Heart-Shaped Box", the single was not released commercially in the United States.[6] 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."[8] In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at number 462 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[9] The song also ranked at number 99 in Blender's The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.[10]

"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.[11] "All Apologies" is also a BMI award winning song.[12] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has included "All Apologies" on its list of "The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll".[13]

Music video[edit]

Although no music video was ever made for the In Utero version of "All Apologies", according to the comedian Bobcat Goldthwait who was one of the opening acts for Nirvana on their In Utero tour, Kurt Cobain had wanted to create a music video for the song that parodied the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but using a pie instead of a gun.[14]

The MTV Unplugged performance of the song began airing as a single music video on MTV in December 1993.[15]

Unplugged version[edit]

"All Apologies"
All Apologies (unplugged).jpg
"All Apologies" cover
Promotional single by Nirvana from the album MTV Unplugged in New York
Released Early 1994
Recorded 18 November 1993 at Sony Music Studios in New York City
Genre Alternative rock, acoustic rock
Length 4:23
Label DGC Records
Writer(s) Kurt Cobain
Producer(s) Alex Coletti, Scott Litt, Nirvana
MTV Unplugged in New York track listing

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.[15][16] The Unplugged version of "All Apologies" came in at number seven on MTV's Top 100 Video Countdown of 1994.[17] It was released as a promotional single in early 1994,[18][19][20] and later appeared on the MTV Unplugged in New York album in November of that year. It is the Unplugged version of "All Apologies" that received most radio air play,[21] and 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. The Music Source version, recorded on January 1, 1991, was released on disc two of the deluxe version of In Utero in 2013.

Formats and track listing[edit]


Chart (1993–1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[22] 58
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 43
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[24] 41
European Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[25] 77
France (SNEP)[26] 20
Ireland (IRMA)[27] 20
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[28] 32
Poland (LP3)[29] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[30] 32
US Radio Songs (Billboard)[31] 45
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[32] 1
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[33] 4



  1. ^ Orshoski, Wes. Dave Grohl: Honor Roll. Harp.
  2. ^ Gaar, p. 13-14
  3. ^ Gaar, p. 55
  4. ^ DeRogatis, p. 18
  5. ^ Azerrad, p. 32
  6. ^ a b Gaar, Gillian G. "Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History of Nirvana". Goldmine. February 14, 1997.
  7. ^ Gaar, p. 85-86
  8. ^ True, Everett (2007). Nirvana: The Biography. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81554-6. p. 502.
  9. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1-500)". Retrieved on April 21, 2015.
  10. ^ #99 in Blender's 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born
  11. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 26, 1995). "Playing Grammy Roulette". The New York Times. Retrieved on March 6, 2009.
  12. ^ Nirvana songs listed by BMI. Retrieved on December 26, 2012.
  13. ^ "The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ Here's What Kurt Cobain Originally Wanted to Do for the 'All Apologies' Video Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Billboard magazine - December 5, 1993 - p. 37 - "Video Monitor" section under "MTV New Adds" section Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  16. ^ - Memorabilia - Nirvana VHS Promo Singles. (Click Memorabilia, then click "Nirvana VHS Promo Singles" Retrieved on March 10, 2013.
  17. ^ St Thomas, Kurt and Smith, Troy. p. 225.
  18. ^ Billboard magazine - 5 Feb 1994 Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  19. ^ a b St Thomas, Kurt and Smith, Troy. p. 242.
  20. ^ a b Nirvana - Nirvana – All Apologies Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  21. ^ St Thomas, Kurt and Smith, Troy. p. 171.
  22. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart — Week Ending 20 Feb 1994". ARIA. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  23. ^ " – Nirvana – All Apologies / Rape Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  24. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2407." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  25. ^ Music & Media magazine, January 15, 1994.
  26. ^ " – Nirvana – All Apologies" (in French). Les classement single.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – All Apologies/Rape Me". Irish Singles Chart.
  28. ^ " – Nirvana – All Apologies". Top 40 Singles.
  29. ^ "ALL APOLOGIES". Polskie Radio. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Nirvana: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  31. ^ "Nirvana – Chart history" Billboard Radio Songs for Nirvana.
  32. ^ "Nirvana – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Nirvana.
  33. ^ "Nirvana – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Nirvana.

External links[edit]