From the Live Vault – Nirvana / Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam

by: Blaine Skrainka

April 8, 2012

Yesterday marked the 18th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. For this Good Friday edition of From the Live Vault, let’s take a look at this haunting interpretation of “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam.”
Kurt Cobain by Jesse Frohman

In his introduction, Cobain explains that the tune is “a rendition of an old Christian song, I think. But we do it the Vaselines’ way.” A classic version of the American folk song can be heard in this Tex Ritter recording of “I’ll Be A Sunbeam.” In Both Nirvana and Vaselines’ versions of “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam,” bright melodies are juxtaposed against dark and ultimately lonely words, making for a tragically beautiful song.

The Vaselines, a Scottish group revered in niche circles from the late 1980s, continue to make music today, and reciprocated their respect back at Cobain with their take on “Lithium.”

To mark the anniversary of his passing, the Morrison Hotel Gallery has on display an exhibition of iconic images of Cobain by Jess Frohman. Even more intriguing might be the original art that was made by the troubled songwriter in 1993, around the time of the Nirvana album In Utero, allegedly at the heights of his struggles with addiction. The paintings can be seen at The Fix.

Kurt Cobain would be 45 this year.


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