The 10 Best Nirvana Songs For Elvis To Sing

Elvana: the world's greatest tribute to Elvis and Nirvana
Elvana: hail to The King, baby

10. Territorial Pissings (Nevermind, 1991)

“I wouldn’t pick Smells Like Teen Spirit. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the real big Nirvana fans kind of dismiss Smells Like Teen Spirit. It’s that song – you see footage of Nirvana not wanting to perform it. So we’re not putting Smells Like Teen Spirit in here. We do Territorial Pissings because it’s just punk rock, isn’t it? It’s raw, animal punk rock. We end our set with that – Territorial Pissing breaking down into Suspicious Minds. Have you seen the footage of Elvis doing Suspicious Minds in Vegas? He does the ridiculous Kung Fu dancing to the drum fills, and we do quite a bit of that.”

Elvana have dubbed themselves ‘The World’s Finest Elvis-Fronted Tribute To Nirvana’. There’s not much in the way of competition, but that’s beside the point – they rock.

Elvana’s Elvis turns out to be a massive Nirvana nut, so we put him to task: we got him to pick his 10 favourite tracks from Seattle’s finest that The King would’ve crooned out of the park.

9. Milk It (In Utero, 1993)

“I love this song. It’s one of the hardest Nirvana tunes to learn and perform live. The intro, the way the vocals go along with the guitars and then the drums come in; there’s a real subtlety to it, the way it breaks into the chorus. It’s been really hard to learn but it’s great.”

8. Sliver (Incesticide, 1992)

“It’s just a great song, isn’t it?”

7. Heart-Shaped Box (In Utero, 1993)

“This is probably my favourite Nirvana video, too. It’s just a stunning video and there’s a fragility to the band in it; there’s something really nice about Kurt sitting there with the other two guys’ arms around him. We play Heart-Shaped Box and that always goes down a storm.”

6. Breed (Nevermind, 1991)

“We do a cover of Breed that bridges into Viva Las Vegas, and people go absolutely mental for that. But I’m gonna say Breed mainly for Dave Grohl’s drum roll at the start of it. It’s so impressive and you just can’t mention Nirvana without mentioning the drums, can you?”

5. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (MTV Unplugged in New York, 1994)

“I could waffle off a load but I don’t want to do any disservice to the other songs! But we’ll go with something quieter. We can have a cover, right? We’ll have Where Did You Sleep Last Night, because it’s just so raw and beautiful. Kurt Cobain’s vocal is so broken but it sounds so beautiful at the same time.”

4. Lithium (Nevermind, 1991)

“There’s something special about that Reading Festival performance in the Lithium video… but Lithium is just the tune, isn’t it? It’s that kinda pub rock chorus that everyone can sing along to, like even our parents and their parents can sing along to that chorus! It’s so simple and so effective.”

3. Radio-Friendly Unit Shifter (In Utero, 1993)

“I love this song. It’s a really nice song to play as an intro and it’s all there in the name of the song, isn’t it? That contrast of what the record labels are telling Nirvana to do and what they’re actually doing – which is so much better than what the record labels could’ve imagined.”

2. School (Bleach, 1989)

“From an Elvana point of view, School is a really fun one to play – we break it down into In The Ghetto by Elvis and that goes down really well. School’s just so raw and so angsty; for me, it really represents that raw edge of Nirvana.”

1. Aneurysm (Insecticide, 1992)

“It’s probably one of the poppiest Nirvana tunes out there. They used to open with Aneurysm – even though it was a B-side, it was an A-list piece. It just works really well with Elvis, too. So that’s my list – that’s Elvis’ list.”

Elvana begin their UK tour on September 2.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.