Spank Thru

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Spank Thru"
Song by Nirvana
from the album Illiteracy Will Prevail
Sub Pop 200
Sliver: The Best of the Box
Written c. 1985
Released December 1985 (Illiteracy Will Prevail)
December 1988 (Sub Pop 200)
November 1, 2005 (Sliver: The Best of the Box)
Format
Recorded December 1985 (Illiteracy Will Prevail, Sliver: The Best of the Box)
June - September 1988 (Sub Pop 200)
Studio Kurt Cobain's aunt's home in Burien, Washington (Illiteracy Will Prevail, Sliver: The Best of the Box)
Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, Washington (Sub Pop 200)
Length 3:23
Label
Songwriter(s) Kurt Cobain
Producer(s) Jack Endino

"Spank Thru" is a song by the American rock band Nirvana, written by vocalist and guitarist, Kurt Cobain. It appears on the compilation album Sub Pop 200, released in December 1988. Though rarely performed live beyond the first few year's of the band's existence, the song is significant in that it helped lead to the formation of Nirvana by helping convince bassist Krist Novoselic to start a band with Cobain.[1] Novoselic specifically referred to the song as "the first Nirvana song" in the liner notes to the live compilation album From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, released in October 1996.[2]

Origin and recording[edit]

"Spank Thru" dates back to 1985, when it was included on the demo tape Illiteracy Will Prevail released by Cobain's short-lived band, Fecal Matter. Novoselic, who lived in Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, later claimed that hearing this version, which featured Melvins drummer Dale Crover on drums and backing vocals, led to him forming what would become Nirvana with Cobain. "One of the songs on [the tape] was 'Spank Thru,'" Novoselic told Kurt St. Thomas in 1992. "He turned me on to it, and I really liked it, it kind of got me excited. So I go, 'Hey man, let's start a band.'"[3]

"Spank Thru" was performed during the band's first radio session, on May 6, 1987 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington for KAOS (FM). The band, then called "Skid Row," featured Aaron Burckhard on drums, along with Cobain and Novoselic. The song was recorded by Jack Endino during Nirvana's first studio session, at Reciprocal Recording on January 23, 1988. As with the Fecal Matter version, this recording features Crover on drums and backing vocals. A second version was recorded by Endino several months later at the same location, this time featuring the band's new drummer Chad Channing on drums and Endino on backing vocals. This version was released on the compilation album Sub Pop 200 in December, 1988. The album, which was released to promote the Seattle-based Sub Pop record label and showcase the emerging "grunge" scene, was released shortly after the band's two-song debut single, "Love Buzz," making "Spank Thru" the third Nirvana song to be officially released. [4]

On October 26, 1989, the band recorded a version of "Spank Thru" during their first BBC Peel Session, at Maide Vaile Studios in London, England.

Composition[edit]

"Spank Thru" contains numerous references to masturbation. Amanda Petrusich of Pitchfork described it as "a charming ode to jerking off,"[5], while Everett True called it "a paean to masturbation."[6]

Tim Hughes called the song "an interesting composite of two very different parts," with an "opening guitar riff that satirizes "The Great White Buffalo" by Ted Nugent"...and lyrics that "mock the sentimental love poetry" of 70s arena rock bands, before it "abruptly shifts gears into a high-energy punk rock about masturbation."[7]

Reception[edit]

In 2015, Rolling Stone listed the song at number 54 on their ranking of 102 Nirvana songs.[8]

Recording and release history[edit]

Since its release on Sub Pop 200 in 1988, several versions of the song have been officially released, most of them posthumously.

Demo and studio versions[edit]

Date recorded Studio Producer/recorder Releases Personnel
Easter, 1986 Residence of Cobain's aunt, Burien, Washington Kurt Cobain, Dale Crover Illiteracy Will Prevail (1985)

Sliver: The Best of the Box (2005)

January 23, 1988 Reciprocal Recording Jack Endino no official release
June - September, 1988 Reciprocal Recording Jack Endino Sub Pop 200 (1988)

Live versions[edit]

Date recorded Venue Releases Personnel
c. 1988 Residence of Krist Novoselic's mother, Aberdeen, Washington With the Lights Out (2004)
February 9, 1990 Pine Street Theatre, Portland, Oregon Sliver (1991)
Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition) (2009)
November 19, 1991 Castello Vi de Porta, Castello 41, Rome From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (1996)
August 3, 1992 Reading Festival, Reading, Berkshire, England Live at Reading (2009)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Epstein, Daniel (8 April 2015). "No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  2. ^ Sutton, Terri. "Nirvana, From the Muddy Banks of Wishka (DGC), 1996". Spin. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  3. ^ Epstein, Daniel (8 April 2015). "No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  4. ^ Epstein, Daniel (8 April 2015). "No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  5. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (30 October 2005). "Nirvana: Sliver: The Best of the Box". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  6. ^ True, Everett (2006). Nirvana: The True Story. Omnibus Press. ISBN 1844496406. 
  7. ^ Hughes, Tim; et al. (2006). "Nirvana: University of Washington, 1990". In Inglis, Ian. Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time. Ashgate Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 0754640574. Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  8. ^ Epstein, Daniel (8 April 2015). "No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 June 2018.