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Vocalist and guitarist Kurt Cobain wrote the song “About a Girl,” which can be found on Nirvana’s debut album “Bleach,” released in June 1989; it’s often hailed as one of Kurt Cobain’s earliest and catchiest compositions.

The lyrics were inspired by Kurt Cobain’s then-girlfriend, Tracy Marander, though she only discovered this fact after reading the 1993 Nirvana biography by Michael Azerrad.

A live, acoustic rendition was featured on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance in November 1993 and released as a single in October 1994, posthumously after Kurt Cobain’s death. It climbed to number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart and reached number 22 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart.


“About a Girl” Lyrics


I need an easy friend
I do, with an ear to lend
I do think you fit this shoe
I do, but you have a clue

I’ll take advantage while
You hang me out to dry
But I can’t see you every night
Free (I do, I do)

I’m standing in your line
I do hope you have the time
I do pick a number too
I do keep a date with you

I’ll take advantage while
You hang me out to dry
But I can’t see you every night
Free

I need an easy friend
I do, with an ear to lend
I do think you fit this shoe
I do, but you have a clue

I’ll take advantage while
You hang me out to dry
But I can’t see you every night
No, I can’t see you every night
Free

I do
I do
I do
I do

Nirvana - 'About a Girl'

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Kurt Cobain

About a Girl lyrics © BMG Rights Management


“About a Girl” Lyrics and Interpretation

Chad Channing, the drummer during Nirvana’s “Bleach” era, revealed that Kurt Cobain initially didn’t have a title for the song when he brought it to the studio. When asked about its subject, Kurt Cobain replied, “It’s about a girl.” This “girl” was Tracy Marander, Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend.

Kurt Cobain’s aversion to work and household duties, as mirrored in the song, took a toll on his life with Marander. Marander often relented during arguments, fearing Kurt Cobain would leave to live in his car. Surprisingly, Kurt Cobain never informed Marander that he wrote “About a Girl” for her. She only discovered this after reading Michael Azerrad’s 1993 Nirvana biography.


The Beatles Were Kurt Cobain’s Inspiration to Compose “About a Girl

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Kurt Cobain and The Beatles may seem worlds apart in terms of era and genre. But you can’t argue against the massive influence The Beatles had on Kurt Cobain’s path in music. Kurt Cobain’s formative years were steeped in The Beatles’ iconic sound, from the upbeat “Love Me Do” to the introspective “Let It Be,” profoundly shaping Kurt Cobain’s approach to music with their fearless songcraft and lyrical ingenuity.

The Beatles’ ability to convey emotional depth through melody significantly influenced Kurt Cobain. Masterfully infusing their songs with a range of feelings, from the jubilant chords of “A Hard Day’s Night” to the melancholic strains of “Yesterday,” The Beatles inspired Kurt Cobain’s soul-baring lyrics and impassioned delivery.

Kurt Cobain’s connection with The Beatles was lifelong. The Beatles were constantly present, from singing “Hey Jude” at just over two years old to stumbling upon the “Yesterday and Today” LP cover. Kurt Cobain enjoyed mimicking The Beatles chords on his electric guitar as a teenager.

“About a Girl,” a standout track on Nirvana’s debut album “Bleach,” marked Kurt Cobain’s growth as a songwriter. Inspired by hours immersed in The Beatles’ “Meet the Beatles” album, it showcased Kurt Cobain’s ability to transcend the punk sound of the early Nirvana recordings.

Butch Vig noted how The Beatles were a big influence on Kurt Cobain’s approach to crafting songs, really shaping the distinct sound Nirvana became known for. As Nirvana rose to fame in 1991 with “Nevermind,” Kurt Cobain’s passion for The Beatles persisted, evident in tracks like “Pennyroyal Tea,” blending Beatles-like riffs with Nirvana’s signature style.


Who Was Tracy Marander, and Why Was She So Important in Nirvana’s Early Days?

Tracy Diane Marander, born on April 27, 1965, is famously recognized as Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend from 1987 to 1990.

Their relationship began when Kurt Cobain, aged 20 in 1987, started dating Tracy Marander, marking his first serious romantic relationship. They initially crossed paths in 1985 at a punk club in Seattle and sporadically encountered each other over the subsequent year. However, it wasn’t until the early months of 1987 that their bond began to strengthen.

In early 1987, Nirvana made its mark with a series of performances, including appearances at parties and a memorable slot on the college radio station KAOS in Olympia. Tracy Marander played a pivotal role during this time, passing along a tape of the radio show to Jim May at Tacoma’s Community World Theater (CWT), where she advocated for Nirvana’s booking.

Tracy Marander and Shelli, Krist Novolesic’s girlfriend, played indispensable roles in the band’s formation and early days. They acted as informal press agents, managers, bookers, and merchandise salespeople, ensuring the band was well-supported and organized. Additionally, they took care of practical matters like ensuring the band members were well-fed, dressed, and rehearsed.

Given their financial situation, Tracy and Shelli had jobs and helped Nirvana with money. This allowed Nirvana to accept free gigs whenever possible, as paid venues were scarce. This strategic decision played a crucial role in Nirvana’s gradual growth and expansion of its fan base, as it seized every opportunity to perform and connect with audiences.


“About a Girl” Video

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“About a Girl”, Live at MTV Unplugged in New York, 1994
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