Blew

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Blew
NirvanaBlewEP.jpg
EP by
ReleasedNovember 1989
Recorded
  • June–September 1988
  • December 1988 – January 1989
  • September 1989
GenreGrunge
Length11:32
LanguageEnglish
LabelTupelo
ProducerJack Endino, Steve Fisk
Nirvana chronology
Bleach
(1989)
Blew
(1989)
Nevermind
(1991)
Nirvana singles chronology
Love Buzz
(1988)
Blew
(1989)
Sliver
(1990)
"Blew"
Song by Nirvana
from the album Bleach
ReleasedJune 1989
Recorded1988–1989
GenreAlternative rock, grunge
Length2:56
LabelSub Pop
Songwriter(s)Kurt Cobain
Producer(s)Jack Endino
Bleach track listing
11 tracks
  1. "Blew"
  2. "Floyd the Barber"
  3. "About a Girl"
  4. "School"
  5. "Love Buzz"
  6. "Paper Cuts"
  7. "Negative Creep"
  8. "Scoff"
  9. "Swap Meet"
  10. "Mr. Moustache"
  11. "Sifting"
Audio sample
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]

"Blew" is a song by the American rock band Nirvana, written by vocalist and guitarist, Kurt Cobain. It is the first song on the band's debut album Bleach, released in June 1989 by Sub Pop. The song was re-released by the Tupelo record label as the title track of a four-song Nirvana EP in the United Kingdom in November 1989 where it charted at number 15 on the UK Indie Singles chart.[2][3]

Origin and recording[edit]

Written in 1988, "Blew" was first performed live at the Community World Theatre in Tacoma, Washington on March 19, 1988. The song was first recorded in the studio by Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recording Studios in Seattle, Washington in June 1988, during the recording sessions for what became the band's debut single, "Love Buzz." It was re-recorded during the Bleach sessions in December 1988 by Endino at Reciprocal.

The Bleach version of "Blew" was accidentally recorded one step lower than the band had intended, which contributed to what Nirvana biographer Michael Azerrad called its "extraordinarily heavy sound."[4] Not realizing that they had already tuned to their favored Drop D tuning, the band tuned further down to Drop C on the first day of the sessions and recorded several songs in that tuning. As bassist Krist Novoselic recalled in a 2009 Seattle Times article, "we came back the next day and decided the idea wasn’t so hot, and we recorded over most of it with things tuned back up a little. In fact, 'Blew,' with that growly bass, is the only survivor of that experiment."[5]

The Bleach version of "Blew" was re-released on the Blew EP in November 1989, along with the Bleach mix of "Love Buzz" and the previously-unreleased songs "Been a Son" and "Stain," which had been recorded by Steve Fisk at Music Source in Seattle, Washington in September 1989. The band's original plan had been to release an EP to promote their current European tour, but the EP was delayed and released exclusively in the United Kingdom after the tour was over. However, the EP built on the interest the band had generated in the UK with Bleach, and was promoted by English DJ John Peel, who had also played Bleach on his influential show. The Blew EP eventually peaked at #15 on the UK Indie chart.[2][3]

"Blew" remained one of only three songs from Bleach, along with "About a Girl" and "School," which the band performed until their dissolution in April 1994. It was performed for the final time live at Nirvana's last show, at Terminal Einz in Munich, Germany on March 1, 1994, as the second-to-last song, preceding "Heart-Shaped Box."

Composition and lyrics[edit]

In his 1993 Nirvana biography Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Azerrad described the song as having a "theme of entrapment and control."[6]

Release and reception[edit]

In 2009, Novoselic said that "Blew" was perhaps his favorite song on Bleach "because it has a groove, and again, it’s the sole survivor of the Doom Pop experiment."[7]

In 2015, Rolling Stone's listed "Blew" at number 22 on their ranking of 102 Nirvana songs.[8]

The Blew EP[edit]

The Blew EP was released in November 1989 on Tupelo Records on 12" vinyl and compact disc. With a working title of Winnebago.[9], the EP was originally intended to be released to promote an upcoming European tour, but this plan was abandoned, and the maxi-single ended up being released exclusively in the United Kingdom shortly after its completion.

