It’s been 20 years now since the release of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the Nirvana song that almost single-handedly changed the face of popular music. In those two decades, a dizzying array of artists have covered the song, from “American Idol” contestants to Willie Nelson to Miley Cyrus. Some renditions were haunting and revelatory; others were one step short of rock and roll sacrilege.
In honor of the song’s anniversary, and in anti-honor of Miley’s horrendous cover, I’ve rounded up the 21 best and worst versions of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” ever made, giving each a positive (“Entertain us!”) or negative (“Nevermind.”) ranking. Note: I skipped parodies (“Weird Al’s” “Smells Like Nirvana, Pansy Division’s “Smells Like Queer Spirit”) and omitted an especially painful cover I stumbled upon by Limp Bizkit, which made me die a little inside. Enjoy.
(Photos: Top, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; Bottom, Getty Images)
By Jeff Royer
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.