Love Buzz

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"Love Buzz"
Song by Shocking Blue
from the album At Home
Released30 September 1969
StudioSound Push Studios, Blaricum, Netherlands
LabelPink Elephant
Songwriter(s)Robbie van Leeuwen

"Love Buzz" is a song by Dutch rock band Shocking Blue. It was written by Robbie van Leeuwen and first released on the group's 1969 album At Home. The original song is notable for its psychedelic rock style and its extensive use of the sitar, played by Leeuwen.

"Love Buzz" was covered by Nirvana, released as their debut single in 1988.

Nirvana version[edit]

"Love Buzz"
Picture sleeve
Single by Nirvana
from the album Bleach
B-side"Big Cheese"
ReleasedNovember 1988 (1988-11)
RecordedJune 30, 1988
StudioReciprocal Recordings, Seattle, Washington[1]
3:45 (with intro)
LabelSub Pop
Songwriter(s)Robbie van Leeuwen
Producer(s)Jack Endino
Nirvana singles chronology
"Love Buzz"
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

American rock band Nirvana recorded a cover version of the song for its 1988 debut single, released on Sub Pop in the USA. It was described by Sub Pop as being "heavy pop sludge".[2]

Release and reception[edit]

It was the first single in the Sub Pop Singles Club and was limited to 1,000 numbered copies. A Sub Pop invoice indicates that 1200 sleeves were made, the other 200 having a red slash instead of a number.[3]

It was made single of the week in Sounds by John Robb, which was the first mention of the band in the UK press.[4][5]

The single was reviewed in the 2 December 1988 issue of CMJ, in which it stated "Nowhere else are you gonna hear such a teeth-rattling Seattle sludgemeister demolition job. Nirvana mixes things up good and choppy, including all the ingredients for primal rock greatness".[6]

In a 1989 review for British music magazine Melody Maker, Everett True wrote, "Nirvana are beauty incarnate. A relentless two-chord garage beat which lays down some serious foundations for a sheer monster of a guitar to howl over. The volume control ain't been built yet which can do justice to this three-piece!" True also made "Love Buzz" joint-US Single of the Week.[7] True also described Nirvana's "Love Buzz" single as a "Limited edition of 1,000; love songs for the psychotically disturbed".[8]

A slightly different mix of the song would also appear on Nirvana's debut album, Bleach. This version is missing a 10-second sound collage introduction put together by Kurt Cobain. "Love Buzz" was later released on Nirvana's Blew EP in the UK in December 1989. This was the song's first release in the UK after being substituted by "Big Cheese" on the British release of the Bleach album.[9][10]

Track listing[edit]

1."Love Buzz"Robbie van Leeuwen3:45
2."Big Cheese"Kurt Cobain3:42
Total length:7:27

Live versions[edit]

A live performance in Olympia, Washington from 1990, which was drummer Dave Grohl's first live concert with Nirvana,[11] was released on the DVD of the Nirvana rarities boxset With the Lights Out in 2004.

A live performance from October 19, 1991, at Trees in Dallas, Texas, can be seen on Nirvana's 1994 home video Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! in which frontman Kurt Cobain got into a fight with a bouncer.[12][13] On Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!, after the fight is stopped, the second half of the song is shown from a concert which took place on November 25, 1991, at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

A live performance from October 31, 1991 at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle, Washington, was released on the Live at the Paramount DVD and Blu-ray, and on the 20th anniversary "Super Deluxe" box set of the Nevermind album in 2011.

Three live performances were released on the 30th anniversary "Super Deluxe" box set of the Nevermind album in 2021. These were from November 25, 1991, at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands, February 1, 1992, at the Palace, Melbourne, Australia, and February 19, 1992, at the Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo, Japan.[14]

A live performance from August 30, 1992 at the Reading Festival, Reading, England was released on the DVD Live at Reading in 2009, but was cut from the CD version.


In 2012, a Dutch episode of Classic Recordings about Shocking Blue's album At Home featured a rare interview with guitar player Robbie van Leeuwen[15] and clips of Nirvana's live performance of the song at the Paradiso, Amsterdam. Shocking Blue bassist Klaasje van der Wal was proud of the fact that Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic once called him a bass god in a blog, while it was said that Van Leeuwen was informed about the Nirvana cover during a visit to Hilversum in the Netherlands. Apparently, he had listened to Bleach in a shop, returned it to his friend without having purchased the album and explained that he did not buy it because he thought the cover was inferior.

