June 15th…what rings a bell about that date?
The day Nirvana released the record BEFORE Nevermind. Their debut record which didn’t even crack the Billboard 200. Maybe it’s because they recorded the album in less than two weeks – five hours on Christmas Eve 1988 and three days to finish up in the early days of 1989.
Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover played on a few tracks, drummer Chad Channing played on the rest (before Dave Grohl was even around).
The albums title comes from Kurt Cobain, who saw an AIDS prevention poster once upon a time telling heroin addicts to use bleach on their err….instruments, before using them.
The first single was actually a cover from the Shocking Blue, Love Buzz has a FILTHY bass line, so good!!!
Perhaps the most recognizable song from the record, About a Girl almost didn’t make the cut. From our friends at Loudwire:
In the long term history of the album, other tracks may have been well known for Nirvana. There was “About a Girl,” a song that almost didn’t make the disc due to Cobain’s uncertainty about how it would be received amidst the pressure to record a heavier, grungier disc. “Even to put ‘About a Girl’ on Bleach was a risk,” recalled Cobain to Rolling Stone. “I was heavily into pop. I really liked R.E.M. and I was into all kind of old ’60s stuff. But there was a lot of pressure within that social scene, the underground — the kind of thing you get in high school. And to put a jangly R.E.M. type of pop song on a grunge record, in that scene, was risky.”
By the time all was said and done, Nirvana had a very raw-sounding disc on their hands, which was quite alright with Cobain. “I think a lot of music today sounds far too polished,” the singer said at the time. “There’s no energy. It’s too programmed and fake, you hear too much. I want a little mud in my music.”
Though the album initially failed to chart, it was solid enough to start the word of mouth rolling on the band. Though not heavily promoted, Bleach was a pretty steady seller for Sub Pop and got the recognition it deserved when the label re-released it in 1992 after Nirvana’s meteoric rise with Nevermind. This time around, the disc hopped onto the Billboard 200 chart at No. 89.
History now shows that Bleach was a gem ahead of its time. The disc has now sold over 1.7 million units and remains the best selling Sub Pop release to date.