The countdown begins as NIRVANA's video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is about to hit one billion views on YouTube. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" opened NIRVANA's breakthrough release "Nevermind" (Geffen/UMe) which hit No. 1 around the world, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. The single made its radio debut on August 27, 1991 and the accompanying video showed the band playing background music for a truly spirited high-school cheerleading squad.
"Nevermind" would come to be much more than one of the most successful and influential albums of all time. It returned rock 'n' roll integrity and passion to the top of the charts and continues to be a singular inspiration to fans and musicians alike over the last three decades — and generations to come. It has been credited over the years with helping to kill off hair metal.
Charles R. Cross, the author of "Heavier Than Heaven", a biography of NIRVANA frontman Kurt Cobain, told Today.com about the mega-success of "Nevermind": "It's an incredible album. It would have been a hit whenever it was released. But at the same time, the timing was right for there to be a superstar act like NIRVANA. It came right at the end of the death knell of hair metal and the world was screaming for rock music that would be meaningful again. And the timing for a new generation wanting a voice was also ideal. It just so happened that everything came together at the exact right moment when rock needed a revolution."
Last week, YouTube unveiled its list of the top music videos of every decade from the 1980s to the 2010s. GUNS N' ROSES ended up topping the list for the '80s and '90s, thanks to "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "November Rain", respectively, both of which have garnered more than 1 billion views. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the second most-watched video of the '90s. Elsewhere, LINKIN PARK's "Numb" was the second most-viewed video of the 2000s, having racked up more than 1 billion views.