The Blew EP was released only in the UK and was difficult to obtain elsewhere. Only 3,000 copies of the maxi-single were pressed on 12" vinyl and CD. Both vinyl and CD counterfeit copies exist, with the vinyl copies varying in color. The official 12" vinyl was pressed only on black vinyl.

"Stain" was re-released by DGC Records in December 1992, on the band's rarities compilation, Incesticide. The Blew version of "Been a Son," hailed by Kurt St. Thomas as the "definitive take" due to its trashy sound and pronounced bass solo,[10] remained a rarity until it was re-released in October 2002 on the band's first best-of compilation, Nirvana.[11]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Kurt Cobain, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Blew" 2:56
2."Love Buzz" (Shocking Blue cover)Robbie van Leeuwen3:36
Side two
No.TitleLength
3."Been a Son"2:22
4."Stain"2:38
  • "Blew" and "Love Buzz" were previously released on Nirvana's 1989 debut album, Bleach, but "Love Buzz" was not included on the original 1989 UK version of Bleach being replaced by "Big Cheese" instead which was the b-side to the US "Love Buzz" single. Therefore the Blew EP was the first time that "Love Buzz" was officially released in the UK. However, "Love Buzz" was included on the 1992 UK re-issue of Bleach.
  • "Been a Son" was later released on the 2002 "best-of" compilation, Nirvana. A different version appeared on the 1992 compilation, Incesticide.
  • "Stain" was later released on Incesticide.

Charts[edit]

Charts (1989) Peak
position
UK Indie Singles (MRIB)[2][3] 15

Recording and release history[edit]

Demo and studio versions[edit]

Date recorded Studio Producer/recorder Releases Personnel
June 1988 – September 1989 Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, Washington Jack Endino No official release
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Chad Channing (drums)
December 1988 – January 1989 Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, Washington Jack Endino Bleach (1989)
Blew (1989)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Chad Channing (drums)

Live versions[edit]

Date recorded Venue Releases Personnel
February 9, 1990 Pine Street Theatre, Portland, Oregon Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition) (2009)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Chad Channing (drums)
October 31, 1991 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA Live at the Paramount (2011)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)
November 25, 1991 Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (1996)
Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! (DVD) (2006)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums, backing vocals)
August 30, 1992 Reading Festival, Reading, England Live at Reading (2009)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums)
December 13, 1993 Pier 48, Seattle, Washington Live and Loud (2013)
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass)
  • Dave Grohl (drums, backing vocals)
  • Pat Smear (guitar)
  • Lori Goldston (cello)

Personnel[edit]

Nirvana

Production

Covers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nirvana: Blew EP". Allmusic.
  2. ^ a b c Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980–1989. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-0-9517206-9-1. OCLC 38292499. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2020.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Charts - Indie Singles". Melody Maker. MRIB. November 18, 1989. p. 35. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Azerrad, Michael (1994). Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday. p. 100. ISBN 0-385-47199-8.
  5. ^ Novoselic, Krist (27 October 2009). "Bleach: Krist Novoselic Interviews Chad Channing". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  6. ^ Azerrad, Michael (1994). Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday. p. 100. ISBN 0-385-47199-8.
  7. ^ Novoselic, Krist (27 October 2009). "Bleach: Krist Novoselic Interviews Chad Channing". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  8. ^ Bienstock, Richard (8 April 2015). "No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  9. ^ https://www.livenirvana.com/interviews/8908ep/index.php
  10. ^ St. Thomas, Kurt (2004). Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects. New York City: St. Martin's Press. p. 54. ISBN 0312206631.
  11. ^ Gaar, Gillian G (March 31, 2020). "A look at Nirvana's collectible recordings". Goldmine. Retrieved April 1, 2020.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]