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Hear Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s once-in-a-lifetime duet

Kurt and Courtney duet
(Image credit: Lindsay Brice / Getty Images)

Unquestionably the most famous couple in the grunge / alternative rock world, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and Hole’s leader Courtney Love bonded initially over a mutual admiration for one another’s music. Married in February 1992, the pair were always hugely supportive of each other’s art, but, perhaps surprisingly, shared a stage only once, on September 8, 1993, in their adopted hometown of Los Angeles.

Neither Cobain nor Love were scheduled to appear at the Rock Against Rape benefit gig held at Hollywood’s Club Lingerie that evening, but following performances from Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano and X’s Exene Cervenka and prior to headliners 7 Year Bitch, Love took to the stage to perform two Hole songs, Doll Parts and Miss World, destined to appear on the band’s Live Through This album, before introducing her spouse to the crowd as “my husband Yoko.”

“Watch closely,” said Love. “This is the first and last time you’ll ever see this happen.” 

The pair then performed two acoustic songs together, Nirvana’s Pennyroyal Tea (which would be released on In Utero two weeks later), and Leadbelly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night?, later covered by Nirvana during their November 18, 1993 MTV Unplugged set. Love signed off by referring to herself and Cobain as “Sonny and Cher”.

Love was correct in stating that the pair would never share a stage again. Which makes this raw and undeniably affecting recording of their performance a true treasure for grunge fans.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.