As the "Love Buzz" single was released in November 1988, Nirvana were announced in their first year of eligibility as being part of the 2014 class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 December 2013. In 2017, to mark what would have been Kurt Cobain's 50th birthday, the Phonographic Performance Limited released a list of the top twenty most played Nirvana songs on the TV and radio in the UK in which "Love Buzz" was ranked at number fourteen.[16]

In February, 2021, it was reported that a Nirvana "Love Buzz" single that sold for $3,998.99 was the 99th most expensive item ever sold on the Discogs website.[17] In August, 2021, Nirvana's "Love Buzz" topped Ultimate Guitar's list of the Top 10 Grunge Covers that Beat the Originals.[18][19] In December 2022, a "Love Buzz" single sold at auction for £2,600 in the United Kingdom.[20]

Other cover versions[edit]

The track has also been covered by Hatcham Social on the free EP Party, released in 2008. A club mix of "Love Buzz" was released on Saint Thomas Records in 2009 by the Dallas psychedelic band Lithium X-Mas as a CD single. British/German singer/songwriter Anika covered "Love Buzz" on her 2013 self-titled EP. In 2018, Israeli musician Itay Burg released an electro ethnic rock version in Hebrew on his album Katan Bamaarechet. Italian band Veeblefetzer included a version of "Love Buzz" on their album More in 2019.


The original Shocking Blue version was sampled in the song "Phoenix" by Liam Howlett of The Prodigy on the 2004 album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned.

Elements of the original song were also sampled for the track "Kitty Box" by Lil' Kim, on her 2005 album The Naked Truth.

Hip hop artist k-os also sampled the track in the song "Uptown GirL" from the album Yes! in 2009.

The song was sampled by the Danish rap group Malk De Koijn, in the song "5 øres ting" from the 2011 release Toback to the Fromtime.

The Shocking Blue version was sampled by Necro for the title track on his 2010 album Die!.[21][22]


Specific references:

  1. ^ Borzillo-Vrenna, Carrie (2003). Nirvana - The Day to Day Illustrated Journals (1st ed.). Barnes & Noble. p. 24. ISBN 0-7607-4893-4.
  2. ^ a b Azerrad, Michael (2013). Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Crown. p. 85. ISBN 9780307833730. Kindle edition
  3. ^ Gaar, Gillian G (31 March 2020). "A look at Nirvana's collectible recordings". Goldmine. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  4. ^ Rhind-Tutt, Louise (23 August 2017). "'I had no idea they would be so big' - John Robb on Manchester music, Britpop, and being the first to interview Nirvana". i. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  5. ^ Robb, John (21 September 2016). "Nirvana: John Robb did their first ever interview printed here plus in depth follow up interview". Louder Than War. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  6. ^ "1988". CMJ New Music Report. 5 January 2004. p. 22. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  7. ^ True, Everett (2007). Nirvana: The Biography. Da Capo Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-306-81554-6.
  8. ^ True, Everett (18 February 1989). "Nirvana - Love Buzz". Melody Maker. p. 28.
  9. ^ Earles, Andrew; Cross, Charles; Gaar, Gillian G; Gendron, Bob; Martens, Todd; Yarm, Mark (2016). Kurt Cobain and Nirvana - The Complete Illustrated History (Updated ed.). United States: Voyageur Press. p. 60. ISBN 9780760351789. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  10. ^ Enrico Vincenzi. "Bleach Index". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Watch: Here's footage of Dave Grohl playing his first-ever gig with Nirvana in 1990". Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Watch Kurt Cobain attack a bouncer with his guitar while performing in 1991". Far Out Magazine. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  13. ^ Lacour, Brad (23 October 2018). "Trees Wants You to Never Forget About the Time a Bouncer Punched Kurt Cobain in the Face". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  14. ^ Jones, Damian (23 September 2021). "Nirvana announce special 30th anniversary reissue of 'Nevermind'". NME. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  15. ^ Video on YouTube
  16. ^ 20 most-played Nirvana songs revealed to mark Kurt Cobain’s 50th birthday Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  17. ^ Helfet, Gabriela (3 February 2021). "Discogs announces most expensive record sold on site". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Top 10 Grunge Covers that Beat the Originals". Ultimate Guitar. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Nirvana Tops Best Grunge Covers List". Vermillion County First. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  20. ^ Crack, Cumbria (14 December 2022). "$60 Nirvana single nets Cumbrian collector £2,600 at auction". Cumbria Crack. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  21. ^ "Necro's 'DIE!' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  22. ^ NECRO - "DIE!" OFFICIAL VIDEO (Psycho+ version) Hardcore Underground Hiphop Death Rap Uncle Howie, archived from the original on 13 December 2021, retrieved 30 January 2020

General references: